Donald Miller is one of the better voices of the Emergent crowd. I liked most of Blue Like Jazz, and I think he’s a great writer. He led a prayer at the Democratic convention– no problem there; I would have gone if they’d asked. (They didn’t.) But he’s saying some really stupid things regarding his support for Obama.
CT interviewed Miller about being asked to pray at the convention. When asked about his stance on abortion, here are his strongest words:
The issue of abortion is a very sensitive one and it’s an important issue… I hope the Democrats will listen to those of us who lean toward pro-life and those changes can be made. [emphasis added]
Those of us who “lean toward pro-life”? Wow, way to take on the party line.
In a more recent interview (HT: Challies), he says several things that are just flat-out wrong.
[Obama] is also standing up to his own party on the issue and moving the party forward to elevate the issue of the sanctity of life within the Democratic Party.
The best possible spin you can put on this is that Miller has no clue what he’s talking about. Let’s go over this again: Obama has a perfect 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. He has said his first act as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. He voted, at various times, either “no” or “present” on bills to protect infants who were born alive after abortion attempts. There is no sense in which he is “standing up to his party”– unless it’s to move them further to the left on abortion.
I simply do not see McCain’s stand on abortion being as strong as conservatives think it is. He changed his mind on the issue only a few years ago, in fact. I think it’s a ploy to get votes.
While I share Miller’s wish that McCain would speak more strongly on abortion, his voting record simply couldn’t be much better. He’s certainly the anti-Obama on this issue, with National Right to Life calling his voting record on abortion “one of the best in the Senate.”
I am willing to look uncool to help the first African-American become President.
Right, because supporting Obama is so uncool right now. I guess this one isn’t factually wrong so much as just stupid.
Most evangelicals polled will vote for Barack.
The myth of an evangelical migration to Obama has been repeatedly debunked. Obama doesn’t poll as well among evangelicals as Kerry in 2004. See here, here, and especially here. I have no idea why Miller thinks this statement is true.
Look, I’m all for robust discussion. And no, you most certainly do not have to be a Republican to be a Christian. But if you’re a believer supporting Obama, you really owe it to yourself to have a decent reason (just as you would for McCain). Vote for him because you believe the government should have a bigger role in health care, or because you oppose the war, or because you prefer his economic policy. But don’t vote for him and try to tell the rest of us it’s a valid pro-life move. That’s a sham, and well-informed people ought to know better.
6 thoughts on “Donald Miller on Obama”
I’m with you. I really enjoy Donald Miller, except when it comes to politics. Those excerpts show a guy who either wants to believe the absolute best of Obama & absolute worst of McCain due to personal political bias, or someone who has been duped by press releases. Sad that such an insightful guy can completely miss the boat here.
I agree with you, except for the first quote.
To me, if he had changed “lean to” to “am,” the meaning of the sentence wouldn’t have changed.
ooops. “Are.” Not “am.”
I think the “uncool” comment is the most telling part. The **eMerGEnT** movement (wasn’t that a cool way to type!) is ALL style in my opinion, its basic theology and piety is simply minimalistic evangelicalism becoming like what you find among the mainline churches. So, what makes it distinctive? Its style. Part of the style is the “I’m-just-a-messed-up-misunderstood-guy-who’s-really-tryin” … and the, “I ‘m-a-suffering-outcast-from-the-mean-fundamentalist-established-church.”
I imagine, that if they were to make an “emergent worship arts experience” of that statement, it would involve an acne infested kid dressed REALLY REALLY emo getting laughed at by the “Young Republicans Club” and then a light would shine down on him as he stretched out his arms, as if on a cros,s and “fake-died”… that would be so deep, and cool, I mean, uncool… wait, now I’m confused. But maybe that’s the point!
Jake, hope you saw Robert George’s essay on Obama being the most pro-abortion (okay, playing to the vocab) politician in history… Good post.
Hey man, I don’t know if you read any of my back-and-forth with Speech (from Arrested Development…the band, not the tv show) over this very issue, but I basically said the same thing to him that you said in your last paragraph–it’s okay to be for Obama and be Christian…as long as you are vehement in denouncing his horrendous stand on abortion-on-demand!
I think you’re also right on in addressing the “cool” comment. Voting McCain simply isn’t cool…unless you’re talking about cool in the eyes of Lifeway employees or 700 Club members! And the emergent guys and gals are certainly all about being cool. Thus, the emergent guys and gals will vote Obama in droves. (Except the really cool ones who will write in Ron Paul on their ballot…something I’m very tempted to do myself!)
Miller’s a good storyteller and has a heart for bringing people to Jesus who normally can’t stand Christians. I appreciate that about him. But in my opinion he drifts a little to close to the whole “I’m-not-really-an-upper-class-white-Christian-male-like-you-may-be-thinking-I-am-I’m-really-down-with-the-people-against-“the-man”-and-his-Republican-party-oppression” song and dance like Tony Campolo and others.