from a 19-year-old friend of mine from Britain, no less. Not saying I agree, but it is a pretty well thought out perspective for a teenager: ----------------- Right, this is the way I see the election. I agree that Bush's social policies on abortion and marriage are more obviously Christian than Kerry's. But I see in Kerry a man who is more Christian in his compassion for the underdog. For me at least, this is more important. At the end of the day, God doesn't need the government to do his job for him. Issues like abortion and homosexuality are really difficult to understand for people who have never known Christ, because for them an answer that involves the all-encompassing love of God will never make sense. Whether or not a government legislates for or against these issues makes no difference to the minds of those who are yet to be saved - it's certainly not going to bring them closer to God. If we really want to see a reduction in abortion and immorality, ultimately the only way is for us to share the Gospel with them and for God himself to change their hearts and minds. Even the President of the United States cannot do that. On that level, in both your country and mine, I think the Church as a whole needs to change its approach: we need to transform our world from the bottom up, not the top down. Voting Kerry tomorrow changes nothing in the long run: our task as the servants of God will remain unchanged. What is more important, I think, is that our governments do what our church cannot and show to the unfortunate nationwide the compassion that Christ showed them. Considering Bush's obviously resolute faith, I have to say he has failed on this score. I'm not talking about handouts and dependency - I'm talking about a generosity of spirit and of opportunity. The obvious fact is that it's much easier for people like you and me to get on in life than it is for people born into poverty or to single parents. I think Jesus himself recognised this in his attitudes towards Mary Magdalene or to those who were ill that came to him. But I don't see any recognition of this from Bush. On the issue of health insurance alone, Kerry displays the more Christian attitude: I cannot believe that Jesus would have approved of a system where a child's health could be determined by her parent's ability to pay. I have read both Bush and Kerry's health care plans in detail - and similarly plans for education and social security funding - and on each issue it seems that Kerry's understanding of Christian compassion is deeper. Bush does not strike me as a man loving his neighbour as he does himself. Kerry perhaps might be. Obviously though, we vote as citizens as well as as Christians. This leaves the economy and national security. On the economy, Bush has failed to defend his record. The net job loss really is startling in a country whose economy has the potential yours has. As most commentators seem to agree, on this at least Kerry has shown every indication of being a better bet. Finally we have national security. On this, I think Bush has done a good job - or at least nearly. But there is a problem: before 9/11 it was tempting, even for non-Americans like me, to believe that your nation's military power was impregnable, that it didn't need anyone's help. As a very pro-American Briton, I very much hoped it was true, because obviously it's easier to manage security if you don't need to rely on anyone else. But everything since 9/11 suggests that the opposite is now true. Military might alone really isn't enough, much as we might wish it were. The combined might of the armies of America and Britain has been unable to subdue Iraq. We now know that the War on Terror needs a united front, not just more weapons. For me the very saddest failure of the Bush administration is this: on September 12 2001, the left-wing French newspaper 'Le Monde' had as its front page headline "We're All Americans Today"; today its editorials are full of anger and anti-American sentiments. What is so sad is that Bush has managed to alienate the support of most of the world in the war on terror. It is amazing that even in a country as contrary as France, and in a newspaper as radical as 'Le Monde', there was a massive outpouring of support and compassion for America. Where did it go? It would be nice, for my country as well as yours, if we could say we didn't need such support. But more than a thousand dead soliders in Iraq seem to suggest otherwise. The problem is that the disturbing anti-American ideas that are sadly so common around the world today are not really aimed at America itself. They are not a hatred of freedom, but a dislike of Bush and his disregard for the importance of global unity on terror. Bush has done a good job in securing the country - but I think he has gone as far as he can. What is needed now is a fresh start and a rebuilding of alliances. They may be inconvenient, but they are also essential. Only Kerry can provide this. For this reason, and because I believe that the mission of Christ will prevail regardless of who occupies the White House, and because I believe in the sincerity of his compassion for the unfortunate, for these reasons I am looking for a Kerry victory tomorrow. And I hope you will too. ---------------------- Compelling stuff. Don't think it'll switch my vote today, but it's pretty good.