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Electing Not to Vote: The Ethics of Lauren Winner’s Book Review

A recent issue of Sojourners Magazine features a book review by Lauren Winner (of Real Sex fame) on Electing Not to Vote, one of the latest releases from Cascade Books. This book consists of nine essays by Christians from a wide spectrum of confessional backgrounds, all of whom offer theological and biblical arguments for refraining from voting as an act of theopolitical witness. The articles are quite diverse, some taking their cue from John Howard Yoder, some from Karl Barth, while others reflect on the resources of their ecclesial traditions, be they Catholic or Pentecostal.

All of this can be ascertained by perusing the contents page of the book. And it seems Winner has done little more than this to inform her “review.” What passes for book reviews in Sojourners these days is quite pathetic if Winner’s attempt at engaging this book is typical of their publishing quality. It engages with  none of the book’s essays with any sort of concreteness, opting instead to broadly characterize the perspectives therein and then move on to pontificate about why she thinks the book is wrong. What we have here is not, in fact, a book review at all. It is a truncated, rather belabored protest against what Lauren Winner thought the book was about. As such it represents the epitome of unethical book reviewing. Regardless of what one thinks about the theopolitics inherent in a call to Christians not to vote, certainly it is not too much to ask that our arguments and counter-arguments be grounded in an actual engagement between competing claims and perspectives. Winner’s review offers a few tired platitudes and engages in some clumsy sloganeering, but in the process does little more than prove that she simply didn’t read the book. I mean, come on. The only specific chapter in the book that she even mentions at all is the first chapter!

Virtually all the objections to the idea of not voting that Winner raises are dealt with thoroughly in Nekeisha Alexis-Baker’s chapter, “Freedom of Voice”, to say nothing of all the other chapters. If she had bothered to read the book, she could have at least crafted some legitimate arguments against it rather than simply spouted off a few classic slogans about why Christians should do their voting duty.

First, Winner objects to the book’s claim that voting is something of a sacred rite in the American imperium; the problem is really just “what we expect when we vote.” The sacral character of voting, she claims is simply a matter of our subjective feelings about what we are doing when we vote. However, this is to simply ignore the material claim of many chapters in the book which is precisely that the sacral character of voting is inscribed in the very act itself. Perhaps this really just indicates a difference in sacramental theology between Winner and the contributors to the book. For her, the reality of one’s acts in the political realm really lies in the numinous realm of one’s subjective intentions, whereas for the contributors to the book it is the acts themselves that matter; our action inevitably participates in some sort of sacral economy, the question is which one we are willing to devote ourselves to. 

Secondly, Winner objects to the notion that we should abstain from voting because the future actions of a president are immoral. Rather, she makes the bizarre argument, that since we don’t know for sure what people will do, we should just go ahead and vote. “We should vote because we cannot say, with certainty, that the future practices of the president will be those we cannot condone.” This is, perhaps, one of the most insanely stupid arguments that I have ever heard. We should just go ahead and haphazardly vote because, after all, we really don’t know for sure? When John McCain makes clear that he will keep us bogged down in the Iraq war for years to come and Barack Obama makes clear that he is a voracious supporter of abortion on demand, how can we really say that our act of casting in our lot with one of them does not morally implicate us in these actions? And if it does, how can we participate in it, regardless of whatever good things might come from their presidency?

Thirdly, Winner asserts that we should vote on the basis of the fact that countless residents of the United States are disenfranchised from the voting process. She asks, “is the best form of solidarity with the disenfranchised to sit the election out? Or is it to ask your nanny (who cannot vote, because she is not a citizen) and the janitor who empties your office trash can (who cannot vote because he was incarcerated) who they would vote for, and then cast a vote on their behalf?” Now here is a rather odd argument as well. Ultimately, it seems, for Winner, that our reason for voting should be out of pity for those outside the system; we should vote on the behalf of those from the lower sectors of society. We, the privileged, franchised few, should make sure to exercise our rights because, after all, not everyone has  them. We must nobly, and honorably discharge our duties because the rights we have are not shared by all. How wonderfully paternalistic! The aristocrat should only more strongly embrace his position in the aristocracy, because after all, not everyone is as well off as he, and ostensibly by embracing his position within the aristocracy he could ‘do some good’ for the huddled, unwashed masses. Winner turns out, oddly enough to be quite patriarchal at the end of the day. We should embrace our middle class privilege in order to be benevolent benefactors to the underclass. That’s a bit too Victorian for my taste.

