Monday, November 10, 2008

The King Is Dead, Long Live the King: Barack Obama Wins the Presidency

Well, now that it has sunk in that Obama has indeed become the next president of the United States of America, let's take stock of what we have:

First the pros: We have the first black president. This is no small matter. We have proven that our populace (finally) believes there is no inherent difference between men, regardless of color. This should have happened earlier (and under different circumstances).

Barack Obama is a man of causes: he is a man who will likely be committed to bettering the ecological health of the country and the planet. He says he is committed to bettering the lives of the repressed and the unprivileged. His involvement in community organizing will likely make him adept at bringing people together for causes. He will likely not bow to pressure from the big business interest groups.

He is also a far better public speaker than George Bush (although I don't put nearly as much value on that as some). The reality is we live in an age of recordings, video clips, and sound bites. Gaffs and foibles will be attacked mercilessly.

The cons: Barack Obama is leftist. He is committed to the redistribution of wealth and the heavy taxation of the rich. While those of us who are not rich will likely not feel a lot of difference, this process will make it harder for business to operate as it should and may result in fewer good jobs in the future.

His commitments to bettering humanity are through philosophies and causes that are not at all based on Scripture, thus they are necessarily humanistic. Meaning (and he has stated as much in his stump speeches) that he is seeking to create a utopia without God. This mindset has been at the very core of every communist government. He is, at least, not a believer in Jesus Christ, and, at worst, an 'antichrist.'* Time will tell how vehemently he will pursue an anti-Christian agenda.

As a black president in a divided country that is committed to ideas of 'diversity',** his race may become a polarizing factor. Those who disagree with his ideas may be labeled 'racist' by his supporters. His victory on the Democratic ticket further strengthens the false perception of the Democratic Party being the party for 'minorities.' This, too, will polarize people.

So, with stock taken, we can see that we are heading down an uncharted and difficult road, and the future of our nation is unclear. How unified or divided our nation becomes will largely depend on how President Obama will use his office. If he becomes more centrist and reaches out to both Democrats and Republicans, working with those more conservative than himself, things may go well, and our nation may even become a better place (although still not a utopia). If he remains on the far left and uses a largely liberal congress and judiciary to further goals antagonistic toward conservatives and Christians, our nation could become even more divided, both racially and religiously.

This is a call to all Christians to pray for George Bush to reverse some of his more detrimental contributions to our economy and freedoms (bailouts, homeland security, wiretaps, etc.), and for an amicable hand-off of presidential power. Let us also pray for Barack Obama, that he will use wisdom, govern well, and not take part in tyranny. Let us pray for God's restraining grace in our upcoming political situation and pray for God to use the largely liberal government to further his ends, despite themselves.

I also encourage dialogue between people of various ethnic descent. Let's talk about this election and compare notes. Let's do so cautiously so as not to offend, but let's hear what other people who have different perspectives have to say. I certainly would like to hear from any readers of different ethnic or political backgrounds about what they think of this post and the election.

* I should make the distinction here between an antichrist and the Antichrist - Any who work toward a humanistic goal and against the gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of claims, supposed affiliation, and/or party is someone operating out of a "spirit" or direction of anti-Christ; that is, they are opposed to Christ's rule. This does not mean that I think this man is the biblical, singular, Antichrist of the book of Revelation. Nor do I think he is completely evil.

** Please see my earlier post: "A.B. Caneday's Attack on Multiculturalism," and his paper on the topic to understand the difficulties that come along with a commitment to 'diversity.'


blbartlett said...

A godless utopia?

If you mean that he is explicitly desirous of a perfect world with no Christianity in it, that is patently false. He clearly understands himself to be a Christian, is very respectful of various faiths and understandings of Scripture, and has made it clear that faith should be allowed to inform your politics, though he would draw the line at enforcement of religious morality outside of common law.

If you simply mean that he wants to create the best possible political environment using a non-Christian ideology, then you are correct. However, the exact same thing would be true for John McCain. McCain is clearly even less serious and committed in his "faith" than Obama, and has never once shown a propensity to allow Christian ethics to inform his political perspectives on anything other than abortion (a big issue, to be sure, but not the only issue).

Simply put, I think you may be overstating for the sake of emphasis, but in so doing you lose the nuance of truth and balance.

Steven Douglas said...

I did not mean that he desires a world "without Christianity in it." What I mean is that his concept of Christianity is wholly flawed. He is "respectful" of various understandings of Scripture, but uses Scripture wrongly when he has used it at all. I would like some proof from you (or any who would provide it) that he believes faith should be allowed to inform one's politics. All I have seen from him has seemed to indicate the opposite.

You said "he wants to create the best possible political environment using a non-Christian ideology." You are absolutely correct. I would say that it is largely an anti-Christian ideology. The laws and philosophies he promotes are diametrically opposed to biblical teachings.

As far as McCain is concerned, while I voted for him, I don't think he is much better. He is not a man of faith, either. He is at least as morally Liberal as Obama. The difference is, his philosophies concerning support for morality and capitalism are on the other end of the spectrum from Obama. Of course, he did get caught up in this whole bail-out scheme.

I expect our politicians to be largely godless, but I also vote for those who are less likely to trample the rights of the people to exercise their faith, and who are less likely to try to build a world through a godless viewpoint.

Also, let us be clear, Bush, for all his bluster of being an Evangelical Christian did little to differentiate himself from other politicians who definitely are not. Rather than jumping into a war, should we not have prayed as a nation? I am sure there is more room for debate here.

