An endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for president ran in the Oct. 24, 2008, issue of the Optimist. Because of the sheer number of responses to that editorial, this page is dedicated to publishing Letters to the Editor regarding that endorsement.
Endorsement alienates individuals striving to maintain Christian values
Our 11-year-old daughter listened intently to the Democratic and the Republican debates. She was appalled when each of the Democratic candidates were asked if they supported abortion, and they all agreed.
Our daughter, like us, is a Christian and she could clearly see these were not the candidates God would have run our country. This country was founded on Christian principles with God included in national documents, currency and government buildings. Our country will be blessed and prosper when God is once again the cornerstone of our government and personal principles. God does not condone the killing of babies, yet the Democratic candidates align themselves with abortion rights and homosexual rights in every aspect which includes samesex marriages. From the Old Testament to the New Testament the Holy Bible is clear of homosexuality as sin. Yet your university whose name is Abilene Christian University has a student newspaper that endorses a candidate that doesn’t see killing babies or homosexuality as sinful or wrong.
Abilene Christian University and Barack Obama – Christian – to be Christ-like.
No, Jesus Christ would not condone abortion or homosexuality.
As with Mary Magdalen, the adulteress, Jesus Christ saved her from a death sentence of stoning, but He told her to go and sin no more. God does not hate the sinner; He hates sin. Since the Bible is clear about abortion and homosexuality being sin, then the message is sin no more. If you align yourself with endorsement of sin, then we cannot align ourselves to you.
— Mr. & Mrs. Dan Strickland and family
Obama endorsment represents political, rather than religious choice
I see terms like “God” and “His will” thrown around in this discussion (pretty much in every post), as if people think we’re a Christian nation. As if God is going to reveal to you the better candidate.
The U.S. is not a theocracy.
A large percentage of our population does not subscribe to any religion whatsoever. We as Christians must be sensitive to their right not to practice religion. And this should be done by not forcing our religion into governmental discussions and decisions. I believe society and our lawmakers have a decent grasp on some form of societal morality (with some definite exceptions) that caters to both Christians and non-Christians. You can’t expect non-Christians to buy into your faith-based ideas regarding politics. The great thing about America is how many different perspectives there are.
Regarding foreign relations, it’s not a matter of good versus evil. If you think other countries want to destroy you because you’re a Christian, you’re living in a dream world. The U.S. is a powerful country with great responsibility, and every international superpower in the history of the world has had enemies.
The presidency is an important office. I also believe it is a primarily symbolic position. We need an individual that cries for diversity, compassion, revolution, and hope. I don’t want a president who has a chip on his shoulder or uses his suffering as a prisoner of war to prove he is a good candidate to run the country. I want a resident who can be an effective ambassador to other countries, who can relate to the rest of the world because he knows what it’s like to be different.
I voted for Obama because I see him as a symbol of hope and compassion. The U.S. is in big trouble with the rest of the world, and I believe Obama can lead us in the right direction.
There are many, many other reasons I gave him my vote, but this is the one that best fits into a discussion of this nature.
— Mitch Holt, ACU and Optimist Alumus
Newspaper endorsements preserve First Amendment, uphold tradition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment is nowhere more valued than in the journalism program of a Christian university. It protects what we do and who we are. Writer and reader. Speaker and hearer. It protects believers and those who choose not to believe. It protects those with whom we agree, and those with whom we disagree ardently.
At ACU, the student media are what we in academia call laboratory media; student media are integrated into our curriculum. This allows faculty to impress upon students the real nature of what they do as beneficiaries of the First Amendment protections. As a primary news source for a community of several thousand, they are not just playing journalism. This is not just practice.
The Optimist editorial board does not speak for every member of the Optimist staff, let alone all students or all members of the ACU community. It does not in any sense speak on behalf of the university, which as a non-profit entity cannot advocate for or against a candidate for political office. To do so would violate its non-profit standing in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service.
Conversely, the students who comprise the editorial board of the Optimist have an obligation to consider the critical issues and viewpoints of presidential candidates and to decide which candidate, if any, they will endorse. In the Oct. 24 edition, the board presented an editorial endorsing Barack Obama for president and a minority view in support of John McCain. Some readers will agree. Some will disagree. In the ensuing dialog some will gain insight. That’s how a real free press operates.
Responses to the editorial endorsement of Barack Obama suggest that some readers misunderstand the distinction between the university’s obligation to neutrality, and the student media’s voice in the public square. Some respondents ignore or at best misunderstand the value of civil discourse. History teaches us that our nation has often survived the wisdom and whim of the electorate, but we diminish our democracy and sacrifice our credibility as Christians when we allow vitriol to trump civility in the process.
At their best, the media support an informed electorate, an enlightened culture, a literate citizenry. Even at their worst, they stir discussion, disagreement, and occasionally outrage. Sometimes, only the perspective of years can discern between the two. In either case, when the editorial board of any newspaper meets to discuss an important issue, chooses a viewpoint, advocates that viewpoint on its editorial page but gives equal opportunity to those who disagree, it performs its work in our democracy.
— Dr. Cheryl M. Bacon, Chair and professor of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
Endorsement should be clearly labeled as solely newspaper’s opinion
I had a message this morning on my e-mail entitled, “ACU Endorses Obama”. When I read the article from the Optimist, I realized that the views expressed there are the opinions of the staff of the paper, and not necessarily the views of the university.
It is, however, disappointing to know that one small part of the ACU population can be seen as representing the whole. I would hope that the university would be careful to make sure that its readers understand that the opinions expressed by this paper are just that. It is also disappointing and disturbing to me that there was nothing in the article that addresses the issues that are of much more importance to many of us than politics and the economy. Where are the qualifications of this man when it comes to preserving the sanctity of life and the character qualities of honesty and integrity?
I will be voting for McCain as I feel he is a man that will try to follow principles that I believe honor God.
The institution that you are part of has at its heart the purpose of educating young men and women to be Christian leaders in the world. You certainly have the right to vote for the man you feel will best lead this country, but it seems to me that you also have a responsibility as part of the ACU community to uphold the standard of Christian leadership. I would hope that you would expect nothing less in a world leader. I am glad to know that you printed a dissenting opinion, and I appreciate your willingness to consider comments on this and other articles in your newspaper.
My prayer is that regardless of differing opinions, we will all keep seeking God as we journey through this life. Ultimately, He is our leader and He is the one we must follow. May God bless us all as we continue to look to Him for guidance and direction.
— Melanie Bullock, ACU Alumna