Winner closes her “review” with the claim that, “especially in a world where love of neighbor is tied to citizenship, not voting may be equally seen as a kind of quietism—quietism that a Christian who must be active in the world cannot afford.” If anything this sentence only further shows the lackadaisicalness of Winner’s attempt to critique a book she has not read. Packed into this statement are so many of the notions that the book critiques. Is is the case that Christian duty of love of neighbor is somehow mediated by the apparatus of the nation-state? Winner, wittingly or not, is here committing the worst of theopolitical errors: falling into the belief that ultimately Christian political action and witness must derive its intelligibility from the nation-state. This is precisely the sort of thinking that the book calls into question throughout its pages. But, I suppose for Winner to have known that, or objected to it in a convincing way she would have had to read the book. . . .

Edited to add: The reader should note that I am employed by Wipf and Stock Publishers, and that the opinions I express are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect that of anyone else affiliated with Wipf and Stock.

40 Comments

  1. You’re right that advocation is a poor understanding of solidarity. Instead of being for, we should be with. Such a shift is very important, ultimately empowering the disenfranchised to raise their own voices and make choices (rather than by proxy). Solidarity shouldn’t be understood as synonymous with representative government.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 9:21 am | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    Exactly. The ironic thing is that Winner is accusing the people in this book of quietism while nearly all of them (I don’t know for sure about all the contributors) are intimately involved in the sort of solidarity with that you describe.

    Who is really withdrawing here?

    But I suppose I should note my own bias here, as I work for Wipf and Stock and know some of the contributors personally.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  3. Thanks for this review of a review. Sojourners is becoming more and more irrelevant to church life and Christian faith. Might as well read Time Magazine.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  4. Eric Simmons wrote:

    Thanks. Your post provides a concrete example of why I no longer subscribe to Sojourners.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  5. reibwo wrote:

    Perhaps offer your own (presumably better) review instead? I looked, but did not find it on your blog. Please point me to it.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 11:10 am | Permalink
  6. Halden wrote:

    I may write one, but I want to take the time to do it well and thoroughly. I wouldn’t want it to be a specimen like Winners!

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  7. Great post. Electing Not To Vote is an important book, and Nekeisha’s essay is among the best.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  8. All I can do is echo points already made. However one approaches the question of voting or not voting the said review indicates the emerging and manifold failings that Sojourners is giving into more and more. Well said Halden.

    Peace

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  9. david caritas wrote:

    Whatever the merits of Winner’s review, she is at least not guilty of intemperate language and ad hominem attacks. She treated the authors of the book like reasonable adult Christians–with whom she disagrees. That is sadly lacking in this post and the follow-up comments. If Christians cannot have a civil debate with each other, then how can they expect a secular audience to listen and treat them responsibly? Does it help the Christian blogosphere to imitate the negligence and careless cruelty of the secular world?

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  10. Halden wrote:

    David, ad hominem? Seriously? I’ve re-read the post and I never made any personal attacks on Winner. All of my remarks were directed to the positions she put forth and implied in the post. As such they can be contested, but to try to label them as ad hominems is not only just incorrect, it is a clear attempt to avoid having to make and actutal argument. I find some of her work very stimulating. But this is a particularly poor piece, and shouldn’t be given a pass for the sake of nicety. The authors of the book deserved a legitimate review that engaged with the book’s contents.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  11. david caritas wrote:

    You have accused her of being unethical. You have accused her of not reading the book. You have referred to “bizarre arguments” and, above all, “insanely stupid” arguments. This is not language I consider temperate or judicious. And when my college students use such language in discussion groups, in comments, or in their own writing they inspire anger and resentfulness without contributing one ounce of reason or reflection to the debate.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
  12. Christian wrote:

    David,

    In your estimation, is it ever appropriate to label an argument as bizarre or insanely stupid? Do you object to those descriptions in general or are you upset because you do not feel they fairly describe Winner’s review.

