Politics and health are closely intertwined, and, while I’d rather not belabor the upcoming vote for the U.S. president here, there is no getting away from the fact that any U.S. president can have a lasting impact on health and rights both in America and across the globe.
The connections between politics and faith are not new and go back for millennia, but Francis Schaeffer played a prominent role in very recent history as a significant figure in the political activism of the Christian pro-life movement. He was widely recognized during his lifetime, and still today, as one of the most important influences in the modern activism of Christians against abortion.
In his important book, “How Should We Then Live,” (1976) Schaeffer made his first call for Christian activism against abortion, although not the main topic of the text. Two later books, and arguably more important in their influence, were, "A Christian Manifesto," (1981) and, "Whatever Happened to the Human Race?" (1983). His later two books made specific and explicit calls for Christians to act non-violently to bring an end to abortion.
Each of these three books is worth reading, and there are many valuable points made in each. Yet, as I read them, I am struck by two issues. First, that Schaeffer consistently was focused on the Biblical basis for human dignity. He clearly and passionately believed that all humans were, because of their creation, inherently valuable. But second, his focus on abortion seemed to be in reaction to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and it seemed, (stated explicitly at times) to also be tied to a desire to return to the "Judeo-Christian roots of historical America". My point is simply that in none of these foundational texts (for the Christian pro-life political movement) is there a clear Biblical argument made for a focus on abortion. The focus on abortion seems to be more of a reaction and passionate desire to return to a "Christian America."
I find this relevant because I continue to look for and not find (either in the Bible or in those who are "single-issue" voters) the reason that we should think of abortion as the only or most important issue regarding human dignity and human worth. There is no denying that the Bible speaks forcefully to the value of life, but there are many ways to deny a person their dignity. In a day filled with issues like war, poverty, health care, discrimination, etc, we can't afford to be single-issue voters who care only where a person stands on the issue of abortion. How they think about abortion is important, but no less important are many other issues.
Whether you vote for Obama or McCain, let it not be solely because of how they stand on the one issue of abortion. The health and rights of millions of people around the world will be affected by the next U.S. president, regardless of who is chosen, and they deserve more than a single-issue voter.