You Cannot be a Christian and a Single-Issue Voter.
I know that it is strong, but I do not apologize. As we draw to a close of one of the most bizarre presidential elections in recent history, it is a dangerous time to enter the booth as a single-issue voter. Too often, evangelical voters pull the lever for the pro-life candidate regardless of where the candidate stands on other issues. Next month, voters so singularly wrapped in their own beliefs will cast ballots for the candidate they believe will end abortion access. And it is all they will care about.
But Christ was Not a Single-Issue Savior.
In His lifetime, Christ fought against injustice, poverty, adultery, classism, and a host of other social justice causes we still war against today. How, then, can we as Christians believe we are called to invoke change in only a single issue? I’ve made no bones about the fact that I am unapologetically pro-faith, pro-family, and pro-choice. My anger lies not with the debate on access to abortion, but that evangelicals and the church often fail to address the causes of abortion. It is not abortion access that causes abortions, it is lack of access in so many other systems that cause abortions.
Evangelical Rationalization & Privilege
It is a position of privilege to see abortion as the single greatest human rights injustice of our time. We are in an era where the children who were spared from the fate of abortion can grow into a Black man, woman, or child that can be senselessly gunned down by trigger happy officers. We are in an era where a fetus can be born into a lifetime of poverty that could lead to a life of drug/alcohol abuse. What if the fetus you save is born into a life of sexual violence and domestic abuse? Considering that on average, there are 288,820 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States1, it’s not that far of a reach. The fetus you save may be LGBTQ-identified and live with rejection within the walls of our churches. A spared fetus may become an adult who suffers through a life of depression and other mental illness and end their lives by suicide.
If we do not address the issues of police brutality, poverty, access to wealth, access to mental healthcare, racial/gender/sexual inequality, and other intersections of oppression, what quality of life are we offering to the fetuses that are saved by abolition of abortion?
Still, Evangelicals are perfectly content to vote for candidates who have, historically, led efforts and policies that poorly address these issues. Evangelicals have happily participated in the systemic oppression of others under the guise of protecting the unborn. They do it believing that they are carrying out the will of God.
Good Intentions Just Ain’t Good Enough
In reality, however, they’ve allowed their (intended) good to be evil spoken of (Romans 14:16). By enacting Christian privilege to oppress others, we have done irreparable harm between ourselves and to those whom we are called to witness. Who wants to serve a God that seemingly approves of keeping them impoverished, abused, and/or second class citizens their whole life?
Each time a Christian pulls the level for a candidate on the basis of a single issue, our witness is hindered. Given how strongly evangelicals believe that only what is done for Christ lasts, surely actions that we keep us from drawing people to Christ and faith should be avoided.
We cannot be about our Father’s business of letting our light so shine that men might see if we’ve dimmed it by our narrow definition of morality. Christ came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. You can’t pat yourself on the back for saving a life of a fetus with your vote if you vote against the opportunity of abundant life for others with the same ballot choice.