And here is is, my election post for the year. I have to say that I am more conflicted this year than I was in 2008 for several reasons and over several issues.
First off, I have discovered over the past couple of years that the Republican Party has drifted so much further to the right than I am comfortable with. I have also moved a little to the left myself, but I really feel as if the Republican Party has gone so far to the right that it is unrecognizable. Part of the problem is the Tea Party which counts it as a point of pride that they do not compromise. The problem? Compromise is a part of politics.
Another problem is that many people have taken to the idea that somehow in order to be a good Christian, you *MUST* be a conservative Republican, as if it is a doctrinal or dogmatic point. Conflating religion and politics in this manner is dangerous in the extreme. I strongly believe that your religious beliefs could (and do) inform your political beliefs, however political beliefs should not dictate your religious beliefs or act as a litmus test for how religious (or not) you are.
Having said that, I do believe fiercely in the freedom of priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, etc. to advocate (peacefully!) their political beliefs, so long as it is clear that they are discussing their personal beliefs/opinions and not trying to indoctrinate or imply that in order to maintain good standing you must agree with them.
So basically, I am caught in the awkward position of not agreeing entirely with either political party. The Republican Party that I grew up in is gone and replaced by a shell of its former self. The Democratic Party is so caught up by its own special interests that I cannot stand that I have a hard time going with them. So what do I do?
On the one hand, I want to vote for Mitt Romney because I do believe that he is more moderate than he has claimed in this election. Sadly, he is probably going to be captive to the lunatic fringe of the Republican party and unable to do nearly as much as I would hope. On the other hand, Obama (who I actually agree with on a lot of issues), is a strong supporter of abortion and his HHS contraception mandate is an atrocious violation of religious liberty. So which one do I vote for? Someone who is known to violate some basic precepts of my conscience or someone who is likely to violate other precepts of my conscience?
(Added 10/10/12) Ok, have learned some new information about Romney that makes me even less likely to vote for him. Turns out that while at Bain Capital, he invested in a company that destroyed fetuses collected from abortion clinics (see http://www.politicolnews.com/mitt-romney-fetus-disposal-capitalism/). Also, he is in favor of "enhanced interrogation techniques" (aka torture) (see http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/us/politics/election-will-decide-future-of-interrogation-methods-for-terrorism-suspects.xml). Additionally, one of his sons has used a surrogate mom impregnated via IVF to have 3 children (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/75939.html). Now this last one is probably the least offensive of the lot, but lets be honest. If we are knocking Obama for supporting abortion (an intrinsic evil), then we have to knock Romney for also supporting intrinsic evils (abortion, torture, and IVF). So this complicates matters even further.
Also, there is the question of Question 6. Question 6 is a question on the Maryland state ballot about whether or not to legalize same-sex civil marriages. The language explicitly exempts religious groups and institutions from its reach. Honestly, I want to support this measure and feel comfortable doing so solely because it is restricting its reach to the civil authorities. The hitch comes from the fact that I believe that the Church has stated that even civil marriages should not be supported.
My issue with this lies in a basic matter of justice. Why should a relationship based on love not be allowed to have the same civil benefits (taxes, healthcare, etc.) simply because it is between 2 men or 2 women? Now, I do want to say that I am leery of this because this argument has the potential to be turned andused to advocate for polygamy or polyamorous relationships. How would that be dealt with? I don't know, but I could see limiting marriage to 2 people.
Hope this makes sense, and I am anticipating some possible disagreements from people, but that's cool. Just keep it civil.