Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shane Blackshear, Starting to Get it Right

A minister recently pointed me to this entry by Shane Blackshear--she described him to me as "an emergent church guy" and assured me I shouldn't feel bad for never having heard of him. Blackshear begins with the gut-wrenching confession to the Christian community: "I'm not voting." It is a tragedy that it has come to this, come to a point where it requires more than a little courage to say with anything other than youthful apathy, "I will not be voting come November." Yet this is far from melodrama on Blackshear's part. My wife finds herself regularly harassed at work and among her relatives when it comes up that she does not vote. Just yesterday, I invited the ire of one of my colleagues by announcing, "I'm not voting. I don't have a dog in your fight." The notion that Christian principles could tend toward anything other than full and patriotic participation in American democracy is entirely foreign to the modern mind.

Blackshear, for his part, makes the beginnings of a good case for why he won't be voting in this election. Proceeding from the principle that he is pro-life, he asks two important questions:

Remember when we had a Republican President and abortion stopped for 8 years?

...Remember when a Democrat was elected 4 years ago and our soldiers were brought home?

There is in this a microcosm of the futility of conscientious voting for Christians, and Blackshear seems to feel it acutely, quoting Psalm 14 and discouraging Christians from trusting "in princes." Yet he proves willfully unwilling to press these observations to their logical conclusion. Appealing vaguely to the "valid reasons" for voting for each candidate, Blackshear makes it clear that this is a personal protest and not a Christian imperative. Where is the recognition that every vote is a vote for warfare? Why is it so difficult to extrapolate from the last twelve years of anecdotal evidence the profound truth that governments exist solely for the purpose of violence? The logical conclusion is easy enough to draw: in a representative republic, we elect people to govern on our behalf. Every abortion Obama facilitates, every "enemy combatant" Romney "subdues," it is done on behalf of the voting public and they partake fully in the culpability for those actions.

If Blackshear, making the right stand as I believe he does, really wants to argue that he cannot , as a Christian, cast his vote for another politician who cannot respect life, then it is incumbent upon him to realize that, as a Christian, he cannot vote. At which point, I'll be the first to welcome him into the rich, historic fold of Christian anarchism.

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