Kent Bush: Candidates are the leading men in nationwide morality tale

Kent Bush

Undecided voters get a bad rap these days.

With less than a week before the final votes are cast, those who haven’t riveted themselves to a candidate are looked upon as uninformed or indecisive.

But it’s easy for me to see why voters who look beyond the “R” and “D” might have a tough decision to make.

They’re scared John McCain won’t do what he says he will. They are equally worried that Barack Obama will.

In the past two weeks, I have heard four pastors remind me that my vote carries a religious responsibility. It is difficult when you sense that spiritual advisers haven’t read the whole script.

They tell me that abortion is wrong and thus I should support the candidates who are pro-life. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that McCain has a long record of pro-life voting and his running mate certainly did nothing to dissuade voters from believing he stands firm there.

Obama, not so much. He and his running mate are openly pro-choice. However, they readily point out that fewer abortions is always better.

These pastors also extolled the benefits of the traditional marriage and how homosexual marriage is an affront to Biblical principles. I agree on this point, but I don’t think the path to McCain is quite as clear as those in the pulpit seem to.

Only 18 months ago, pastors were railing against the eventual GOP candidate who, at the time, was competing with Morman Mitt Romney and Southern Baptist Pastor Mike Huckabee for the Republican nomination.

In January 2007, James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, said, “Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances.”

One of the reasons he would never vote for McCain was his position on gay marriage.

At the time, McCain had gone on the record with his position. “I think that gay marriage should be allowed if there's a ceremony kind of thing, if you want to call it that … I don't have any problem with that,” McCain said.

Now Dobson has not only announced that he will vote for McCain – he has endorsed him. Never say never, I guess.

On openly gay Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show, McCain revealed his modified position to say that he was against gay marriage but does support civil unions and did not support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Obama has also taken a position on gay marriage, "I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

So both men – and their running mates – oppose same-sex marriage, but all support civil unions and have voted almost identically on the subject.

Strange, no one mentioned that from the pulpit.

On other moral issues, neither Obama nor Biden have divorced. McCain has. Palin and her husband are still very much an item.

McCain married into millions thanks to his wife’s ownership of an alcohol distribution company.

Obama made his fortune writing books and working as a professor. However, in one of his autobiographies, Obama tells of his use of illicit drugs as a young man dealing with issues he blamed on the absence of his father for most of his life.

Biden is a life-long teetotaler. Palin has admitted to social drinking and smoking marijuana while it was legal in Alaska.

I had to look that up on my own, as well.

Apparently, when pastors speak of moral issues, they only mean abortion.

Not long ago, I wrote a column about how bad an idea it is to preach politics and pander for a chosen party from the pulpit.

Not knowing all of the facts takes that idea from bad to worse.

On moral issues, McCain may win, but it is a split decision at best – certainly not the knockout the GOP would have you believe.

On economic issues, Obama is far more progressive – and expensive. Can we afford for Obama’s economic plan to work? Can we afford to find out if McCain is really just a continuation of the policies that have been unable to prevent this meltdown?

Don’t look down on those still making up their minds.

There is no clear answer to the question these candidates pose. Those who make black and white decisions in an election shaded in gray are fooling themselves and trying to fool you.

Find out all you can about both candidates. Make the decision that you believe is best.

If you really want to help, when you’re finished voting Tuesday, immediately start praying for whomever is elected and the country they are going to lead.

Augusta Gazette