After the frenetic activity of the past few weeks, the
present lull in decisive changes in the races for the
nomination by both political parties comes almost as
a relief. It gives us an opportunity to begin to focus
on the most important, underlying issues at stake in
the national election in November.

On the Republican side, the contest appears to be
nearly over, with John McCain as the presumptive
nominee. After the results of the voting yesterday in
Washington, Wisconsin and Hawaii he had a total of
approximately 945 delegate votes and was within
250 of the 1,191 needed for nomination. The other
somewhat meaningful Republican candidate, Mike
Huckabee, still needed a statistically impossible 950
votes to win, but for some reason -- apparently known
only to him -- he remained in the race, spending his
supporters’ money, with no possibility of victory.

Some ostensibly Republican “Conservatives” continue
to give vocal support and even endorsed Huckabee,
rather than joining to unite the party for the November
contest. The same quandary is true, to an even greater
degree, for Ron Paul, who for some reason -- again
apparently known only to him -- remains in the race.

On the Democrat side the situation is much more
complicated, with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
in a virtual dead heat, with the lead in delegate votes
shifting back and forth as final decisions in the various
states are recorded. As a result of yesterday’s voting,
Obama holds a lead of less than 100 over Clinton in
delegate votes, with each holding well over half of
the 2,025 needed for nomination. The major series
of primary elections just two weeks hence, on March
4 in Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont, should
give a much better picture of this race’s conclusion.

As we move closer to the national election in
November, we will be examining the platforms of the
political parties which the candidates will advocate
as they ask for our votes. That information will be
available to us after the nominating conventions in
August and September. We will then know at least
what the candidates say they stand for.

As Christians, Evangelicals, Conservatives, there are
certain moral value issues which are important to us.
On most broader issues -- health care, education, the
economy, for example, Republicans and Democrats
want pretty much the same -- it’s just a matter of how
to do it, and how much it will cost. On issues like
immigration, the environment and the war against
terrorism there are slightly different views, but not
irreconcilable ones.

It is when we come to the strictly moral issues, such as
abortion, same-sex marriage and associated problems,
that we have major differences. The Roman Catholic
Church has spoken firmly on the issue of abortion.
After 35 years and 50 million slain babies, Roe v. Wade
remains a blot on America’s moral principles. In a
new series of statements this past week, Rev. Frank
Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, clearly
stated the Roman Catholic position: “Voters may not
morally protect the so-called right to abortion in any
way. They may not vote for a pro-abortion candidate.”

We must be willing to take just as firm a stand as our
Catholic friends, and face the question: Can a Christian
vote for a pro-choice, a pro-abortion candidate? And if
that answer doesn’t determine your voting position, the
follow-up one should do so: Can a Christian vote for a
candidate who supports same-sex marriage?

In defense of abortion, former president Bill Clinton,
at a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton in Ohio, lashed
out in an angry tirade when challenged on abortion, in
which he accused pro-lifers of trying to “criminalize
women and their doctors.” Michael Hichborn of
American Life League said pro-lifers were not focused
on what is criminal or illegal, and added, “It’s all about
saving babies. It’s all about the fact that abortion is
murder. You‘re killing an innocent person …”

Reflecting on America’s founding principles:
On Nov. 11, 1620, while still anchored off Cape Cod,
the pioneers who sailed for over two months on the
Mayflower signed the Mayflower Compact, which was
the basis for the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution. That Compact was the first document to
unite religious leaders, military men, merchants and
servants to stand together in the great new adventure
that became the United States of America: “In the
name of God, AMEN. We whose names are under
written… having undertaken for the Glory of God,
and the advancement of the Christian Faith… a
voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern part
of Virginia … do enact, constitute and frame such
just and equal laws … for the greater good of the
Colony…” And that was the original idea: “just
and equal laws for the greater good of the colony,”
soon to be the nation.

Afterthoughts . . .

What kind of a nation are we? Forbes Magazine,
in the Feb. 18 issue features a List of America’s Ten
Most Sinful Cities. The compilation is based on the
familiar “Seven Deadly Sins” of ancient Christian
teaching, which incorporate essentially the Scripture
references to sins. (See Proverbs 6:16-19 and Galatians
5:19-21) The article focuses on: Lust, Gluttony, Avarice
(Greed), Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride. No one, overall
list is given, but rather the 10 top cities in each category
are listed. For example, under the category of Envy, the
10 Most Jealous Cities are listed, in order, Memphis,
TN, Charlotte, NC, San Antonio, TX, Seattle, WA,
Providence, RI, Phoenix, AZ, Salt Lake City, UT,
Columbus, OH, Oklahoma City, OK and Chicago, IL.
We always knew such “deadly sins” were present here,
but never knew exactly where they were most present.

Some good news from Arizona. In Nov. 2006,
Arizona became the first state to lose a vote on marriage,
due to confusing ballot language. Now the Arizona state
legislators have decided to support a state constitution
amendment on the protection of marriage. This means
that Arizonians can join with their fellow Americans all
across the country in support of the traditional, God
ordained marriage between one man and one woman.

Homosexuality is still a problem for Anglicans.
And it is still the American Episcopal Church which
is the source of the problem -- the ordination of Vicki
Gene Robinson, an openly practicing homosexual,
living with a male lover, as Bishop of New Hampshire.
The ensuing split among members of the world-wide
Anglican Communion threatens to seriously harm the
church, as churches and dioceses faithful to the Word
of God decide to end their fellowship with more liberal
members. Now five Anglican Primates, four from Africa
and one from South America have decided to boycott
the 2008 Lambeth Conference at its once-a-decade
meeting in July. Representing a tremendously large
element of the Anglican Communion, the five will
join an alternative conference for Conservative bishops,
scheduled to meet in the Holy Land one month prior to
Lambeth -- named Global Anglican Future Conference.

A reminder of America’s founding principles,
from John Quincy Adams in a 4th of July speech in 1837.
“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the
world, your most joyous and most venerated festival
returns on this day [the Fourth of July]? Is it not that
the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with
the birthday of the Savior? Is it not that the Declaration
of Independence first organized the social compact on
the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth?
That it laid the cornerstone of human government
upon the first precepts of Christianity?”

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