Saturday, June 07, 2008

Voting on Virtue

Writing for Christianity Today, which once attempted to be a serious theological thought journal but now is little more than a pop-religion rag, Daniel Taylor and Mark McCloskey claim that Christians should vote for President strictly based on the relative virtue of the candidates, not on the policies they espouse. To buttress their argument, they use the aftermath of 9/11 as an example of how events can utterly change the expectations of a presidency away from the issues of the campaign. However, while Presidential terms do take unexpected turns, 9/11 can hardly be held up as characteristic.

As with all theories that set forth one set of criteria as paramount always over all others, Messrs. Taylor and McCloskey's views are hopelessly naive and simplistic. Thoughtful voters will consider issues of policies, ideology, competence, and character as part of a complete package. None of them should be determinative in isolation.

In addition, the authors perhaps forget about a Christian teaching that emphasizes our capacity to deceive ourselves. One of the results of original sin is a conceit about our ability to think clearly about our own motives. One of our shortcomings: we tend to find more virtue in those that we are predisposed to agree with.

Hat Tip: World Magazine on the Web

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