Unlike Australia where voter turnout is near universal because it is required by law, in America, not only do you have to convince voters that your positions are right but you have to convince them enough to get them to vote. Karl Rove reckoned that 4 million "evangelical Christians" didn’t vote in 2000 so he aimed to engage them with "Christian values"—and change the subject from Iraq, loss of jobs, exploding government deficits and so on. I thought what they were promoting was a perversion of Christian values, or at least a self-serving subset.
I heard an interesting analysis that argued that in the last generation or so, Christian values have been turned from external issues (fighting against poverty, racism, violence against women, environmental degradation, torture and war combined with fighting for peace, jobs, access to healthcare, education) to internal issues focused particularly on abortion and same-sex marriage.
I’m uneasy about abortion but see the real solution is preventing unwanted pregnancies. The "pro-lifers" would do well to ask why the US has such high rates of teen pregnancies—more than double that of Canada for instance and 16 times higher than Japan Note 5. Their opposition to sex education and contraception might be part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
The hypocrisy on the same-sex marriage issue is jarring. The President has given his support to a Constitutional amendment that would define marriage in terms of one man and one woman and 38 states have passed "defense of marriage acts" that define it this way. The Republicans talk about marriage and family as being the foundation of society and say that same-sex marriage is a threat. Somehow divorce is never mentioned even though 40-50% of US marriages now end that way. While condemning homosexuals, the President was strangely silent when Britney Spears was married and then divorced 55 hours later. If lack of children is the problem, it is odd that Republicans don’t criticize couples like Lan and I.
I am forced to conclude that these issues are merely politics; a way to get popularly elected while doing what they really want—massive tax cuts and rollback of regulations for their wealthy donors. I urge you to read this article Note 6 about the growing wealth inequality: "... between 1973 and 2000 the average real income of the bottom 90 percent of American taxpayers actually fell by 7 percent. Meanwhile, the income of the top 1 percent rose by 148 percent, the income of the top 0.1 percent rose by 343 percent and the income of the top 0.01 percent rose 599 percent." It gets worse after that.
To my mind, a government that truly reflected Christian values would look like a combination of GreenPeace, Amnesty International, CARE and Doctors without Borders.
Although there were some cheap shots at the President, the film Fahrenheit 9/11 moved me when looking at who makes the decisions about the war and who fights it. Only a few members of Congress have close relatives serving in the military Note 7. The film followed a pair of Marine recruiters who focused on the poorest neighborhoods knowing that the residents there had few other opportunities for education and employment.