Two things might help you read this post more easily. First, know that I did not vote for Obama but I have respect for him. Second, I consider myself to be a politically moderate person, but I am likely perceived as a conservative by most. Now you don’t have to wonder or speculate.
Let Us Raise Evangelical Awareness
Today, our President Barack Hussein Obama II, was sworn in for his second presidential term. Like all American Presidents before him, Obama is a theist and is also a self-professing Christian. Today on Facebook, I witnessed a litany of comments bemoaning our “secular” President for his “lack of faith”. I have grown somewhat accustom of this type of speech over the last four years and have died many times on the hill trying to persuade friends that Obama is actually a professing Christian and not Muslim or atheist. Obama was a member of the same church, Trinity United Church of Christ, for 16 years under Pastor Jeremiah Wright. If you have been a Christian of any length of time, you realize that being a member of the same church for 16 years is no small achievement. It doesn’t mean your “saved” but I do not know any atheist or Muslim who could sit under Jeremiah Wright for 16 years.
There has been one common denominator among my friends who doubt, or outright reject, the Christian faith of our President. That has been an affiliation with evangelicalism. I grew up in an evangelical home, was raised in (mainly) evangelical churches, went to an evangelical school, work for an evangelical school, and currently attend and serve at an evangelical church. So, this is my problem too. I want Evangelicals to be known as Christians who are thoughtful. When we speak about the President in a way that demeans his faith because he does not affirm evangelicalism, we reflect very poorly upon Christ. We can disagree with his policies, be angered over his party’s stance on abortion, desire a different economic strategy than the one he offers, but it looks foolish and hateful when we belittle his faith in Christ publically or privately. Evangelicals (myself included) need to be cautious not to discount a person’s faith because they do not hold to evangelicalism.
A Twisted View of the Constitution
Another trait I see in my social surroundings is a very confused approach to the Constitution. If you have politically conservative friends, you might see endless emails or Facebook posts concerning the right to religious freedom in this country. There are Christian websites dedicated to keeping constituents apprised of the latest news concerning any breach in religious freedom, especially Christian religious freedom. We might go to church and hear conversations about how Christianity does not have a platform in today’s society and our rights are being overlooked for favored interest groups in Washington. On the other side of the spectrum, I have friends who are atheist who similarly wish to censor the religious and demand the removal of public officials upon ground that they are religious. These friends believe that making decisions based upon religious convictions is not appropriate for a secular public office.
Both views depict a confused and murky vision of our Constitution. The Constitution upholds each individual’s right, including those individuals selected to be representatives within our republic, to vote, act, organize and promote causes that are based upon personal convictions. If we begin (we already have) to undermine each other’s right to act in accordance with personal convictions, we have truly lost sight of what freedom is. At the root of our pursuit of liberty and happiness is our right to act as we believe we ought to, to bring about what we believe is good and to do so within the system of our republic.
When we fight for Constitutional Rights, we must fight for all of them. We must fight for the right to have an Atheist President. We must fight to preserve the right to have a Muslim President. This sounds strange, only because it has not happened yet. It also will sound strange if you hear me saying lets vote for an Atheist President because that is not what I am saying and this is where we need to be clear. I am saying we must protect the RIGHTS of ALL citizens for our republic to be great. I desire to continue in freely exercising my right to promote Christian candidates for public offices, so it is also in my best interest to help support the same Constitutional RIGHT of my atheist friends.
What to do About All This
Get off Facebook. Don’t send another political tweet. Let your next political action not be words (the irony strikes me as I write this). Many conservatives still lament Obama’s reelection. If you are one of them, what do you intend to do in the next four years to ensure your candidate’s success? Will you just post Facebook memes until you are blue in the face? Or will you find out what your party is doing to prepare for the next election and get involved?
As for the spiritual life of the President, you can pray for him. You can make a concerted, family effort to seek God in prayer on his behalf. Start your prayer by imagining the weight of nation on your shoulders. You can act. You can send letters and sign petitions and notify representatives when you are disgruntled about his policies, explaining why you don’t believe such policies are compatible with the Christian worldview. Do you think that is pointless? Is it as pointless as that sarcastic post or comment you just made? Maybe you aren’t posting ludicrous falsehoods by the droves but you haven’t acted in a proactive way to promote your politics. I encourage you to enjoy one of the best freedoms we have in this country. Go act out your true beliefs.