A sigh of relief, a prayer of hope

7 comments Written on November 7th, 2012     
Filed under: politics
The long and all-consuming presidential election is coming to an end as I write this and it appears that the president has been given four more years to do his job. My first reaction is a sigh of relief. I’m relieved that the campaign and election are over. It takes up far too much time, spends far too much money, polarizes far too many people, and makes far too many impossible promises. So yes, I am relieved that it’s finally over. But I have to be honest and say that I am also breathing a sigh of relief because of the results. I’m not an idealistic and naive fan-boy of the president or any other politician, but given the options in the election I am of the opinion that he was the better option. I don’t agree with many of his policies, but when I attempt to weigh the scales in light of my own convictions, my own beliefs and my own values I will support the likes of Barack Obama over Mitt Romney any day. Many people will disagree with that conclusion, but that’s why I only speak for myself.

As much as I think legalized abortion is a horrific tragedy that violates the sanctity of life, until I see a politician willing to put the full force of government behind not just changing laws, but actually addressing the social ills that lead so many women to the heartbreaking point of choosing to terminate their pregnancies and give up on their unborn children I refuse to let that single issue determine my vote. Why is it that every politician I’ve ever heard speak out against abortion refuses to address the deeper causes that lead to this tragic loss of life? And why is it that every politician willing to address those underlying issues seems to frame the legality of abortion question in terms of “choice” rather than “life”? I think both sides fail on this subject!

As for the economy, I’m no expert, but I do think Obama inherited the toughest job of any president in recent history when he took office in 2008 and in some ways it doesn’t surprise me that the recovery is going so slowly. But to hear Romney talk about going back to the policies of Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. and suggest that this is a new direction just doesn’t make any sense to me. Those were the years when the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. How can that be good for the country?

There are plenty of other issues, but in the end I find myself coming back to scripture. Over and over again God’s word reminds us of how much God hates it when people and especially nations fail to care for the weak, the needy, the sick and the foreigners in our midst. On every one of these fronts I find the policies and values of the right wing profoundly offensive. I’m not suggesting that those people aren’t compassionate or caring, but the policies put forth by Romney on these fronts don’t suggest that he really believes that a nation is responsible or will be held accountable for how it treats these people. Of course, I’m fully aware that there are just as many greedy, selfish and uncompassionate democrats as there are republicans, but at least the fundamental understanding of government as put forth by Obama suggests that he takes the scriptural directives mentioned above very seriously.

And I guess I can’t finish these thoughts without making some reference to the question of the personal faith of the candidates. Obama is a confessing follower of Jesus, and that is something to which I can relate very closely. Romney, on the other hand is a confessing Mormon. As much as I would like to say that the presidency is a political job and personal faith shouldn’t be a front burner issue, I have to be honest and confess that I have serious reservations about a Mormon president. I guess what bugs me more than anything else is the way he tries to hide his faith and somehow sell himself as being a Christian. He hardly ever uses the word Mormon in public and is constantly making comments about how we all worship the same God, are children of the same God etc. Frankly, I wish he would just come out and admit that he isn’t a Christian and believes that Christianity has it all wrong. I wish he would publicly highlight the fact that he believes that the Book of Mormon is the inspired word of God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. But instead he intentionally blurs the lines and tries to look, sound and act like any other Christian when he’s in the public spotlight. To me that is just plain dishonest. I would be more likely to support a Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu presidential candidate if I agreed with their political stance because at least I know they would own up to the fact that they are believers of a different religion.

But whether I’m relieved or not, I think the most important thing I can do now is to pray; to pray for the president, to pray for the government, to pray for the nation and especially to pray for those who are suffering, those who are needy, those who are unaccepted outsiders, those who are marginalized, those whose lives aren’t valued, and those who are disenfranchised. Jesus cares about them and reaches out to them. As one of his followers I hope and pray for the courage to do likewise.

