Candidate Attacks on Morality: Is it Right?
All over the nation, people are gearing up for Nov. 6. While the heat is on to win the vote of the undecided, those still unsure keep in mind the candidates’ stances on controversial issues. Of all the topics of current political debate, few are as controversial as gay marriage, and each candidate has a drastically different stance on the issue. President Barack Obama is the first sitting president to announce publically his support of same-sex marriage. Former Governor and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is adamant that the definition of marriage should remain traditional, a union between one man and one woman, and supports a constitutional amendment to define it as such. But the question here isn’t “What are the candidates’ stances on this matter?” or even “What is the stance of the majority of the voting public?” What needs be questioned is this: does one candidate’s platform have the right to criticize another’s morality on the basis of their platform’s values? Or, if the question is to be rephrased, can one candidate claim the other candidate has no values and get away with it simply because their platforms differ?
It’s an election year; to say that candidates won’t viciously criticize their opponents is naïve, yet a line must be drawn somewhere. President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney have been “bashing” each other for weeks over their differing stances on debated issues, but not over their personal ethics. Recently, however, it was shocking to learn that a commercial ad released by a Pro-Mitt Romney PAC does both, urging America to “vote for someone with values.” The commercial starts simply enough: melancholy music plays and a woman, looking upset, stands at her kitchen counter reading the paper. Her husband, casually asking how she is, sets a cup of coffee next to her. “Fine,” she replies somewhat distraughtly, “I guess.” “What’s going on?” he asks. “Well, Obama is trying to force gay marriage on this country. That’s not the change I voted for. Marriage is between a man and a woman,” she laments. “That’s not the change I voted for either,” says her husband, and when his wife asks what they can do, he replies with surety in the controversial moment of the ad, “We can vote for someone with values.”
Video by the Campaign for American Values
One might wonder what the big deal is, but implying that President Obama lacks values because he supports same-sex marriage and the LBGT community is not only wrong, it’s insulting. Would someone think it was acceptable to attack Romney’s values because he believes marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman? No, and regardless of how he established his values, they are no less legitimate than Obama’s when he says same-sex marriage is okay.
There are Democratic and Republican Christians alike. Barack Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ and Mitt Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; should one religious man accuse another religious man of not holding values just because they differ from his own? Regardless of what one believes, one needs to recognize that is not right. The issue of gay marriage is much debated. As Christians, we must ask ourselves where we stand. The Bible speaks out against homosexuality in several places, so naturally one would think it is a black-and-white issue, right? Homosexuality is wrong. But the Bible also speaks out against women as pastors, and many churches disregarded that fact in favor of women in their ministries. Is that wrong? Must Christianity hold fast to Biblical text, or must it adapt to change over time? If it must adapt, who determines the ways in which it must? Moreover, who has the right to accuse another of lacking values because they answered these questions in a specific way?
Thanks to the separation of religion and state, marriage as defined governmentally has no mention of religion or spirituality. While Christians see as it a union between two people and God, governmentally it is simply a union between two consenting adults. Nearly all objections to same-sex marriage are religious, but should religion hold sway in a secular government’s ruling on the issue? Individual churches, after examining their answers to previously mentioned questions, can and have made their own decisions regarding it.
The decision on who can marry should be made in the churches and enforced pastorally, not in courthouses. Secularly, as this writer feels, shouldn’t marriage be allowed for all and, religiously, allowed at the discretion of the church or denomination? Not everyone agrees on this answer, but all should agree that answering “yes” to that question doesn’t diminish a person’s values. Furthermore, Christians come of all opinions regarding same-sex marriage. Regardless of how a person feels, if they act in good faith that they are doing and believing the right thing, they are acting on their values, indeed. If I could give a shout out to the GOP right now, it would go something like this: President Obama doesn’t lack values, former Governor Romney. Kindly don’t imply he does.
The opinions expressed in The Papyrus online do not necessarily represent those of Greenville College or the Greenville College Publications Board.