    Also, if it is clear that someone has not read a book they are reviewing, is it not fair game to name that, and perhaps even to claim that such behavior is unethical?

    Is there ever a time to be pugnacious? Or must we always be nice if we’re to be taken seriously?

    Perhaps a more nuanced and judicious reading of Halden’s work would help people take your appeal more seriously.

    Although, I’ll admit that Halden does have a knack for rhetorical flair.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
  13. Halden wrote:

    David, an ad hominem is a personal attack designed to discredit an argument. For example, if I were to say to you, “Oh yeah, well people that use pseudonyms are always morons!” that would be an ad hominem. Sure, I’ve accused her of stuff, but that is altogether different from an ad hominem. I’ve yet to be given any material objections to any of the arguments I’ve made other than that to you it doesn’t seem “nice.”

    There have been plenty of book reviews written on the basis of a quick skim, most often with edited volumes. They’re not hard to recognize and this is one of the most obvious. Calling a book review unethical in which the author clearly has not read the book they are reviewing is altogether appropriate. It would in fact be more unethical if it turned out that she had carefully read the book. Then she would be intentionally misrepresenting it rather than simply making ignorant assumptions about its contents. If anything, I have been generous as I assume that Winner would not be intentionally duplicitous.

    And, as seen in the context of the assertion I characterize as bizzare and stupid, I think this is appropriate as well. This doesn’t mean I think Winner is stupid, obviously she is not. We all do sloppy work sometimes, and that’s what this is. Letting it pass would be far more of a disservice than just making sure to be all prim and proper for the sake of not ruffling some people’s sensibilities.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 1:14 pm | Permalink
  14. david caritas wrote:

    Language like “insanely stupid” is no demonstration of “rhetorical flair,” and in fact does nothing to characterize an argument at all. Actually, I am not sure that the phrase can be said to mean anything, now that I think through it. But it is inflammatory enough that it ought not to be wasted on book reviews in Sojourners, especially when the argument in question actually makes some sense–Halden just drops Winner’s point, leaving the mean-spirited characterization to do the work of responding.

    If you must use such language, save it for bigger and worse things–for example, invading Iraq to punish Saddam Hussein for 9/11 when he had nothing to do with the event. Or killing large numbers of Iraqi civilians in order to bring them democracy. Or denying that “waterboarding” is torture. At least there the events call for a vehement response. Of course, another (possibly more effective) way to respond to such events would be to vote against them, even if we have to hold our noses while doing so.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink
  15. Halden wrote:

    And so now we come to the root of it, don’t we David? You, like Winner don’t like what you think the book is about, having not read it, and so now you are whining about strong language being used to characterize shoddy work you happen to agree with.

    If you want to substitute that for actual argumentation, then I guess that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t lend credibility to Winner’s position or yours.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  16. Marvin wrote:

    Neither have I read the book, or the book review, but if the issue is :

    “When John McCain makes clear that he will keep us bogged down in the Iraq war for years to come and Barack Obama makes clear that he is a voracious supporter of abortion on demand, how can we really say that our act of casting in our lot with one of them does not morally implicate us in these actions? And if it does, how can we participate in it, regardless of whatever good things might come from their presidency?”

    then I’m wondering what actions at all we might be permitted to engage in. Every purchase implicates us in the sin of the corporation that creates the products we buy. Every kiss implicates us in the sins of the person we’re dating. And so on.

    There’s no way to live in this world and not get your hands dirty.

