Debate: Should Conservatives Embrace McCain For President?

Welcome to the first Said as Southern blog debate. This post will feature two opposing responses to the question, “Should conservatives embrace John McCain for president?” The “no” position is taken by Matt Privett and the “yes” position by G F McDowell. The debate is open for your comments, just follow these simple debate rules:

  • Read the two position statements before you comment.
  • Begin you comment by stating your position. “Yes” “No” “Unsure”
  • I’ll moderate, edit or delete stupid comments.
  • There is also a poll about McCain
  • Be angry, but sin not.

Why I’m holding my nose and voting for McCain, and why you should, too

by G. F. McDowell

We now have a very good idea who the Republican nominee for president will be. The question of what to do with a McCain nomination presents a dilemma for thoughtful conservatives. In the past eight years, McCain has earned the reputation of being a “maverick” and “moderate” senator who was “willing to stand up to the Bush Administration.” He has disappointed conservatives across the land by supporting embryonic stem-cell research, strongly supporting amnesty for illegal aliens, sponsoring the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, and most notably by acting as point man for the notorious “gang of fourteen” who defused the Republican Party’s “nuclear option” for confirming key federal judicial nominations. These are McCain’s greatest crimes against conservatism, and they should give us pause. As a conservative Southern Baptist, it is my opinion that McCain’s meddling gang of fourteen Democrat and Republican senators represents the greatest offense to evangelicals. McCain decided that the preserving the filibuster was more important than stocking the federal bench with a pool of strict-constructionist judges who could eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. John McCain elevated senate tradition over and above the lives of the unborn. This is no small matter, and stands as a big black mark on his Pro-Life credentials. This isn’t meant to be a hatchet piece against the Senator from Arizona, but I want my readers to know that what I am about to say about McCain, I say with my eyes wide open. John McCain is by far the lesser of the two evils, and if he is the Republican nominee, I will reluctantly vote for him in November. It is the only responsible choice remaining for evangelicals.

As bad as McCain is on the issue of the sanctity of human life, he is light years ahead of either Obama or Hillary. On this point, there can be no confusion. But if you’re like me and you deplore the number of taxpayer-funded abortions performed each year, just wait until they are ALL taxpayer funded. Both Hillary and Obama want to introduce universal health care. It would be easy to institute with Democrats running the White House and Congress. With government funding of health care comes government control, and a Hillary or Obama administration is not who I want exercising the power of the purse over my health care. The Democrat Party is trying to introduce euthanasia through the back door by calling it the “right to die with dignity.” Will it only be after “death with dignity” is being funded by taxpayer money that we’ll regret not having used our votes to stop the Democrats from taking control of both elected branches of our government? With a Democrat congress and a Democrat President, we can fully expect the rights, dignity, and lives of unborn and elderly image-bearers to be trampled underfoot. Don’t forget, once Democrat administrations and congresses roll out new entitlement programs, we the American people will be stuck with them forever. We cannot afford to let this genie out of the bottle.

Looking to our nation’s history, there were some during World War II who said we should have nothing to do with such a despicable man as Joseph Stalin, or that we had no business fighting “over there” in Europe. I am glad that, in God’s providence, our country ignored their voices and made an alliance with Stalin in order to defeat the Third Reich. World War II would have been un-win-able otherwise. It is in that same spirit that I am willing to vote for McCain in order to defeat either Hillary or Obama. Just because we help elect John McCain once does not necessarily mean we’ll do it again in 2012. Evangelicals should make that clear to McCain, and watch him like a hawk in the coming years. Now is the time for us to put clothes pins on our noses and vote for McCain. It is still not too late to use our votes to stop the nightmare of a Hillary or Obama presidency. Is voting for McCain my first choice? Not by a long shot, but it is the only responsible course of action left open to us today. Not doing all we can to stop Hillary/ Obama while it’s still possible would be a dereliction of our duty.

Why John McCain is not getting this conservative evangelical’s vote

by Matt Privett

Despite Mike Huckabee’s persistent drive to make a last stand, it is clear that he is spitting against the wind and Sen. John McCain of Arizona will be the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States. However, as a conservative Southern Baptist and lifelong Republican, I will not be voting for him come November. Make no mistake about it, I will also not be voting for Sens. Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. However, this year I refuse to cast a vote against them to boost the chances of a politician whose integrity is at least as questionable as his potential opponents.

McCain has been a U.S. Senator since 1986 and a member of Congress since 1982, but he burst onto the national scene in 2000 when he was George W. Bush’s chief challenger for the Republican nomination. His “straight-talk express” was praised by the media and by more moderate Republicans, but after putting up a fight early he subsequently got hammered in South Carolina and subsequently withdrew from the race. Weeks after Bush took the oath of office, McCain met with several key Democrats about the possibility of leaving the Republican Party (something Jim Jeffords would actually do eventually). Now he seeks to convince us that he’s a true representative of conservative values. His record, however, screams otherwise.

