Governor Gary Johnson is the Libertarian candidate for President, running against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. He is on the ballot in all 50 states. I am a registered, Republican voter and an evangelical, follower of Jesus Christ, who is vocally supporting the Governor. To do this, I had to overcome three issues where my faith could possibly clash with Johnson's ideologies. He is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and believes I must make that damn cake for the sweet gay couple regardless of my convictions about marriage.
I want to take those three issues and break them down, so I can show you how my conservative, evangelical convictions and my endorsement of Gary Johnson are not contradictory. In doing so, maybe I can help you in your 2016 decision. I invite you to comment and share this article, while including your viewpoints, no matter what side of the political spectrum you side with and no matter what your faith (or no faith) is so we can spark a respectful discussion on these extraordinarily important issues in America today.
First, as a Conservative with growing Libertarian branches, I believe life must be valued and protected at all stages, from conception to death. I believe this is a liberty issue. I understand many, on the other side, who argue women should have the liberty to make the choice since it involves their own bodies and futures. I believe that is true in the sense that they had the liberty to choose birth-control during sex or to choose abstinence. After that decision, even if the pregnancy is unwanted or an accident, I believe liberty actually falls on the side of the unborn who has a right to have a chance at live, no matter what the family circumstances are, no matter what the health of the fetus is, and regardless of the financial impact. The only time I believe the decision should be discussed is when the life of the mother is at stake, which is a rare occurrence because of the amazing advancement of our medical sciences.
So, how can I support Gary Johnson, a pro-choice candidate for President? I believe we have the opportunity to advance the Libertarian Party and to have an impact on its future platform, which I hope will stand for life. A vote for the Libertarian candidate, in my state of Oklahoma, is a vote for liberty and for the future. I believe Gary Johnson values individual liberty. Even if Johnson was pro-life, the law of the land is that abortion is a legal right of a woman. Since only Congress has the power to legislate on the issue, not the White House, the President's abortion philosophies don't have (or shouldn't have) much impact on legislation. I agree with many of the Governor's governing principles in spite of our abortion differences. He believes in smaller government and greater individual freedom. I support that. Though it breaks my heart to know millions of lives are taken out annually, sometimes violently, through abortion, I believe government cannot legislate morality. Instead, we must work to advocate for and teach the public why life should be protected at conception, even before it takes the shape of a human being in the womb. When culture begins to value life again then Congress will have the mandate to change the nation's legislation, in spite of whoever the President may be. The Supreme Court will always play a role, but it is Congress who holds the true authority.
Secondly, I am a Christian who believes the Bible clearly says that homosexual identities and lifestyles are not God's best for humanity. That being said, I do not believe Christians should focus on fighting the beautiful LGBTQ community. Instead, we should love them and join with them to advocate for personal respect and dignity. We do more harm than good when we preach against people than when we stand for something, especially a shared principle. A pastor once said, "I'd rather be known for what I am for than what I am against. There are enough jerks in the world." I say, "exactly!"
So, though Gary Johnson advocates gay-marriage, as a civil right, I can vote for him because, as marriage is now in the country the gay community deserves a voice and deserves fairness. They deserve the exact same respect as heterosexuals even though we disagree. (That shouldn't need to be said!) The truth is, I don't believe government should be involved in marriage at the federal level at all, no matter what "kind" of marriage it is. Ultimately, marriage is a religious institution, but at least should be left to the states to regulate. My conviction that godly marriage is between one man and one woman also says that kind of marriage is the best environment to start a family. I stick by that conviction. However, I also believe that no matter what sexuality you identify as, you have the liberty to express that sexuality, regardless of my beliefs. My endorsement for Governor Johnson, therefore, is not such a contradiction to my important convictions. Where I go against the liberal thinking on this issue most strongly is how they tend to indoctrinate our culture and kids with the philosophies that say it is automatically a bigoted view to consider homosexuality a sin. We have the religious liberty to believe what we believe and it is not a hateful view. The Christian theology says, clearly, "We all sin." (Romans 3:23)
As I stated earlier, regarding abortion, Christians who believe any sexuality other than heterosexuality is contrary to God's best should focus on changing the views of the public and spend less time trying to legislate our convictions through government.
Remember this, I beg you, just because some Christians with loud voices, including those bullies on the playground or with television shows are hateful to the LGBTQ community, doesn't mean they represent true Christianity, the real Jesus, or the majority of His authentic followers. You can follow Jesus no matter how you identity yourself and if you do not follow Jesus, we still love and accept you.
Lastly, the presidential, Libertarian, ticket believes that religious liberty can be used abusively through discrimination and that should be against the law. Many Christians are skeptical of this viewpoint, but I agree with it! Many horrible atrocities have been done in the name of religion. I don't believe that if a Christian baker makes a cake for a gay wedding that it goes against their convictions. The Christian philosophy is to love and serve regardless of our differences. I understand the baker may feel differently. He or she may believe that by baking the cake they are advocating and endorsing 'gay marriage.' But with all due respect, that is where government should play a role. I do not advocate the federal government to be involved; it is a state issue. The states should legislate a balance between religious liberty and civil liberty. My religious liberty should not impede on your civil liberty. I'll say that again... my religious liberty should not impede on your civil liberty. It is also true that your civil liberty should not impede on my faith. In other words, my beliefs should not dictate your behavior and if I provide a service or a product and you purchase it, that does not mean your purchase invalidates my beliefs. Similarly, if I am a Christian buying a cake from a gay baker, yet our views are contrary on marriage, I can still buy the cake because I am buying a product, not an ideology. I understand it is a difficult and volatile issue to debate. Passions run high on both sides. I can support Gary Johnson because I mostly agree with him on this issue; religious liberty should not be an excuse to discriminate. Additionally, I plead that no one takes away my freedom to speak my convictions.
In conclusion, I sincerely hope that if you are able to vote you vote and if you are undecided you will choose #TeamGov. They might be socially tolerant and fiscally conservative and you may fall more on one of those sides than the other, but that is what America needs right now and it truly represents the majority of us. We need unity. We need to find principles we can agree on. We are one nation, enough with the division. Enough with racial hate, religious hate, political hate, and ideological hate! We can agree to disagree. We should come together and debate civilly and justly.
As for me, this evangelical Christian is voting for Gary Johnson. I hope you will too. Visit his website to learn more at www.johnsonweld.com and let's hope America chooses to #LetGaryDebate!
PS. Taxation is theft.
(I am not a representative of the Johnson/Weld campaign or any political party. My views are my own.)