Editor’s note: This is the third in a series offering endorsements for the four major candidates in the U.S. presidential election. We ask that comments refrain from inflammatory language and personal attacks.
Will 2016 be the year of the third-party candidate?
Mainstream candidate favorability is at a historic low, leaving many voters prepared to cast a vote for someone outside of the Republican and Democratic parties. While Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has benefitted from a surge of disgruntled Republicans, Green Party candidate Jill Stein has gained a smaller amount of ground with Democrats and left-leaning independents.
Who is Jill Stein? Stein is a Harvard-trained physician who launched her political career in the late 1990s after observing a direct correlation between environmental quality and individual health. Since then, environmental protection has been the centerpiece of her political activity. Her official platform calls for combating climate change through reduction of fossil fuel use and a national transition to 100-percent renewable energy by 2030. Stein also calls for tuition-free public education, investment in public transportation, an increase in the minimum wage, and a 50-percent reduction in military spending with significant movement towards total nuclear disarmament.
Stein hasn’t benefited from a large amount of interest among Christians. For those on the Christian right, her stances on gay marriage and abortion rule her out immediately. For the growing Christian left, fear of progressive vote-splitting leading to a Donald Trump presidency makes her less desirable than Hillary Clinton. This is unfortunate, as Stein’s views mesh with Christian theology and convictions more closely than you might think.
Stein’s views mesh with Christian theology and convictions more closely than you might think.
A growing number of Christians are recognizing the relationship between environmental concerns and Christian theology. While many recognize that following God entails stewardship of the Earth, too many fail to realize how central it is to basic Christian ethics. God created the Earth, took on human form in order to save it (and us) from death, and will return to complete creation’s restoration. Thus the Christian life should be grounded in the celebration and preservation of life in all of its forms. In the modern technological era, life has become more precarious and endangered than ever before. Climate change, the prevalence of weaponry in the hands of both citizens and governments, and lack of access to quality healthcare among the poor threaten our most basic ability to exist on this planet. As Stein learned in her pre-political career, our treatment of the environment and our ability to live are inseparably linked.
I will be voting for Jill Stein in 2016 because I—as a follower of the God who creates life and deems it so sacred that we bear His own image—believe life must be protected at all costs. I will vote for Stein because all reputable scientific evidence indicates that life on Earth is threatened by a lack of care for creation. Stein is pro-life in a scope that goes beyond the abortion debate. She is the candidate who shows the most concern for the ability of life to exist in the world God has created.
Who wins the election is ultimately out of my hands. I have too much faith in God’s providence to say that voting for a third-party candidate is a waste. What happens in November is up to God. The most that we can do is let the world know what we represent. If we represent life, as the Gospel teaches, I believe Jill Stein is our best choice.