  • The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act was and is an attack of First Amendment freedom-of-speech rights that has done nothing to eliminate money from the political process.
  • He cannot stop talking about his support for the troop surge in Iraq, as if he is solely responsible for its success, and he touts himself as the war candidate. However, he is an “open borders” guy who introduced the biggest attempt at granting amnesty to illegal immigrants yet. Today he says he’s learned his lesson and that he will secure the borders first, but in a world where campaign promises are worth as much as Monopoly money, you have to look at his record. McCain-Kennedy was amnesty, pure and simple, and an attempt to subvert the rule of law in this country. It’s clear he doesn’t consider border security part of the War on Terror, no matter his campaign rhetoric (which should be a big red flag, especially for a Senator from Arizona).
  • He voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. Today he says that he did so because there were no budget cuts to go along with them. Fair enough, but why didn’t he say that in 2001 or 2003? Instead, he railed against the tax cuts with class warfare rhetoric worthy of Al Gore or John Edwards. Now he says he wants to make the tax cuts permanent, but on what basis should we trust him on this issue?
  • He has worked against American energy independence by voting against drilling for oil in ANWR. He played a key role in the defeat of a bill that would have most likely allowed this country to pry itself out of the tight grip of OPEC and become more energy independent, driving down gas and heating oil prices as a result and further securing our country.
  • He buys into the liberal environmentalist agenda that drives up the costs of food and other goods and sabotages the American economy. The McCain-Lieberman bill regarding greenhouse gases and taxing authority is evidence of this.
  • His support of embryonic stem cell research betrays any pretense of a view that he defends the sanctity of human life. His record may, by and large, be pro-life on the issue of abortion, but his view on stem cells makes that iffy at best.
  • McCain helped engineer the “Gang of 14” which kept Senate filibuster rules in place that make it very difficult to appoint judges. This has not so much been a factor with Bush’s Supreme Court nominations as it has with his federal court appointments that receive much less publicity but still hold a very important role. These rules betray the Senate’s given role in the Constitution to “advise and consent.”

McCain has done his level best to appeal to the conservative base of the GOP and convince the world that he is a faithful follower of the Reagan revolution. But that is what Republicans hoping to win their party’s nomination do during the primary season. Once the nomination is secure, probably with a more conservative VP candidate, I expect him to begin swinging left in an attempt to woo those independents and Democrats he’s famous for appealing to. I suspect we’ve heard the most conservative rhetoric out of the Senator from Arizona that we’re going to here, and if he wins in November he’s going to take the Republican Party down with him.

Obama or Clinton will be bad for this country and I am by no means rooting for them; however, I believe McCain will be just as bad. In the process of defending their President out of a misguided sense of party obligation, the Republicans in Congress will be impotent (see George H.W. Bush’s term as President), rather than galvanized against a Democratic president (see Bill Clinton’s first term).

I’m hoping conservatives will learn their lesson. I’m a conservative who is utterly disappointed with our President (especially domestic policy) and our Republicans in Congress (utterly unwilling to dig in and fight). The Republican Party doesn’t own my vote just because that’s where it has always gone. I will search for an independent party candidate for President this year, knowing there is little to no chance that candidate will win, because it is what I believe is right, responsible, and politically smart. For what it’s worth I believe McCain will lose in a landslide to either Obama or Clinton. Ultimately, God appoints nations and their leaders so I trust in His sovereignty. Perhaps He will grant me wisdom between now and November if I am wrong, but as of right now, I cannot vote for McCain in good conscience, and so will not do so.

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37 Responses to Debate: Should Conservatives Embrace McCain For President?

  1. Todd Benkert says:

    YES, But I believe you need a third opinion: those who will vote for McCain enthusiastically (or at least without reservation).

    The most inconsistent position, in my opinion, is the person who wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned and at the same time is going to sit out the election. That is far worse than the so-called “gang of fourteen” which, though it may not have been the preferred strategy, DID in fact result in strict constructionist judges. The only thing sitting out the election will do is virtually guarantee a liberal monopoly on the Supreme Court.

    Furthermore, there is much at stake in the war against radical Islam. A McCain presidency is certainly far preferable to either Clinton or Obama here.

    These two issues alone make the stakes of this election very high. If you are going to sit out THIS election, why vote in ANY election?

    Todd Benkert’s last blog post..Please join me in praying for Dr. Mohler

  2. Scott says:

    Given a choice between McCain and Obama/Clinton I would have to say grudgingly YES.

    I do not think he is the best choice by any means as his so-called conservativeness has never been applied to social issues and can only be called so in fiscal issues simply because he sits on the right side of the aisle. He is in essence a Democrat riding an elephant.

    Of course, I may not vote for him anyway. Third-party or write in voting are still options for me, especially if the Democrats start getting double digit polling leads in which case the scenario grows even dimmer. If my vote won’t matter then I would certainly choose to cast it in a symbolic gesture of not standing with either bad choice.

    With McCain as the GOP nominee its a no-win situation.

    Scott’s last blog post..Comfort Ye

  3. Tony Kummer says:

    Good point. I thought about having the “McCain is my homeboy” position, but the GOP has already gone that direction.