    Now obviously if someone is called to abstain from voting as a prophetic witness, then there’s no way one can say No to God’s call, but for most people, voting is not a religious act. We use reason and not revelation to guide us in the voting booth, choosing the candidate that seems to be marginally better-equiped to govern. If it genuinely seems like there’s not a dime’s bit of difference, then we abstain, but again, not because to vote would be a sin, but because to vote would be less than prudent.

    But those are truly rare occasions. Sin boldly and go vote.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
  17. david caritas wrote:

    We do come to the root of it, in fact, which is that you characterize other people’s ideas in unfortunate ways–why is objecting to your use of language “whining?” How is it that you think disagreeing with your intemperance is simply a mask for something else? I would point out that in mentioning the disagreement, the only responses you make are about my “whining” or Winner’s “shoddy work.” This attempted displacement is not what i would call “rhetorical flair,” nor is it very subtle–it resembles very much the tactics of cable talk shows. Dismissiveness as a substitute for argument may fill blog space, but it moves nothing forward. The final effect of your column is to fill the intellectual vacuum with self-righteous sputtering about the unworthiness of others.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
  18. reibwo wrote:

    “If anything, I have been generous as I assume that Winner would not be intentionally duplicitous.”

    She would intentionally, and therefore without integrity, publish a book review on a book she has not read; but would have enough integrity not to intentionally misrepresent the book she had–in your mind at least? These are the only two possible choices? And this is being generous?

    No, Halden, I agree with most of what David has said here.

    This sort of response is sharp accusation wrapped in hyperbole, at best, aimed at someone’s personal integrity in order to discredit what they have said. This is pretty close to the definition of ad hominem (Dictionary.com “2. attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.”) I’ll grant that you do interact with her arguments, but the personal attack is still there.

    Even if she came back at you and admitted she wrote the review without reading the book–you are in the wrong here.

    It is still a personal attack to discredit an argument. If you wanted to make the point, you should have left it at that–and accused her of not having read the book. It is a valid point. She could have answered you yes or no–and that would settle the matter.

    There was nothing, in my opinion, ‘generous’ about your attack on her and her review.

    Unless you have a persuasive response to this, you lose on reader. I don’t need to read this sort of writing. It adds nothing to my life.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 2:18 pm | Permalink
  19. Halden wrote:

    I characterize them according to their content, David. Given that you have made no arguments, only lodged complaints about my characterizations, whining seems like an apt description. I have nothing real in terms of argument from you to respond to, so what am I left to do but point out what you are actually doing in your attempt to make this a conversation about my rhetoric rather than about Winner’s review? It is you, not I who is attempting rather unsubtly to subvert this conversation and make about about how I’m mean rather than the real issue, which is the review itself.

    And how are you doing anything differently in your likening me to a cable talk show or calling me self-righteous? It is you, sir not I who seems to exult in ad hominems.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  20. Considering the sacred status most give to voting, it is odd that most folks don’t consider it a religious act. I suppose that is part of the reason for this book. Of course voting is religious. How we engage in political realities cannot be separated from spirituality.

    I’ll admit that I haven’t read this book, but I know, at some level, four of the contributors. I feel like I know their positions enough to be quite confident that they (at least the four I know) have absolutely zero illusion that non-voting is a way to keep one’s hands dirty.

    It seems obvious to me (and many others) that voting has profoundly captivated our political imaginations that we are in face LESS likely to engage the world. When people believe their vote will make a positive difference in the world, they will use their vote. And because our society increasingly puts priority on the “big” votes, we increasingly give our attention to these big votes. As a result, we have a large number of Christians who put their confidence in big votes to bring the change they want to see in the world.

    Nonvoting, by itself, is nothing. But as a part of a larger ethic, it can be very prophetic. When large numbers of people refuse to accept the system as-is and, instead, resist the system nonviolently as they imaginatively build another way, people will pay attention…and be transformed.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  21. Wow, while I wrote my comment, several other comments popped up.

