Monday, February 04, 2008


Rob Schenck, reporting:

Today I write as a private citizen and not as the head of a Christian ministry organization:

Tuesday, February 5, will be a critical point in the process of picking the two major nominees for president of the United States. It may very well be the decisive day, but I certainly pray not. It will be a good thing for the country if the contest continues, and it's my opinion it would serve the American people particularly well if it continues right up to the respective Republican and Democratic conventions.

I've been asked by innumerable people now, Who should I vote for on Super Tuesday?

First, I offer a disclaimer: I see things from the vantage point of an evangelical Christian activist. I have lived the last 33 years of my life as an evangelical believer. I am an ordained evangelical minister. I graduated from an evangelical Bible college and an evangelical seminary. I serve on the board of America's oldest evangelical association of church leaders, and I head one of the most active national evangelical organizations based in Washington, DC.

I'll also say that I have carefully--and prayerfully--looked at each of the candidates, Democrat and Republican--and I have met some of them. I have talked to many of their top level advisors and campaign staff people, and I have even been with some of the campaigns out on the campaign trail. I have three close friends, each working for a different candidate, one of them working for Hillary Clinton. Though I have no personal contacts with Barack Obama, my soul mate, Dr. Johnny Hunter, head of the African-American organization L.E.A.R.N., has talked with the senator face-to-face; I also sent a research assistant out to Chicago to find out what she could about Obama. And then there was my one-hour sit-down face-to-face with the chairman of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean, in his office at Democratic Party headquarters.

(Two of the most interesting experiences I've had this campaign season was an intimate vetting question-and-answer session with Governor Mitt Romney and a prayer service with Congressman Ron Paul, but no space to further comment on those items!)

All this to say I've gotten a pretty good look at the field of candidates and their campaigns. With this in mind, let me offer my humble advice on casting your vote on Tuesday, February 5:

- Begin winnowing down your list by eliminating those candidates that are disqualified on their face:

1. If they don't get it right on the preeminent God-given human right, the absolute Right to Life, they can't possibly get anything else right. It's the reason the Founders listed the Right to Life first in the sequence of rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Though I was born and raised in a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat family, I'm sad to say the Democrats have ruled themselves out by forcing their national candidates to tow the pro-abortion line. So, I have ruled out Democrats on their face until the Party changes it's position and respects the Declaration of Independence and every human being's God-given Right to Life.

2. Because so much is at stake in the election of this next president, we must balance our ideals with a realistic assessment of the candidates' chances for winning.

(A little sidebar: In my estimation, Hillary Clinton already has the nomination from her party. I say that for several reasons: 1) Hillary and Bill Clinton have raised more money for Democrats than anyone in modern history. They are owed more political IOU's than any politicians in this country. The Clintons own the machinery of the Democratic Party and they are the favorites of the Party's establishment. 2) Barack Obama is useful to Hillary because he whips up enthusiasm, brings hundreds of thousands of newly registered and energized Democrats to the table, and 3) Creates the appearance of a real Democratic debate inside the Democratic Party. But--and I may be crazy--I believe at the proper moment, the Party machine will pull the plug on him and ask, "Where are ya' gonna' go? To the Republicans?")

3. Whoever you pick has got to be able to win over Hillary, or on the odd chance, Barack, both of whom will be the absolute darlings of the overwhelming majority of print and broadcast media. Your candidate better be articulate, brilliant, energetic and telegenic, or he won't win in America's celebrity culture.

4. Once you narrow it down to a short list of those who get it right on the paramount moral issues, beginning with the Right to Life, but including the sanctity of marriage and the family and the public acknowledgment of God, then you must consider national appeal; who appeals to the broadest number of voters. Only coalitions win primaries.

Another sidebar: I like Mike Huckabee. He's the real deal. A true, born again, Bible-believing Christian. I don't agree with all his policy proposals or everything he did while he was governor of Arkansas, but he's a good guy with the right convictions on the big issues. The problem now is he's not been able to broaden his appeal beyond evangelicals, for the most part, and so his role has been reduced to spoiler for Mitt Romney. Therefore, I've concluded Mike Huckabee's only contribution at this stage is to draw votes away from Romney giving John McCain a clear path to victory on the Republican side. There is also credible information that Huckabee is being positioned to be McCain's pick for vice president. That, in my estimation, will be bad for evangelicals and for the country. I'll elaborate:

5. John McCain will be a huge disappointment for evangelicals and other religious, moral and social conservatives: McCain is not only a secularist, he has worked against the interests of evangelicals and other moral / social conservatives. His signature act in the Congress is a law known as McCain Feingold. This law severely limits the First Amendment rights of Christians and many others by restricting the liberties of groups to comment on the elections. It's a terrible violation of the Constitution. A vote for Mike Huckabee has been reduced to a vote for John McCain and that is bad for all of us, and a possible McCain-Huckabee ticket would be an equation for disaster.

6. John McCain will do anything to preserve the law that bears his name. That means he will pick liberal judges that are sure to uphold this unconstitutional law. These same liberal judges will also uphold Roe v.Wade, "gay marriage," and continue to limit religious expression in the public square. That's bad for us and for the country. By helping John McCain, Mike Huckabee does not help us.

7. Mike Huckabee's time may come in the future, but for now, he ends up being a dupe for someone who does not have our values or the Constitution as his first concern. I urge you to consider one of the other candidates who can go on to win this contest.

Look at the numbers, do the analysis, get out to vote in your primary this Tuesday, February 5, or whenever it is, and, pray; God will help you to be wise. The stakes are just too high to sit this one out. This next presidential election is as much about the Supreme Court as it is about anything else. Your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will live with the consequences of your action--or inaction--in this primary!

I will update this blog throughout the day with more material--be sure to check back periodically.