  4. Matt Privett says:

    Please don’t think that by writing my post I am advocating “sitting out” the election. I fully intend to exercise my right/duty to vote come November. The presidency is not the end all, be all of American politics, and I plan on support conservative candidates for other offices with my vote as well. As for the presidency, I don’t buy into the idea that one is throwing away their vote if they don’t vote with a “major” party. If the Republican Party doesn’t have a candidate worth supporting I will find the candidate who most deserves my support or write somebody in.

    Matt Privett’s last blog post..Nuggets from the New Testament: Matthew 20-28

  5. Ann Addison says:

    Yes, I intend to vote for McCain. He is BY FAR the best compared to Clinton or Obama, in regard to my top two (related) issues: pro-life and conservative judges. In my life-time I have almost always voted for the “lesser of two evils.” And, this will be no exception.

    I voted for McCain in the primary because *the worst case scenario* is for the dems to win. McCain has the *best chance* of beating the dems. Huckabee has no chance in the general.

    IF (big IF) there is an independent that is VIABLE, I will consider them. To not vote AGAINST the worst evil, by throwing away your vote… staying home or writing in a candidate is VOTING FOR KILLING BABIES.

    🙂 peace. I guess you can see that I feel strongly about this… because of the BABIES!

    Ann Addison’s last blog post..links for 2008-02-16

  6. Todd Benkert says:

    Some of you have listened to too much talk radio.

    John McCain is and has been staunchly pro-life. NARAL (the pro-choice gurus) has consistently given McCain a score of zero.

    They have printed his pro-life voting record here (they call it anti-choice):

    McCain is not the lesser of two evils. He is good for the pro-life movement. Why would any pro-lifer sit out this election or throw their vote away on a third-party candidate? I honestly don’t get it.

    Todd Benkert’s last blog post..Please join me in praying for Dr. Mohler

  7. Matt Privett says:


    I respect your opinion, but with all due respect, I believe the “VOTING FOR KILLING BABIES” remark is out of line.

    Matt Privett’s last blog post..Nuggets from the New Testament: Mark 1-6

  8. Brother Hank says:

    As a lover of the BABIES myself, there is NO way I’m voting for John McCain.

    1) When we pretend that the morality of stem cell research is somehow less important than that of abortion, I believe we betray our Pro-Life inconsistencies. A politician that does not oppose stem cell research is just as guilty of being pro-choice than the most ardent abortion advocate. With bio-ethical questions growing by leaps and bounds in our country today, anyone as inconsistent on the sanctity of human life issue as John McCain isn’t worth a hanging chad….

    2)Matt made a good point in his comment about voting. Where did evangelicals (and most Americans) get the idea that if they didn’t vote for a “viable” Rep or Dem that they are throwing away their vote? Have we forgotten what our “vote” even stands for? By our logic, if we don’t end up voting for the winner, then our vote was good for nothing – after all, what did it accomplish? But that’s just silly, and wouldn’t pass a high school social studies exam. We have been given the right to vote (and, you can agree or disagree) and we’ve been given the right not to vote. The manner in which some evangelical leaders have likened not voting to sin at worst, or disgrace at best is unfortunate. The entire idea of freedom and democracy highlights the fact that citizens can not be coerced (by force or rhetorical shame) to vote – as if we were rounding up people in November with a gun at their backs demanding a decision. Is the right to vote a blessing? Of course it is. But when a right becomes a requirement, it is stripped of its joy and its service. I despise the apathy and ignorance that so many evangelicals have towards the political realm, but the answer is not “Republican or bust”, the answer is education, courage, and historical perspective.

    3) Lest we forget, in all our talks about overturning Roe v. Wade and putting conservative judges on the bench, our conservative standard-bearer, the late Ronald Reagan appointed who to the Supreme Court? That’s right, Sandra Day O’Connor – not quite a household name for those of us prone to press for strict constructionists is it? My point is, even when you try to get good judges on the court, sometimes you get duds. And unless you have a “spine of tempered steel” (to use Zell Miller’s language) like that of President Bush, it probably ain’t gonna happen into today’s political atmosphere. McCain hasn’t proven anything other than he likes to pander to everyone and no-one at the same time. That shouldn’t be enough to ease anyone’s conscience.

    As Christians, we should never be lulled into accepting the “inevitable” whomever the GOP machine throws down our church aisles – especially if were only voting for them because they’re better than their liberal counterparts. Our job is to vote (or write-in) our consciences, or don’t vote at all. Casting a vote for a lesser of two evils seems to me like putting too much faith in our ability to control and foresee exactly what evil may come…

    “The first step for any man to take in the understanding of divine providence, is to comprehend that God has evils at his disposal which he does not put at ours. Though he works good through war, death, disease, famine, and cruelty, it is not given to us to deploy these mysterious alchemies in the hope that we may bring forth good from them.” – Oliver O’Donovan

    Brother Hank’s last blog post..I Interrupt This Break To Issue A Challenge To Seminarians: Are You Your Brother’s Keeper

  9. Nathan says:

    What brother hank said!