    Halden…you’re brilliant. And I love reading the site. But I tend to agree with reibwo. In this case you came on a little too strong when you didn’t need to, and it does certainly seem like you were enjoying doing so. My perception could be wrong, but that is how, at face value, it came across. I say this as someone HIGHLY sympathetic to the point you are making and as someone frustrated with how Ms. Winner approached the book.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  22. Halden wrote:

    “It is still a personal attack to discredit an argument”

    What? Since when? Some arguments need to be discredited, dude. This was one of them. That has nothing to do with personal attacks, it is an attack on a particular instance of unethical writing. I do not assume that this one instance is all-determinative of Winner or her work, in fact I know that it is not, as I have read her work and enjoyed it. That, however, does not excuse this review. Its wrong to mischaracterize a book’s contents in a way that subverts it. That’s called propaganda.

    What is uncharitable is not offering strong objections to the work of another. What is uncharitable is attempting to malign the work of others without engaging it. I gave Winner’s review far more attention and engagement that she gave the book she was reviewing. I think that should be born in mind.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  23. Halden wrote:

    Mark, thanks for the comments. I think you nail the issue of imagination and how it relates to voting and actual engagement with issues of justice in the world.

    If I come off too strong, I only hope that my point has still been made. I certainly don’t enjoy taking Winner to task on this. Perhaps I would if she was a Richard Neuhaus or Michael Novak. But the fact is I agree with much of what she has written, particularly about romance and sex. If anything I am disappointed, rather than exhilarated.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 2:31 pm | Permalink
  24. Nathan Smith wrote:

    On temperate and judicious language:

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.

    You snakes! You brood of vipers!”

    Now that is rhetorical flair.

    Halden, are you voting this year? I think I read in an earlier post that you skipped 2006. I myself have been considering spoiling my vote. The only other time I have done that was on the Gay Marriage measure in 2004.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
  25. Dave wrote:

    Halden or others,

    Do you have any links to online resources regarding the topic of electing not to vote (from a theopolitical perspective, presumably).

    I’ve been weighing the issue back and forth in my mind for several months. Early on I was engaged in the Obama campaign but but had quite a few things happen to me (none of which were necessarily related to Mr. Obama or his politics) that have given me cause to reconsider, to the point where I am pretty sure I won’t be voting in the fall, but would like to read some stuff and ponder further.

    I would normally want to simply read the book (and will do so eventually), but am currently caught up between preparing myself to move to England for four months and continuing the large pre-reading lists for my tutorials that start in October.

    So if you (or anybody) has an online resource available, I would appreciate it.

    Also, regarding Sojo… I’ve browsed several magazine and read half of God’s Politics, but have never really felt totally compelled by the magazine/Wallis. No doubt they have done much work in their existence that is commendable, but it seems that recent works are simply thinly veiled opposites of the religious right. And God’s Politics was almost offensively redundant. I even agreed with most of what Wallis was saying, but the manner and style which it was presented rendered it pretty much unreadable to me.

    I guess a more simple way to put it was that I found out about Sojo/etc but then engaged Hauerwas soon afterwards for the first time, and from there, well, things changed.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 12:30 am | Permalink
  26. Chris Smith wrote:

    Thanks, Halden… well said!!!

    Recently in THE ENGLEWOOD REVIEW OF BOOKS, we ran a review of ELECTING NOT TO VOTE by a reviewer who … GASP!… actually read and reflected on the whole book:
    http://www.englewoodreview.org/?p=53

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 3:46 am | Permalink
  27. Marvin wrote:

    Most people, in fact, don’t vote. For instance, in the Democratic Primary in North Carolina, barely 40% of those registered went to the polls. Quite low considering the enormous interest in the race.

    So if voting is the sacrament of our body politic, what gives?

    And what distinguishes principled non-voting as an act of Christian social witness from plain old apathy? Not the non-act itself, but “our subjective feelings” about the (non)action. So I don’t think that Winner’s first objection has been overturned.