Back to Obama, I don't think that I am overstating things at all. His record and personal history has linked him to the far left. Statements he has made and statements that others have made of him imply that he is an idealist - seeking to build somethin akin to a utopia. His symbols, his rhetoric, and his "followers" point to communism. From my perspective, he is one of the most dangerous domestic political figures the United States has ever seen. Time will prove which one of us is right. My hope, however, is that you are right. If I am right, he will trade away our freedom and bring us one step closer to a communist dictatorship (to which Bush started us on the road).

Anyway, thanks for stopping by blbartlett.

blbartlett said...

Thanks for the thoughtful response!

I would still disagree somewhat on the extent of Obama's liberalism. I have done much work in party politics, and when you are a "rookie" senator at the state or federal level, you are expected to vote party line on almost everything, or you can expect zero support when you run for reelection. It's a simple reality that the majority of rookies are "extreme" in their voting records as a result. I would argue that in some ways, Obama's speeches (and ability to accurately articulate both sides of an issue) indicate a more conservative approach to executive leadership than the voting record suggests.

I do agree that his perspective on governance is not in agreement with conservative Christian theology However, keep in mind that he IS in agreement with much of liberal Christianity, which was his key theological influence. I agree that this is not true (gospel) Christianity, but it is not as though he advocates a world without faith.

As "proof", I would cite his speach on Religion and politics, given early in the campaign. Though I agree he has a liberal and noninerrantist position on Scripture, I think he is also clear in having no problem with faith "informing" governance. However, you are right that he woudl reject one faith "dictating" governance by instituting moral standards not agreed upon by society as a whole. However, I do not see this stance as any different from McCain.

Your advocation of strong free-market capitalism is a bit surprising to me. In what sense does Scripture command or even commend free-market capitalism as a superior economic approach of the state? I have been studying Deuteronomy lately, and God was clearly against pure self-interest as a driving value of economic interaction. He clearly commands his people to do things that go against self-interest... not charging interest, returning collateral to a poor man before repayment, not taking advantage of a stronger economic position, not accepting a person's livelyhood as collateral, not pursuing loan repayment with disrespect, etc. (Ch. 23 and 24 especially).

Further, even conservatives in England are more leftward than Obama on economic policy, yet Englad could not be called a socialist state.

So, while of course it is fine to argue economic policy, I don't think it would be fair to call Obama socialist or Marxist and the argument certainly cannot be made on spiritual grounds.

As you say, we'll see what happens. I believe study of history shows that the presidency has a massively moderating effect on pretty much every President, and that alarmists have consistenly found that though a President doesn't do what they want, he's never as bad as they thought he would be (with the possible exception of certain niche voters).

Thanks for letting me do a little sparring with you! I'll see you around the halls of Southern. And Ben is fine. :-)

Steven Douglas said...

Hey Ben,

Thanks for responding. Sorry it took so long to get back to you. It has been a stressful week.

I wonder what Obama's world with faith looks like. He has not taken a shine to traditional or as you called them "Gospel" expressions of faith or Scripture. He seems to hold to the party left line on science versus religion. You yourself have admitted he takes a non-inerrantist approach to Scripture. So, it then comes down to what is our definition of "Christian"?

The difference between Obama and McCain is not evident in what they believe, necessarily, but in how they approach applying it to the nation. Liberals inherently make laws/government programs, while conservatives avoid them. Now McCain is not the best example of a conservative, but he still generally wants to avoid big gov.

I, too, love Deuteronomy. I would even classify myself as a theocratic socialist, I long for an ideal living-out of the New Testament Church. But we must also be realistic. The New Testament Church was not ideal (hence all of Paul's epistles and the opening chapters of Revelation).

Socialism on earth has not worked because of . . . sin. Men are immoral and selfish. Our attempts at socialism have brought us humanistic socialism (communism). It is a flawed economic, philosophical and religious system.

While capitalism is not mandated by the Bible explicitly, it is the best system for the free-flow of wealth. It has also been formed through "Christian" philosophical reasoning. It is the only system that harnesses both the good and sinful intentions of men and puts them to work.

I am not for "pure self-interest" by any means, and I have even advocated for self-regulation. But government should, in most cases, not be the regulating factor. Obama and I would be on far opposing sides of that issue.

I think you are right that there is a problem with an economy that is largely built on credit and interest. What would you propose in its stead?

Why can't England be called a socialist state? There are people in England who believe that their nation has moved far too leftward. And why can't Obama be called a Marxist? And why can't it be on religious grounds? I don't think you have proven your point. I still have no viable proof keeping me from calling Obama a leftist. We'll just see who's fair in the long run.

I hope I wasn't getting too pointed with you there. I just see Obama as a real threat to religious, financial, and social liberties. Further, I see him advocating a form of utopia for the "repressed" through governmental redistribution of wealth. The only element of Marxism missing is the violent uprising of the prolatariat.

With that being said, what's done is done, and I believe Christians, and conservatives of all stripes should begin to think about how to protect their few rights under U.S. law while they still have them. I may sound like a conspiracy theoriest, but we have seen the unlikely fall of many countries in our own time, and America is not invincible. We are trading away our freedoms and the things that make freedom mean something. We can and may, indeed, fall.

Steven Douglas said...

By the way, here is a great post,(, at "Discover Life",(, concerning Barack Obama's beliefs.