    What we need to keep in mind here are not the one issue pony that everyone wants to ride- which is abortion. I refuse to vote for anyone who is not 100% pro-life. However, I also see the need to vote for someone who most closely matches the Biblical worldview on ALL issues. Not just the most controversial. To not see that need is to not see how something like abortion touches on so many other issues.

    I heard it said once that to not rely on the big “G”, God is to rely on the little “g”, government- which i essentially what socialism does. Socialism has been the liberal platform since FDR. Republicans USED to stand for a capitalist, free-market system which actually increases risk, which in turn, increases one’s self-awareness of that risk and drives people toward a greater power than government- God.

    McCain is essentially socialist in his economic views. He will not get rid of the income tax – a staple of every socialist government in the world today. He will not get rid of taxpayer funded school vouchers. He will not get rid of Medicare, welfare, social security, etc.

    Welfare and social security disability are breeding grounds for the environment that most liberals say are the most in need of government-funded abortions. Getting rid of welfare and S.S.D. will help diminish the need for taxpayer funded abortions. Get rid of Medicare- case closed- you will NEVER have taxpayer funded abortions. Actually, getting rid of the income tax will essentially put a stop to all the above mentioned.

    The reason why roe v. wade even occured was because of the socialist/liberal worldview that crept in over the period of decades. I not only care about getting roe v. wade overturned, but I also care about turning over the environment that breeds that kind of thinking. Under McCain, socialism can breathe a sigh of relief because it will flourish under him just as well as under clinton/obama. And even if Roe/wade gets overturned due to a McCain appointed judge, the environment is still there to turn the tide back.

    This is why I’m voting third party if he gets the nod. And no, it is not a vote for killing babies! That’s such a prppaganda filled comment to make. How is it that voting for somebody who is decidedly MORE pro-life than McCain (meaning someone who will appoint conservative judges as well as seek to diminish the environment that lead to abortion in the first place) a vote FOR killing babies? Can somebody explain that to me?

  10. Pingback: links for 2008-02-17 « MouseNaround

  11. Steve says:

    It’s a NO on McCain. Ron Paul is not even voting for McCain! Huckabee will ultimately join Romney and the others in jumping on McCain’s bandwagon. If you want to vote for McCain, you’re FREE to do so. But in the long run, I think McCain will still lose and be Dole ’96, part deux. As for me, I will write-in my vote for Ron Paul, a true CONSTITUTIONAL conservative.

  12. Nathan says:


    yay, another Paul supporter!

  13. Nathan says:


    I LOVE Medved. I think he’s the best conservative radio talkshow host in the country. However, he has planted his flag on the side of “I will vote for the conservative that has the most likely chance to win”.

    The only one of those rebuttals he wrote concerning the six lies surrounding McCain that impressed me was the one about how he has never voted to increase taxes and plans on reducing spending. The problem is, is all that does is trim the fat of our bloated government, when what we need to see is for us to cut out the whole bloody piece of meat. (ie. get rid of the income tax system, medicare, welfare, etc)

    Also, Medved, is very pro-American troops presence in the middle east. So, he has pretty much denounced any candidate that supports withdrawal from Iraq (something I personally support). So, of course he is voting for McCain! McCain will leave us in the mideast for his entire stint in the White House.

    I do not buy Medved’s argument that McCain is a traditional Reaganite Republican.

    [edited by Tony K.]

  14. Phil says:

    Yes. I’m no expert in the field; however, I reluctantly agree with G.F. McDowell. I believe he convincingly explained his position well with the comparison to Stalin; although, I had never thought of that before. We must deal with the issues before us that are within our power to deal with based upon the principles we hold to be true. I’m not choosing to be McCain’s friend, but I do believe he will be the lesser of two evils. Nothing personal, but I believe McCain will still need to prove himself. I absolutely do not trust Clinton or Obama, and my conscience says McCain is the only choice left if it is between him, Clinton, or Obama.

    Phil’s last blog post..WallBuilders

  15. Todd Benkert says:

    I love politics and tend to develop strong opinions about them. I am tempted to write lengthy posts that argue my point of view. However, I would like to suggest a shift in our discussion. I have multiple opportunities to hear conservative secular arguments for or against McCain. Because this is a Christian forum, however, I would be interested in your takes on whether a McCain presidency would advance or detract from the cause of Christ. I am unpersuaded by arguments for so called “constitutional conservatism” as, whatever your opinion of it might be, I find to be morally neutral. (Feel free to disagree on that point :-). I AM, however, willing to be persuaded by an argument based on Christian conservatism.

    To start this line of debate out, if any would care to join me, I humbly offer 3 reasons why I will vote for McCain that are tied to what I believe would advance the Kingdom. (Please do not read into this that I accuse any who disagree with me as being a NON- or LESS Christian position.) I look forward to your response.

    1. In my opinion, it is more important to win the pro-life war than to stand on some principle that I can only vote for someone with whom I agree 100%. Politics, like it or not, often involve a level of compromise. I do not believe, however, that I compromise my faith by voting for someone with whom I agree with the overwhelming majority of the time on pro-life issues. Also, whose judicial appointments would at the very least be far preferable by any appointments by Obama or Clinton and are actually likely to be very good appointments that finally swing the Supreme Court to the consrvative side. To not vote for McCain, in this election, is to assure a victory for a pro-choice candidate.