    Prophetic signs are never without cost. A better sign might be to not pay the tax on your telephone bill, which was instituted to help fund World War I. Then you’d at least risk the IRS coming after you, or losing that lovely Bluetooth out of your ear.

    Not voting costs nothing–which casts doubt on whether or not it’s truly a prophetic act. More likely, it’s the cynical hrumphing of a generation that can neither dance when the flute is played nor weep when the mourners gather (Luke 7:32).

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 7:21 am | Permalink
  28. John R wrote:

    Halden,

    Even if you don’t do a full review I’d be interested in a few brief comments on whether this book is worth reading and/or recommending.

    Thanks for all you do. It’s worth it, and you’re good at it.

    Peace.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 7:39 am | Permalink
  29. Hill wrote:

    Voting is a sacrament like Confession, but what Marvin seems to be describing is the analog of a lapsed (or bad) Catholic.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 8:23 am | Permalink
  30. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Whatever you do Halden, don’t stop calling a spade a spade. I’m sick and tired of “nice” reviewers.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 8:53 am | Permalink
  31. An Anxious Anglican wrote:

    I dislike bad book reviews as much as the next bibliophile, Halden, but, if your assault was truly not an ad hominem of some sort, why did you post a picture of Lauren Winner that (one could say) does not necessarily cast her in the most serious light? Is your critique somehow about the aesthetics of book reviewers themselves? I think that what bothers some of the previous posters (and me) is that you belittle and revile Winner to an extent that is unnecessary to make your points, thereby diminishing your own (potentially valid) points.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 9:05 am | Permalink
  32. What do you say if someone doesn’t vote because they honestly feel that they are uninformed, don’t have the time or interest to “get up” with all of the issues and candidates, and choose to not allow their “uninformed” vote to “cancel out” the vote of someone who really takes the political process seriously? Would any one consider this a valid and defensible reason for not voting? I have heard it voiced before and I don’t completely reject the philosophy.

    I remember reading in Garf’s biography of Kierkegaard the philosopher remarking in his journals (in so many words) that essentially democracy is an evil because it gives every Tom, Dick and Harry an equal voice when really, not every one is prepared to decide these weighty issues. Plato’s Republic? I don’t know but I think Kierkegaard has a point. No?

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 9:52 am | Permalink
  33. dan wrote:

    Halden,

    I’d say stick to your guns on this one. Not surprisingly, those who appear to agree with Winner on voting, also appear to desire bleached out public discourse. The two go hand in hand, methinks.

    Also, if you have an extra copy of that book kicking around at Wipf and Stock, I’d be happy to write a review!

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 9:54 am | Permalink
  34. dcrowe wrote:

    Wow, there’s a lot of consternation here.

    A couple of points:

    Maybe the use of the word “stupid” was ill-advised.

    But, mostly I agree with the post. I feel Halden’s strong reaction is justified and possible necessary to punch through the convoluted arguments and Jedi mind-tricks involved in this kind of pseudo-dismissal offered by the reviewer of a very serious argument. I agree with Halden’s assesment that she probably hasn’t read the book and is arguing with what she thinks the authors meant. It reminds me a lot of Tolstoy’s account of his bad reviewers from church leaders that assured readers that they could debunk Tolstoy’s arguments but that space just doesn’t permit.

    The discussion has drifted into whether or not Halden’s post was framed in a “Christian” way, but I’d rather hear more about what people think about Winner’s arguments and those of the authors. This is something I wrestle with as a firm believer that Christ meant what he said about violence and how that relates to the issue of voting.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  35. Chris wrote:

    On the topic of the plight of book reviewing, see this fine review in TNR (in fact, they have a whole issue on this subject that’s well worth the read — I think it was December 2007).

    I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if she hadn’t read the book.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 10:56 am | Permalink
  36. Dave Belcher wrote:

    Halden (and others who are interested),

    I have no desire to insinuate myself in this particular conversation AT ALL…just wanted to be clear about that…I just don’t have a dog in this race about Winners’ article — and that was all I read this to be about.

