The Christian Left began as the result of a conversation between two childhood friends sitting around a camp fire at an annual 4th of July picnic held by the surviving members of the Merry Pranksters. One, Mark Baldwin, is a Quaker and a Green Party member. The other, Charles Toy, was raised in the Lutheran Church and is a Democrat.
The story in a nutshell goes something like this:
Mark Baldwin pointing at Charles Toy and laughing: “Hahahahahahaha! And there’s my evangelical Christian friend!”
Charles was taken off guard and had to think a moment.
Charles Toy: “I’m not an evangelical Christian.”
Charles was aware of the connotations of that term and he wanted nothing to do with it.
Mark Baldwin: “What are you then?”
Mark is the kind of person who likes to draw people out and make them define themselves.
Charles Toy: “I’m a disciple of Jesus.”
There you have it folks, short and sweet. The conversation that launched a national movement of more than 100,000 people, and growing. At the time, Charles was unaware of other progressive Christian movements like Sojourners. He only knew that he was a Christian, and for that reason he was a liberal of course. He was also firmly convinced that the agenda of 'The Christian Right' had nothing to do with anything Jesus taught.
That conversation led to many more conversations on the topic of “The Christian Left” between Mark and Charles and ultimately resulted in the launching of a website and the related social media pages. Since that time The Christian Left has become a wonderful team of contributors with similar visions.
Fast forward to today.
Charles thinks that there is no possibility of Jill Stein ever winning the Presidential election and a vote for Jill would a vote for Mitt Romney. He has a more favorable view of President Obama than Mark and thinks if you’re a Green party member you should only vote for Jill Stein if you live an a solid red state or blue state. If you live in a swing state (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, or Wisconsin) you should sacrifice your vote for the common good and vote for President Obama. A Romney presidency is unacceptable in Charles’ view. It would be an unmitigated return to Bush policy which would crash the country into a dark nightmare, just as it did before.
Mark says that shouldn’t matter and people should vote their conscience.
So, without further adieu, we give you the view from the Green Party wing of The Christian Left, by Mark Baldwin.
Why, as a Christian, I'm Voting for Jill Stein
by Mark Baldwin
My choice is based not only on how he chose to negotiate with Congress on numerous issues, ranging from Obama care to the tax code, defense spending, and financial regulation. To clearly see who Obama represents, I chose to focus primarily on what he has done within the area solely governed by the Executive Branch. This analysis avoids the entangling arguments about whether or not he was stopped by an obstreperous Congress, and focuses on Obama's actions in the domain where he is the unequivocal decision-maker.
Some people are voting for Obama because of their fears for the LGBT community if Romney gets elected. Obama has successfully dismantled discrimination against gays and lesbians in the armed forces. More states will legalize marriage equality, no matter who is President. The rising of consciousness about equality for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is irreversible.
Some people are voting for Obama because of their fears over abortion. Roe v. Wade has stood for 40 years. In that time, we have seen a phenomenal and much needed rise in the power of women in society. We have more women graduating from college than men. We have women working as CEOs, lawyers, bankers, judges, professors, doctors, scientists, elected officials, and other positions of influence in society. We have more to do to have equality for women in our society, but there is no possible way for abortion to be made illegal without an immediate uprising in this country.
The Republicans use the fear of Obama taking their guns to herd conservative voters into a pen. Democrats use the fear of eliminating abortion, or rounding gays up for execution, to herd liberals into a pen. None of these will happen based upon who is elected President.
Where the President has domestic power is through departments such as the EPA, and the Justice Department. The President has enormous power in the area of foreign policy, namely negotiating trade deals, and the use of troops and special ops abroad. Where Obama has a choice, he chooses to side with the global financiers and the military-prison industrial complex.
Blessed are the Peacemakers
The Obama administration has pursued global military domination and the use of military solutions in foreign affairs in a manner similar to other President’s since WWII. Obama did not get us out of Iraq. He just waited for the Status of Forces Agreement to kick in. Like Bush before him, he lobbied the Iraqi government to keep US troops in Iraq beyond the agreed withdrawal date. Depending on your source, 5-10,000 troops and private mercenaries remain in Iraq today.
Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan. If you, as a Christian, believe that more violence in Afghanistan has helped to alleviate suffering in that country, then vote for Obama. If you believe that drones strikes that kill and dismember the poorest women and children in the world is truly making America safer, then vote for Obama.
Here’s a little dose of drone war reality.