    2. Whatever you think of or national sovereignty and security, I am personally of the opinion that the Bush/McCain/Kennedy immigration plan is preferable to the rigid and harsh alternatives. Illegal immigrants may indeed have violated our sovereignty and broken our laws, but they have done so, by and large, for a better life. The freedoms we have as Americans, according to our founding documents, are God-given not ours by national birthright. I, therefore, favor a plan that looks more like “amnesty” (taking into account the need for a secure border, etc.) than I am a strict immigration policy that is, IMO, too harsh.

    3. I believe that our presence in the Middle East is a positive thing. Whether or not you believe that it is in our national security interests and therefore legitimate (which in fact I do), a free Middle East is good for Christendom. The middle east is part of what missiologists call the 10/40 window or the last frontier. A large part of why Christianity has not flourished among these largely Muslim countries has to do with freedom of religion and open access. I honestly believe, whatever you think of our national interests, it is in the best interest of the cause of Christ to have a free middle east free from Muslim totalitarianism.

    I hope I have been clear in my reasoning. Ultimately, I pray and trust that God’s will be done. I am praying for godly wisdom to make the right choice. I eagerly await your response to help inform this important decision.

    — Todd

    Todd Benkert’s last blog post..Please join me in praying for Dr. Mohler

  16. Nathan says:


    You need to just go ahead and respond to other people’s posts as they have already gave a rebuttal to your arguments. Such as mine when it comes to why I would vote for a 3rd party over McCain because of the abortion issue. Why vote for McCain when you can vote for someone who not only will appoint conservative judges, but who will seriously reverse the liberal climate in our country (specifically big federal government) that led to legalized abortion in the first place.

    To not see the need to vote conservatively on other issues instead of just letting a moderate like McCain do what he likes on those other issues, is to not take the pro life issue that seriously. You can’t just appoint judges and hope to swing the vote back in our favor. You HAVE to reverse the influence of a strong federal government as well. McCain won’t do that. Huckabee may. Paul absolutely will.

    In fact, I’m going to argue that unless you reverse the people’s thinking concerning the role of big government, then you’ll never overthrow roe v. wade. Roberts has already made it clear that roe vs. wade has judicial precedent. He is unlikely to overturn it.

    Besides, voting for someone who MIGHT put a pro-lifer on the bench and putting all your eggs in that basket is risky at best when other candidates will do other, more realistic things to minimize liberal influence in the land- and eventually create the environment necessary to overturn roe v wade.

  17. Ann Addison says:

    I can honestly say that I believe that not voting for McCain (as things now stand) is de facto voting for killing more babies. I prefer Ron Paul on fiscal issues and don’t disagree with him on social issues, though I question his foreign policy. But, as it stands, he can’t win, so I won’t vote for him.

    Here’s my reasoning:

    1. Conservative Christians should be the solid pro-life coalition that can always be counted on to step forward to save the helpless babies from the current slaughter happening in our nation. It is my understanding that currently in the US, we have nearly ½ million abortions (babies slaughtered) each year. Will it take a “Samaritan” walking by to help these babies in our place? What issue can be more important today than this one? When we are forced to choose between issues for priority, pro-life must be the priority. McCain is clearly a far better choice than either Clinton or Obama.

    2. If conservatives are not in power the next 4 to 8 years, we will set back our chances of having a court that will throw out Roe by maybe 50 years. Who knows at that point? We are close now. We must not throw this away because of lesser issues or “trying to teach the establishment a lesson.” Would you sacrifice the life of your own child to teach someone a lesson?

    3. If the issue were not so vital (pun intended), I would not be so adamant. We are literally talking about life and death, a genocide. So, this is how I see it. Life or death of babies is my priority issue. Today, Republicans are by far more pro-life than Democrats. We are at a critical time for the court. We must win the next election for the sake of the babies. I am not responsible for the outcome of the election. I am responsible for my vote:
    a. voting pro-life and
    b. voting for the pro-life candidate that can win the general election.

    That candidate as it stands today is John McCain.

    Ann Addison’s last blog post..Christless Christianity

  18. Todd Benkert says:

    Nathan, I only have time for a quick response (forgive me):

    1. I reject the claim that McCain is not a conservative.

    2. I believe that politics involves winning battles you CAN win and so win the war.

    3. I don’t believe your strategy will achieve what you want it to.

    4. I am for small government, but I don’t see how this is a moral issue.

    — Todd

    Todd Benkert’s last blog post..Please join me in praying for Dr. Mohler

  19. Nathan says:

    “Nathan, I only have time for a quick response (forgive me):

    1. I reject the claim that McCain is not a conservative.

    2. I believe that politics involves winning battles you CAN win and so win the war.

    3. I don’t believe your strategy will achieve what you want it to.

    4. I am for small government, but I don’t see how this is a moral issue.


    Ok, now tell me why.