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7 comments “A sigh of relief, a prayer of hope”

Amen Brother, thank you for sharing. It was great to know lot of things which I did not know. Will be praying

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Jim, thanks for this.

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In recent weeks the evangelical world has found itself reeling from cultural setbacks it once took for granted. The re-election of President Obama, state passage of “gay marriage” initiatives, the uninviting of Louie Gigglio to the Inauguration, and even last night’s Super Bowl have signaled to some that Christians and Christianity have lost their welcome place in the public square. For the first time, some evangelical conservatives feel like an oppressed minority in the country.

Romans 1:32

32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

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And as far as social justice: doesn’t it begin by letting babies live? Without life, can there be social justice? And without the family as God ordained (not homosexual marriage) God will not bless our nation. Spiritual is for eternity. You can have all the social justice you want, but it won’t result in lives in eternal life.
But I do care about the poor as well, but many didn’t have a chance to breathe their first breath of life.

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Actually Bobbi I think you are severely limiting and misrepresenting “evangelicals” when you suggest that they all react in the same way to things like a presidential election, other political initiatives and/or political developments, and certainly the Super Bowl. There are good and bad things happening in society all the time. Some of them are welcoming to and welcomed by those who follow Jesus. Others are not. Personally I find plenty of reason for hope in the midst of many difficult realities. One of the things I find encouraging is that more and more people are realizing the lie in the long held notion that faithful, biblical Christianity and extreme right-wing politics are a natural combination. At last we have come to expect and welcome a wide diversity of political opinion among the followers of Jesus. Now that is good news!

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“And as far as social justice: doesn’t it begin by letting babies live?”

If you are talking about the life of an individual, that might be a logical starting point. But if you are talking about the bigger picture of God’s creation and the ills of society that result from being fallen creatures it doesn’t sound like a starting point but rather just one important point of many. After all, why are there so many women who find themselves in that horrible position? Where are the fathers? Where are the families that support young mothers? Where is the medical care for poor women during their pregnancy? In today’s news I read of a nine year old girl who gave birth to a baby? Where is the church in a story like that? Perhaps the church is preoccupied with the great battle against abortion… Abortion is one horrible symptom of a great many social and moral ills that plague society. My point is that right wing extremists like the politicians you probably support refuse to ever let government do anything about addressing those greater social ills. They try to dumb down the incredibly complex issue and act as if one legal step (overturning RvW) would solve everything. It’s an incredibly shallow and insulting approach. On the other hand, the politicians who take the social ills seriously (and get labeled as “socialists” by the right wing extremists) refuse to recognize that abortion is a violation of the sanctity of life and act as if it were only about women’s right to choose… That is why I say that both sides fail on this issue.

As far as God blessing or not blessing the U.S. or any nation, scripture would suggest that it has far more to do with how a nation treats the foreigners, the immigrants, the poor, the sick, the needy and the disenfranchised in her midst than rules about marriage. You say, “You can have all the social justice you want, but it won’t result in lives in eternal life.” but that runs completely counter to what Jesus says. Look at how he defines his ministry and his kingdom when the disciples of John the Baptist inquire of him. Scripture drives home the point again and again; if we fail to practice social justice we forfeit our own eternal life. Read Mt. 25:31-46 if you don’t get it.

And for what it’s worth, while you spend so much energy worrying about the sexual immorality of homosexuals, the fact remains that heterosexuals commit far more sexual sin than do homosexuals. What percentage of rapes in the U.S. involve homosexuals? What percentage of premarital sex in the U.S. involves homosexuals? What percentage of extra-marital sex in the U.S. involves homosexuals? What percentage of pornography in the U.S. is homosexual? Probably the only area where homosexuals commit as much or more sexual sin than heterosexuals is in cases of Christian clergy who sexually abuse children! We probably need to clean up our own house before worrying too much about others.

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The movie “October Baby” is streaming on Netflix. I highly recommend that everyone see it as it is very well done.

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