If you think that Obama is doing things more ‘surgically’, more ‘rationally’, then I encourage you to read this and wake up to what the logic of secret wars really means. Make sure to read the core source documents to understand the insidious nature of these types of wars.
If you oppose drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other places around the globe, then vote for Jill Stein.
Obama supported the military coup in Honduras, supported a fraudulent election there, and now Honduras leads the world in the murder of civil activists.
Obama undermined democracy in Haiti by preventing the largest party, the Lavalas party, to participate in the elections after the hurricane. This will bring you up to speed. Note that the President’s policy for Haiti comes right out of the arch-conservative Heritage Foundation playbook. Don’t take my word for it. Read it yourself and decide.
Obama is escalating tensions with Iran. No evidence whatsoever exists that Iran is producing a nuclear bomb, yet Obama is supporting an economic blockade of Iran? This blockade is preventing medical supplies from getting to Iran. Such a policy is inherently immoral. Read more here. If you support punishing the Iranian people for crimes not committed, then vote for Obama. If you oppose escalating tensions with Iran, vote for Jill Stein.
In the area of “free-trade,” which is undermining our economy at home, depressing wages, destroying our manufacturing base, and furthering environmental destruction, Obama is leading the charge on behalf of the global financier class.
Obama is conducting secret negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). No, you and your representatives in Congress are not allowed to read the agreement, but CEOs for Fortune 500 companies are. If you liked NAFTA, you are going to love the TPP.
Obama made disastrous decisions for the environment in terms of his appointments and his environmental agenda. His major appointees are handmaidens for oil, coal, nuclear power and natural gas, and his policies have empowered and enriched them at the expense of our communities and our environment. His nominated Van Jones, but as soon as there was the Republicans whinged the tiniest bit, he backed down. Then, he appointed Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior.
When the gross malfeasance of BP and a consortium of other oil related industries disregard for safety decimated thousands of families in the Gulf, the Obama administration showed a callousness toward the victims of this calamity. The Coast Guard restricted access to scientist and journalists trying to examine the damage of the spill, study the effect of dispersants. Obama let BP administer the distribution of funds to those affected, a process that has done every thing possible to minimize damages paid to the families devastated by this tragic testament to greed.
I stand unequivocally opposed to the Tar Sands and XL-Pipeline production. If you vote for Obama, then you also support the XL Pipeline.
If you support these people, you support Jill Stein.
Obama is promoting off-shore drilling in the Arctic. I cannot support a person who is supposed to represent me blithely ignoring that repeating the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico in the treacherous Arctic Seas is just a matter of time. I agree to a degree with those that argue that it is up to the people to put pressure on him after he is elected to stop drilling in the pristine Arctic, but isn't that why we elected him? Nobody says Shell must have a big protest to get a seat at the President's table.
If you truly oppose drilling in the arctic, you support Jill Stein.
Obama's support “clean” coal will impact the health of our communities throughout the nation. Coal shipped from across the nation will be exported from Oregon. Sulphur, mercury, and other contaminants will spill into our water and our air. These poisons will enter the bodies of our children while they are undergoing complex metabolic changes resulting debilitating birth defects, physical and mental health problems, problems learning, and cancers.
Obama unequivocally supports nuclear power. Can you spell Fukushima? If you support Obama, then you support expanding nuclear power, and upgrading our entire nuclear arsenal. If not, then vote for Jill Stein.
Obama said (I paraphrase), "Governor Romney and I have similar positions on Social Security." Obama has proved his willingness to be a spineless negotiator, and will negotiate away our earned retirement pension.
Have you noticed how Obama has not mentioned raising the minimum wage in this campaign? Ask yourself why not?
Has Obama supported forgiving student loans? Why not?
If you want to make a vote based on fear, then fear what Obama and Romney agree on. Those areas of agreement will have a far greater impact on your daily life than will the areas where they purport to disagree.
Jesus did not work out a deal that was 'pragmatic', or 'reasonable'. Those are the words used by the elites, so that you will see the practicality in accepting 1.1% of the crumbs rather than 1%. They want you to see the logic that they need the whole loaf in order for you to be properly fed.
My choice is based on who will most act like Jesus. Jesus did not compromise with the money-changers in the temple; he grabbed a bull-whip and drove them out.
My conscience as a Christian compels me to vote for Jill Stein, and not for one who will compromise with the money-changers.
Don’t trust me; trust yourself. Take this quiz, make sure to click on “Show more questions” to see all the choices, and decide for yourself who really represents you.
In the Spirit,
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.