  20. Matt Privett says:


    The sanctity of human life, on the tier of issues I care about in the political spectrum, is clearly at the top of the list. That’s why I would never vote for someone who is iffy on the issue, which eliminates pro-choice Republicans, independents, and practically all Democrats (because they associate themselves and vote with a party so closely tied to countless murders).

    That said, abortion is not the only issue. It is an issue that eliminates many candidates from my consideration, but just because someone professes to be pro-life doesn’t guarantee them my vote. I again bring up his support of embryonic stem cell research to suggest, as Brother Hank also did, that McCain’s support of that betrays any sense of security we might have that he might do something positive in the way of eliminating abortion.

    I simply don’t trust the man, pure and simple, on practically any political issue. He can play to the base all he wants now. He’s doing what it takes to win. But given his history and his record I feel that to vote for him, as opposed to another candidate (however viable they might be) is to “throw away my vote.”

    Matt Privett’s last blog post..Nuggets from the New Testament: Mark 1-6

  21. Todd Benkert says:

    Nathan, I offer the following without any animosity and as “my opinion” (though, of course, my opinion is the right one 🙂

    1. To refuse to vote for McCain because of his vote on embryonic stem cell research, while he has in every other way been pro-life is, I believe, very short sighted. To vote for a third party candidate who has virtually NO CHANCE of winning the election is to throw away your vote.

    I oppose the funding of embryonic stem-cell research. However, to call McCain pro-choice merely because he is willing to fund research on embryos that someone else has already made the decision to destroy is a gross distortion and overstatement. His position may technically not make him “100% pro-life” by your definition. However, by your definition, any candidate who does not oppose in-vitro fertilization or desire to highly regulate it so that no human embryos would ever be destroyed is not “100% pro life” either. Which candidate meets that criteria?

    2. (to G.F.) To describe McCain’s “gang of fourteen” as a pro-choice stance is both unfair and inaccurate. You may not agree with the principle McCain stood for, but the result was Roberts & Scalia – two justices whose votes will surely be part of any overturning of Roe v. Wade. If some one stands on “principle” and does not vote or votes for a third party candidate, the result will likely be a liberal monopoly and a continual upholding of Roe v. Wade for the indefinite future. This is what my grandmother would call “biting off your nose to spite your face.”

    3. Overturning Roe v. Wade does not require a fundamental worldview shift away from big government. It simply requires another strict constructionist judge.

    4. (to Hank) To suggest that McCain would follow Reagan and nominate another Sandra Day O’Conner is (a) too soon to say. McCain has not yet said what kind of judges he would appoint. I have every reason to believe McCain would appoint strict constructionist judges. Even if he does not, O’Conner voted on the conservative side 55-60% of the time. Would you prefer a Clinton or Obama appointee? Third party candidacies elect liberals.

    5. When you vote for president, you are voting for the party platform and not just the man. I am confident the party platform on which McCain will campaign will be conservative, especially on the issues that should matter to Christians.

    5. Politics is inherently about compromise. If you only vote for people with whom you 100% agree, you will never accomplish anything. In our own SBC politics, since I began attending conventions in 1999, I have yet to vote for a president with whom I 100% agree. At the same time, I have gladly supported those whom I did vote for and believe we have benefited from their leadership.

    Now your turn. If you support any of the following, please explain why these are the “Christian” view:

    a. small government (which I too support, but is not, for me, a hill on which to die)
    b. a harsh immigration policy; i.e., no so-called “amnesty”
    c. getting rid of the senate filibuster on judges
    d. getting out of Iraq

    I know the secular/political arguments on both sides of these issues – I want to know how I should vote as a Christian. Honestly, I mean this. I am willing to be persuaded.

    As it stands now, however, in THIS election cycle, I must vote for McCain.

    Todd Benkert’s last blog post..Please join me in praying for Dr. Mohler

  22. Ann Addison says:

    You can check McCain’s pro-life record here and compare his record to Clinton & Obama. I would truly like for abortion not to be the only issue. I’m battle worn on this issue, especially when the battle now seems to be with conservative Christians. But, for me, life or death for thousands of babies (millions over the years) must trump all other issues .

    I believe that God’s common grace is upon all nations to varying degrees. The US has been blessed in abundance by God’s common grace. I pray God does not withdraw His hand from this nation because His people will not step in to stop the slaughter of babies. We need to repent of our selfish ways. God help us.

    Ann Addison’s last blog post..Christless Christianity

  23. Brother Hank says:

    In response to Todd:

    1) I find it troublesome that you base so much of your support for McCain on the pure assumption that a) there will even be an opening on the Supreme Court b) that the particular opening will be made by a liberal and not a conservative c) that McCain would be competent enough to appoint a conservative justice d) that said justice would be confirmed by a congress that may or may not be conservative, etc., etc. Let us take care to distinguish reality, from politically-induced scare tactics that are built up to drive evangelicals to the polls. When there are no certainties, it behooves us to act like it. (I’m not saying that you are employing scare tactics here, but I do think that is what in fact this logic stems from).