    But, I wrote a post reflecting on the nature of “democracy” and “the vote” some time ago that might be pertinent:

    http://laperruque.blogspot.com/2008/01/question-of-democracy-and-vote.html

    For a hint of what I might think about “Christianity” and “the vote,” see at the bottom of the post in the “UPDATE” point 2.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  37. Jon wrote:

    Interesting that the book has received only one review on Amazon.com . . .

    http://www.amazon.com/Electing-Not-Vote-Christian-Reflections/dp/1556352271/ref=tag_stc_cust_edpp_ttl

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
  38. Randall Balmer wrote:

    Dear Mr. (or Ms.) Halden:

    I believe your charge of an ethical lapse is utterly misplaced. You elected (pun intended) to disclose that you were an employee of Wipf and Stock, which I gather is the publisher of the book in question, only after slinging gratuitous charges in the direction of Lauren Winner — and your note about your connection to the publisher was added (if I understand the meaning of the phrase “Edited to add”) after the original was posted.

    It seems to me that a more ethical respondent would have disclosed that connection at the outset of her or his post so that the reader would recognize that this may not be a disinterested party.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 7:24 am | Permalink
  39. Halden wrote:

    Prof. Balmer, thank you for the comment. Certainly a more conscientious respondent would have done so, but alas my failure to do so was, I must admit simply based on neglect, rather than forethought. After posting it, the concerns came to mind so I added it in. Embarrassing, perhaps, but not unethical I hope.

    In my defense, I would say that I have never made a secret of my employment on this blog, having mentioned it in many posts prior to this one, But you’re right, I should have made sure to mention it specifically beforehand for this particular post.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 8:25 am | Permalink
  40. N. Dan Smith wrote:

    I have finished my series of interactions with Electing Not to Vote:

    http://blog.ndansmith.net/2008/10/14/electing-not-to-vote/

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

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  1. Reviews « Return Good for Evil on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    [...] Halden over at Inhabitatio Dei wrote an interesting post regarding Christianity and the “sacrament” of voting. I wrestle with this question [...]

  2. Christians and voting, revisited « A Thinking Reed on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    [...] 20, 2008 by Lee This post from “Inhabitatio Dei” reminds me that I engaged in a fair amount of hand-wringing on [...]

  3. Endorsements « Return Good for Evil on Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 7:47 am

    [...] as much for my preferred candidate as a person, rather than as a larger than life public persona? Halden over at Inhabitatio Dei wrote a book review review that started a conversation about these issues, [...]

  4. Fewer Broken Pieces » Blog Archive » Perked Ears on Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 9:25 am

    [...] at Inhabitatio Dei, Halden and others struggle with the ethics of critical discourse in the Church.  This is probably a great discussion on what it means to speak the truth in [...]

  5. On voting on Monday, August 25, 2008 at 7:58 am

    [...] over recent week over Christianity and the politics of not voting. Halden started this off with a post on a review in Sojourners of the book Electing Not to [...]

  6. Speaking the Truth in Love « Kaiblogy on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 10:08 am

    [...] Halden Doerge about Lauren Winner’s book Electing not to Vote at the following link is ‘speaking the truth in love‘? I [...]

  7. Christianity and Politics « Jazimomo’s Weblog on Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 12:11 am

    [...] of Canadian and international students who do not have the option of voting. Greatly indebted to Halden’s posts about this particular issue, specifically the ones discussing the book,  Electing Not to Vote, [...]

  8. Electing for Change : Jesus Manifesto on Monday, November 3, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    [...] If you’re interested in a rather scathing response to Ms. Winner’s review, check out what Halden has to say here.  [...]

  9. Thom Stark » Subverting the Voting Rite on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    [...] of the vote is only subjective. It is only sacral if the voter treats it as such. Halden Doerge (here and here) attacked her for not taking seriously the argument made in Electing Not To Vote that the [...]

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