I read an article the other day that referred to the most important issues for voters in the upcoming election.

The focus of the article was that studies show that it is a myth that the majority of Evangelical Christian voters place the abortion issue at the top of their list of most important issues. I don’t find this study to represent the conversations I have with people concerning the election, but I guess I’ll take their word for it. If you want to know how important of an issue I consider abortion to be (anyone dying to know?), let me explain it to you this way:

Imagine I was given a bag of 20 marbles to place in various buckets representing some of the hot political issues we will be debating for the next few months. I can choose how many marbles to drop into each bucket, determining how important I believe each issue to be.

I come to the first bucket. Healthcare. Important issue. I put three marbles in that one. The second bucket. Gun control. That one’s fairly important as well. I will put three more in there. Gay marriage and related issues. While the Bible declares homosexuality a sin and I don’t believe a biblical definition of marriage can apply to two people of the same sex, it isn’t a major issue for me. One marble. Same with the legalizing marijuana issue. I think smoking pot is stupid but it’s not getting many of my precious marbles. One marble. So far, that’s three plus three plus one plus one- eight marbles in the buckets, twelve left to give.

I find several buckets representing issues that I certainly hold convictions on, but that don’t move me to give up a marble. Animal testing. Raising the minimum wage. GMO labels. The privatization of prisons. Labor unions. Important issues, but not marble-worthy.

I turn my attention back to the buckets with issues I am more passionate about. Immigration policy. Three marbles. Climate change/environmental issues. My oldest son would be real upset with me if I didn’t give this issue some consideration, so it gets two marbles. I put one marble in the bucket for free college because I think that one’s so crazy it will never be implemented, but at the same time, lots of people are crazy too, so I better give at least one marble there.

Four marbles left. And still so many big issues. Tax issues. National security issues. Affordable medicine. Nuclear energy. Space. What to do, what to do? I see a bucket marked Religious Freedom and put my last four marbles in it. I decide to look over all the buckets again and move a few marbles from one bucket to another.

And then, I see one last bucket sitting all by itself in the corner of the room. On it is written, Abortion/Planned Parenthood Funding. Yikes. Immediately, I think of the millions of babies our country legally allows to be murdered each year in the name of a woman’s right over her own body and the body of her unborn baby. I think about how some of the money I pay back into the system, albeit a very small amount, is used to pay for these horrific procedures.

I look at the other buckets and ask myself, which of these issues is more important than the abortion issues? None. Which issues come close to being as big an issue as legally killing babies and asking me to pay for it? Again, my answer is none. So, I start pulling marbles out of their buckets, placing them instead in the abortion bucket. Soon, I realize that 20 marbles aren’t nearly enough when one single issue now has over half of the marbles in it. So much for that fun activity.

In real life, there are no marbles or buckets. We get one vote to cast to the candidate we believe best represents our own personal values and convictions on the issues we believe to be most important. It is not too early to begin thinking about the vote you will cast for president this November. Study the issues, weigh them all out.

For me, one issue is simply so egregious and God-defying that I have to assign it a greater weight than all the rest. Maybe you see it differently, and that’s fine, but don’t take it lightly. It doesn’t matter nearly as much as Jesus matters, but it does matter.

Mark Wingfield, pastor of First Baptist Church

in Grottoes, is a columnist for The News Virginian. His

column is published Sundays.

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