    2) Immigration – It would do us all well to really and truthfully consider this issue. Just as we don’t make health-care decisions based on popular platitudes, for us to support any policy, in particular an immigration policy, apart from an informed and prayerful study of it is very unwise. The American government has a responsibility to see to the welfare of who? That’s right, its citizens. Whether or not the church has a responsibility here is worth consideration, but we should always be wary of relinquishing our Christian responsibility to look after the poor and needy to that of the State. Amnesty affects far more than just illegal immigrants, and we need to remember that.

    It’s one thing to open your home, of your own good will, to an illegal immigrant. It’s an entirely different ball game to have the government do it for you.

    3) The Middle East – Like I mentioned in a previous comment, I think your mindset has a substantial flaw. Can God work good through military action in the Middle East? Absolutely. Should we assume that he always will? Or that he needs war to bring the gospel to the nations? Not a chance. Again, O’Donovan’s quote here is so important: “The first step for any man to take in the understanding of divine providence, is to comprehend that God has evils at his disposal which he does not put at ours. Though he works good through war, death, disease, famine, and cruelty, it is not given to us to deploy these mysterious alchemies in the hope that we may bring forth good from them.” This kind of thinking leads one to wonder how we ever evangelized the world without the presence of the U.S. Military. I know that’s not what you’re implying, but…if it walks like a duck…


    Brother Hank’s last blog post..Standing Out In The Cold: Further Confessions of a Christian Pro-Life Activist

  24. Steven Dresen says:

    I’m still not sure who I’ll vote for, I know who I won’t. In evangelical circles we keep talking about being pro-life and wanting pro-life candidates which is going in the right direction, but I know far too many people that in regards to abortion voting is the only thing they do about it. The problem is there is a serious lack of Christians especially ministers who will boldly declare the standards of biblical morality to their people in all aspects of life. I’ll vote for the candidate who has the strongest stance in all areas of justice, with centrality placed upon abortion, but in the end I know that no legislation will ever change the hearts of Americans, only the word of God can do that.

  25. Todd Benkert says:

    Perhaps I am not being clear. Here is a response to your three points.

    On question 1, I make no assumptions that any of these WILL happen, but I recognize a high probability that such a scenario might occur. I made the same assumption in 2004 and was right. I also believe in McCain as a good candidate, solidly pro-life, and not as the lesser of two evils. I agree with him on enough issues to vote for McCain rather than to not vote or vote for a third party candidate who would serve as a spoiler.

    On question 2, I am not suggesting that we adopt an open borders policy nor that we do not secure our borders. I am suggesting that, in the process of fixing our immigration and border policy, ousting all illegal immigrants is not in our nation’s best interest and is not reasonable or humane.

    On question 3, I am not suggesting that we should go to war in order to spread the gospel. I AM suggesting that pulling out of the middle east, besides not being in our nation’s best interest, would be detrimental to missions. Further, I find it would be an inconsistent position for me to, on the one hand, pray for religious freedom in the 10/40 window, and, on the other hand, vote against our government fighting for that freedom. Finally, You may disagree, but I believe our current conflict qualifies as a “just war.” If it were not, I would certainly not suggest we continue an unjust conflict just because of the positive benefits it may have for missions.

    Hope that clears things up 🙂
    — Todd

    Todd Benkert’s last blog post..Please join me in praying for Dr. Mohler

  26. Todd Benkert says:

    I am still waiting for someone to offer arguments as to why AS A CHRISTIAN, I should not support McCain. So far, all the arguments against McCain have been secular/political ones.

    Todd Benkert’s last blog post..Please join me in praying for Dr. Mohler

  27. Nathan says:

    Todd: To not vote for a small gov candidate is to not take seriously several Biblical doctrines. Specifically, these:

    The finiteness of man
    The depravity of man
    The corrupting power of sin
    The sovereignty of God
    The freedom of man

    It will take too long to go over all of these doctrines and how they are applied to a Biblical political philosophy. In short, more centralized power and the more expanded role of a federal government, means less accountability and more corruptible power given to a very few sinful men. This is why socialism is essentially the athiest’s best friend. It excludes God in its equation. FDR, the godfather of democrat socialism, once said, “there is no reason why every citizen should feel secure from the cradle to the grave.” He said that in regards to welfare and social security. Sorry, Frank, but cradle to the grave sovereignty belongs only to God.

    So, not only does an expanded role of federal government play to man’s sinfulness, it plays against God’s sovereignty because it attempts to do only what God can do and thus leaves God out of the equation.

    The ONLY president since FDR that has done anything to reduce the size of the federal government was Reagan and even he abused it. Every single Republican president since FDR has expanded the role of federal gov and has increased spending. This is supposed to be the “small gov” party. Just goes to show how enticing that kind of power is.

    Another important point: The shift that FDR brought in was one of “government grants you your rights”. It used to be that presidents always had instilled in them natural law and the idea that God granted us our rights, not government. This slow creeping change infected the presidency first, the judiciary second, and the legislature third. This is what led to roe v wade. That kind of judicial activism came about, not because of liberal judges, but because of a liberal presidency that believed it was government’s right to grant us our rights (or take them away) and not God’s.

