I have read Brian McLaren’s work to the profit of my own thinking. He has many good ideas and has stimulated the church in important ways.
However, I think he has a major blind spot when it comes to politics. McLaren recently came out in support of Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency.
Now, before I go on, I understand how a man like McLaren could support Obama. You say, “Look, this man will begin programs for poor people. He will save the environment. He will bring healing to the racial divide in this country. Most of all, I like the way an Obama presidency feels.”
Aside from the last point, I will not even bother to rebut, though I could. I suspect the feeling about Obama may be the most important part. Many Christians have an averse reaction to conservative Christians in politics because they don’t like the tone. They don’t like the style, the apparent judgmentalness, the hardness of it. McLaren is one of those who has the averse reaction. Though I am far more conservative than McLaren, I’ve had the reaction myself in a room with certain types of people.
Unfortunately, McLaren is making a terrible mistake. If we agree that abortion is a terrible evil, which it is, then we must ask who is aiding that system of killing. The answer is simple. Obama aids it. He praises the funders and practitioners of it. He promises never to let it be limited or constrained. The one place where he is certain he favors free markets and laissez faire is with regard to abortion.
One could say it is but one of many issues, but so what if the issue is properly basic? Protecting unborn life is a yes or no answer pretty much like segregation is. Either you affirm humanity and its most basic rights or you do not. How would McLaren react to a candidate who supported everything he supported except that he proclaimed the question of segregation above his pay grade? Would he support that man or woman? I suspect not.
Brother McLaren, if you can’t go Republican for various reasons, your option would not be cooperation with a program of clear wrong. Your option would be to sit out until you can find a Democrat not actively at odds with one of the most basic tenets of the church (including the early church).