The Weekly Vista

Single issue people

- ROBERT A. BOX Chaplain's Perspectiv­e

Several years ago, I wrote a book entitled “Single Issue People,” but I never published it because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I still feel the same way about hurting someone’s feelings, but single issue individual­s are a puzzlement to me. Sometimes I don’t believe they are serious about such a thing, but then out of nowhere a friend or family member will come right out and declare something like, “He’s pro choice. That’s enough for me not to vote for him,” and I’m brought back to face reality.

There are a lot of people today who are literally “single issue” people. Never mind that many of these issues have been proven to be untrue; they are real for people today. Unfortunat­ely, those “single issues” too often cloud the total picture of what a person really believes. We ought never to forget that public statements are rarely true whenever politics are involved. A politician will say or do almost anything to get elected.

How many of our presidents were womanizers, men who too often had women secreted into the White House for their pleasure even while presenting a public appearance of fidelity to their wives and their marriage vows? Far too many! How many were espousing a strong effort to eliminate drugs and alcoholic addition in society while privately engaging in both activities? Far too many! How many claimed a strong support for the church while never attending a single worship service or giving anything to support one? Far too many! How many believed in a strong military while getting rid of any military leaders who disagreed with them? Far too many! How many have claimed to be pro-life while providing abortion services to

someone in their family? Far too many! By now, I’m sure you understand where I am coming from. History is replete with examples of everything I have mentioned.

Just because a person happens to be pro-life or an advocate of second amendment rights does not make him or her a good person. There are crooks, robbers and even murderers who claim the same things. You would be surprised how quickly a person becomes religious when he or she is arrested and placed in jail. In fact, many incarcerat­ed individual­s easily surrender their lives to Jesus and are baptized only to repeat the same process when they are arrested and thrown into jail a second time. Jailers want the best for inmates, but they also know that too many of these decisions are made for convenienc­e only, and when they look at the record of an inmate who has made a religious decision they know is unreal, they often say to one another, “Who are you kidding?” I once baptized over 60 prisoners in the Benton County jail in two months, and reported to my church denominati­on that I had baptized more people than any church in our denominati­on, but they, like jailers, responded by saying the same thing.

I am sometimes frustrated whenever someone claims to make a final decision on someone just because he or she claims to be pro-life, which happens to spring out of lot of people’s religious conviction­s. I happen to agree with most of the pro-life position, but what if the person happens to also be pro-choice in not hesitating to kill people either in war or one’s

personal life in order to obtain a victory? How do you justify killing adults when you don’t want to kill newborn babies? Consider how former President Trump strongly supported a pro-life stance, but now blames Republican­s who lost their races for being too pro-life and ignoring some pro-choice decisions.

What do you do with someone who supports second amendments rights, but refuses to restrain individual­s from using military-style weapons to mass murder innocent people, especially children?

Money talks. Many times, we recognize someone who has made a fortune (and not just former President Trump) and praise him or her for it without ever questionin­g how the fortune was made? Consider the Kennedy family.

We used to discrimina­te against someone just because he or she was a different color, belonged to a different religious group, or engaged in nefarious sexual activities; but today we know that none of these single issues are truly valid.

I suggest that instead of being single issue individual­s we give attention to the total history of people running for political office, and then attempt to make an educated choice about whether he or she would properly serve. You know the saying, “You know someone by the life he or she has led.” I like what the biblical James said in chapter 2:14ff. He pointed out that even the demons believe in God, but that true faith means doing good works with your deeds. We are all a mixture of good and bad beliefs, but thankfully we are not defined by only one issue; we are what we are, and should be judged by the life we live and what we do, not by a single issue.

— Robert Box has been a law enforcemen­t chaplain for 30 years. He is a master-level chaplain with the Internatio­nal Conference of Police Chaplains and is an endorsed chaplain with the American Baptist Churches USA. He also currently serves as a deputy sheriff chaplain for the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. Opinions expressed in the article are the opinions of the author and not the agencies he serves.

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