    This is why I care SO MUCH about reversing the trend of socialism in our country. It’s socialism that denies God’s sovereignty and man’s sinfulness. It’s socialism that pridefully says that man can overcome his own percieved finiteness. And it is socialism that ultimately distorts the freedom of man (or babies in the case of abortion).

    Of course, there IS a christian response to socialism. I call it: Christian Libertarianism. I believe it to be the most representative of the whole council of God concerning polity. It is espoused by such people as Marvin Olasky and Edmund Opitz. If you want to know more, you can email me and I will send you some articles on the subject.

    McCain is just like the last two Bushes and Bob Dole. He campaigns for smaller gov but will do nothing about it once in. The only two candidates I believe will make a Reagan-sized attempt at reform are Huckabee and Paul.

    So, you want to vote for McCain to MAYBE get a conservative judge on the bench, go ahead and throw your vote away. As long as there is a bloated, socialist-leaning federal government in place, all it will take is a couple more decades and a democrat president can very easily reverse it back in their favor.

  28. Todd Benkert says:

    For the sake of argument, let’s say I don’t like McCain but am going to vote for him anyway (in actuality I disagree with you on McCain himself). I do think we mostly agree on the end goal, but disagree on how to get there. I believe voting for a less than optimum candidate, is better than letting the liberals take the presidency and perhaps the supreme court. You think that voting for the optimum candidate in a third party and thus taking a short term loss is the way to truly win in the long term (is that fair?). I guess we’ll have to disagree on both McCain and the wisest political strategy for conservative victory.

    I pray for wisdom for both you and me as we cast our votes and trust in God’s sovereignty to accomplish his purposes.

    (I look forward to reading any further posts you wish to add, but this will have to be my last post in this issue as my dissertation is calling :-))

    — Todd

    Todd Benkert’s last blog post..Please join me in praying for Dr. Mohler

  29. G F McDowell says:

    Quoting Mr. Benkert in Reply #23:
    “To describe McCain’s “gang of fourteen” as a pro-choice stance is both unfair and inaccurate.”

    I did no such thing. I said that the gang of fourteen stands as a black mark on McCain’s Pro-Life credentials. There is a difference between saying his pro-life credentials are weak and saying he is pro-choice. Nevertheless, having just watched Amazing Grace a second time last night, I cannot but be reminded of the Scottish MP who opposed the Slave trade, “However…” was unwilling to vote for abolition. I believe John McCain was more exercised to prevent the loss of the Filibuster than he was to use any legal means to end legalized abortion in this country. I do not think this is either unfair or an inaccurate assessment of the gang of fourteen. John McCain is pro-life, “However…”

    “You may not agree with the principle McCain stood for, but the result was Roberts & Scalia – two justices whose votes will surely be part of any overturning of Roe v. Wade.”

    I believe Mr. Benkert has confused Associate Justice Sam Alito with Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia was a Reagan appointment. It does not change the substance of his argument, which I will now address. The Nuclear Option would also have given us Alito and Roberts, and also would have opened the subsequent trickle of lesser nominations to the federal bench making their way through the senate Judiciary committee to a flood. I stand by what I originally wrote, and hope this clears up any misunderstandings about my position.

    G F McDowell’s last blog post..Sen. Clinton’s massive mistake – and the final chance to fix it

  30. Brother Hank says:


    I’m interested to hear (and feel free to make it brief and bullet pointed if you like) why you feel like the war we are in currently is a “just war”.

    Brother Hank’s last blog post..Standing Out In The Cold: Further Confessions of a Christian Pro-Life Activist

  31. Tony Kummer says:

    For clarity it is best to reference the comment # in your specific reply.

  32. Karin says:

    The White Horse Inn had a good show that is worth listening on this topic. Here is the description of the show: 2008 is an election year and many churches will be distracted from their focus on the city of God, to the governments of men. What is the business of the church? Should it play a political role? On this edition of the White Horse Inn the hosts discuss the proper biblical relationship between church and state.

    It is definitely worth listening to.

  33. Ann Addison says:

    re Todd’s notes: 1, 6, 7, 17, 20, 23, 27, 28, 30, 37… Todd, thank you for taking the time to address these important issues. I think I listed all of Todd’s comments, but I may have missed one. ? I have only spoken on the abortion issue, but I will say that through this discussion, I have agreed with Todd on almost every point he made. And, what I didn’t agree with, I think my husband did! So, I’m probably wrong on those. ?

    I’m obviously writing as a layperson, not a proficient writer nor a doctorial candidate nor a minister. So, I thank you, Todd, for your eloquent posts.

    I would like to share a video with you all and with the readers of this blog. … This Is Abortion.

    I think it is a good reminder to us all that abortion is horrendous. This is why I care so much about one issue.

    Ann Addison’s last blog post..This Is Abortion

  34. Brother Hank says:

    Todd & others interested in “the just war theory”-

    this is worth watching. it’s only about 7 and half minutes long, but you’ll be challenged…

    Brother Hank’s last blog post..Standing Out In The Cold: Further Confessions of a Christian Pro-Life Activist

  35. Phil says:

    Thanks Karin for the info. at the White Horse Inn. 🙂
    In Him,

    Phil’s last blog post..Politics Puzzle

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