Culture At Large

A Christian vote for Obama

Anne Larsen VanderWeele

Editor's note: Our series on the U.S. presidential candidates also includes endorsements of Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

What’s so Christian about Obama?

In contrast to the other ideas and policies offered this election season, an Obama administration embraces a commitment to the common good, to the anti-individualism outlined in the Gospel. It proudly promotes a commitment to putting others before ourselves. Access to health care for all, equal pay and a graduated tax system all operate from a perspective of abundance, not scarcity. Hope, not fear. Unity, not division. Would we want the same rules if we found ourselves in a different place in life? When we envision a law’s implementation, do we envision only ourselves or also those whose lives we rarely touch? Do we see our neighbor?

I first became acquainted with Barack Obama when he was a state senator in Illinois. I was working alongside many others to enact increased financial regulations on payday lending. I saw a man who had both the ability to step into the shoes of those living paycheck to paycheck and the skills to create laws that honored their self-worth, their hard work and desire to support themselves and their families.

Twelve years later, I support this same man. While there have been disappointments along the way, his fundamental ability to walk in others’ shoes, to understand how the many issues we face as Americans interact and to inspire us toward common purpose away from division is why I voted for him in 2008 and am working for his re-election in 2012.

An Obama administration embraces a commitment to the common good, to the anti-individualism outlined in the Gospel.

The most important factor in my vote in 2008 was the president’s promise to pass health-care reform. It is simply unconscionable to live in a country with amazing health care and have so many unable to afford it. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, it will need adjustments, but I am proud to say that soon there will be millions of families who will not have to suffer needless heartache over situations beyond their control. At the root of it, isn’t this the mercy we are asked to extend to one another? In this policy we see a commitment to justice for all and self-sacrifice for some. We see mercy and a vision for the dignity of all people created in the image of God. 

The president also signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act,ensuringwomen get equal pay for equal work. It is only just that my daughter’s work is rewarded at the same rate as my son’s when they hit the workforce. Again we see justice and a commitment to the dignity and worth of all.    

And finally, an Obama administration advocates a graduated tax system asking all of us to pay a proportionate share of our wealth in taxes. This policy in particular advances shared prosperity and self-sacrifice. Many agree with me to a point, but cannot agree that the government is the proper method for meeting others’ needs. I have deep admiration for those who do share a significant amount of their wealth through private giving. Certainly, so much of the work nonprofit organizations do would not be possible without these gifts. However, in a country with so many people, coming from so many different perspectives and backgrounds, I believe that the government is the most democratic system we have to ensure that assistance reaches all those in need, regardless of personal passions, interests and understandings. This is a vital distinction, and why paying a proportionate share in taxes is important if we are truly able to meet our neighbor’s needs.

In 2012, my vote is cast for Barack Obama because I believe that whatever the next four years bring, I know I can trust that he will continue to promote, advocate and enact a system of government that embraces so many of my Christian ideals. If we begin with policies that honor each other’s worth and end with a system that trusts in the ability to share prosperity in the face of abundance, surely we are closer to staking a claim in this corner of God’s world that others will recognize as His.

What Do You Think?

  • How do you rate Barack Obama’s performance as president?
  • How does your faith play a part in that evaluation?

 

Topics: Culture At Large, News & Politics, Politics