Random Thoughts on the Election
First let me go through the mandatory disclaimers: I am a Christian, I am more or less conservative, and Obama was not my choice. Now that I have declared my hand, and revealed my biases, a few random thoughts on the outcome of the US elections.
Less than 24 hours ago Obama was declared the President-elect. With a 5 per cent gap in the popular vote, and a larger gap in the electoral college vote, we now have a new President (or will in 75 days from now) and a new political landscape. With Obama in the White House and Democratic control of both Houses of Congress, we will have a political party with a huge amount of clout and power. Fortunately it appears that the Democrats will not be able to get a 60-seat majority in the Senate. If they do manage to pull that off, then we will effectively have a one-party state for at least the next two years.
So what about the Republican losses? The short answer is that given the major economic meltdown of the past month, probably no Republican could have won the race to the White House, and probably no Democrat could have lost it. The financial crisis was really the straw that broke the camel’s back here. (The issue of whether Bush and the Republicans are solely to blame for the financial mess is another question which I will not here explore. But a good case can be made that prior decisions made by the Democrats have played a large role in the crisis.)
So with the economic climate such as it was, the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Too many Americans simply fell for the mantra of “change”. Never mind that there never was any clear content provided for that nebulous term. Simply repeating the word over and over had its magical effect.
It now remains to be seen whether Obama in fact can achieve any qualitative change. As a man with minimal political experience (he is a first-term Senator), the challenges he faces are daunting, to say the least. And all his rhetoric will soon be met by the hard cold world of reality. Whether he is really up to the task is a moot point.
Another major reason why a Democratic victory was almost a foregone conclusion has to do with the role of the mainstream media. The absolute bias on the part of the MSM for Obama and Co. was a wonder to behold. That the media has tremendous influence and power goes without saying, and the left-denominated media did everything it could to ensure that Obama was deified while McCain and – especially – Palin were demonised.
Indeed, the utter viciousness and ugliness of the MSM attack on Palin was mind-boggling to observe. I have witnessed nasty character assassination by the Left and the leftist media before, but this was almost unprecedented.
As an example of the media bias, the coverage of the election yesterday was quite a spectacle. Both Australian and American media commentators were absolutely gushing in sycophantic praise, adoration and worship for the new Messiah-King. It really smacked of frenzied idolatry.
Plenty of examples could be mentioned. One Australian ABC radio reporter was interviewing supporters of the two candidates at an Australian-American gathering. The journo managed to get the most inarticulate and muddled McCain supporter to make use of, while finding a superbly articulate Obama supporter (who incredibly happened to be related to the journalist!). But of course there was no bias there, right?
And one American news anchor absolutely fawned over the fact that now there would be the ‘pitter-patter of little feet in the White House’. As if small children in the Oval Office will somehow spell the end of the global financial crisis and act as an omen of the newly-arrived utopia. But of course Obama worshippers will latch onto anything as an indication that the Kingdom of Heaven has now arrived on planet earth, or at least in America.
Funding of course is another issue. It is most interesting how in the past liberals have complained about how we can now buy elections in the US with huge amounts of money. Well it is remarkable just how quiet the liberals now are about this topic. Obama raised far, far more funds than McCain – over one billion dollars no less. So why no liberal outcry about all this?
And then there is the matter of Obama’s far left radical agenda. We know that he is the most militantly pro-abortion politician around. He has promised to make sweeping changes to abortion laws as soon as he steps into office.
Yet many people – including Christians – simply chose to overlook or ignore his pro-death position. ‘But he is black, and that is so important.’ Well, he is actually half-black, but so what? Will Obama be that good for African-Americans? Bear in mind that a full 35 per cent of all abortions in the US are carried out by African-American women. Black families are being decimated by the abortion plague, and Obama wants more of it. That doesn’t sound like helping black people to me.
And his anti-marriage and anti-family views are also a major concern. Just how long before he introduces a whole raft of legislation seeking to grant special rights to homosexuals, including the right to marry? Answer: we have a very good clue in what he told his adoring fans last night. Incredibly, in his acceptance speech it only took about two minutes before he mentioned the issue of homosexuality. I think that must be a world first – certainly an American first.
Christianity and the elections
Let me also offer a few specific thoughts about Christianity and the election. It is commonly reported that there are some 80 million evangelical Christians in America. The question is, where were they yesterday? Two replies come to mind.
One, far too many evangelicals, I suspect, simply did not even bother to vote. Too many evangelicals still have this appalling polarity in their thinking: spirituality, good; politics, bad. They foolishly believe that Christians should have nothing to do with politics – that political involvement is for some reason unbiblical and unspiritual.
I of course have made the case elsewhere for the Christian duty to be involved in the political and social battles of the day. But a second factor is this: for those evangelicals who did bother to vote, one suspects that many of them voted for Obama. Now as I have written before, believers must make up their own minds on these matters.
But voting for a man who was and is perhaps the most strongly pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights candidate in recent US history would have been a reason to pause and think for believers. Are not these very important issues for Christians to carefully consider when choosing a new government?
But some Christians complain that conservatives are hung up on single issues like abortion, and that we should focus on other issues like justice and human rights. We should not be so “one-eyed” we are told.
But I would have thought that every other human right is predicated upon, and impossible without, the right to life. If one is denied the fundamental human right to even be alive, then why go on about socialised medicine or affordable housing? If you are dead, all this other stuff doesn’t mean a hill of beans.
So it seems that there remains a lot of teaching and instruction for believers when it comes to such things as political involvement and social reform. We need to learn afresh about what it is to be citizens of two kingdoms, with obligations and duties in each.
Finally, a bit of good news to offset the gathering gloom. There were numerous ballot issues voted on as well in this election. In total, some 150 measures were decided, ranging from issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, to “egg-laying chickens and renewable energy” as one press account mentions.
Perhaps the biggest victory was in California where Proposition 8 was voted through. This measure involved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California. Given what a hotbed of homosexual activism California is – and its support by the Terminator Governor – this was a brilliant win, and should give us all encouragement.
Homosexual-marriage-ban amendments were also approved in Arizona and Florida. (But bear in mind that all this may be undone by an Obama Presidency.)
Unfortunately pro-life measures in California, Colorado and South Dakota were defeated. And the state of Washington became the second state – following Oregon – to allow the option of physician-assisted suicide. Nebraska however approved a ban on race- and gender-based affirmative action programs.
So it was a bit of a mixed bag concerning the various ballots around the nation.
In closing, Obama has now got to come up with the goods. The rhetoric part was always going to be easy. Simply tell the people what they want to hear: “change, change, change”. Now comes the hard part of actually making it reality.
Regardless of how things pan out in the days ahead, Christians have certain clear obligations as recorded in Scripture, chief of which is found in 1 Timothy 2:1-3: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”.
29 Replies to “Random Thoughts on the Election”
I was dismayed beyond measure by the election of Obama, a thug politician from the machine of thug politics that is Chicago. This machine got him elected: they know how to pull the right strings at the right time; how to exploit slick mantras which mean little or nothing.
One only has to read the recent book by D. Freddoso, “The Case Against Barack Obama”, to see how he has come up through the ranks of the Chicago machine. A reformer he is not!
In his victory speech inter alia he promised “liberty for all”, in much the same way as did Hitler in 1933 when introducing draconian measures which restricted liberty.
I fear Americans have been hoodwinked by “charisma politics”, but the really distressing thing is the spectacle of compromising Christians, such as “evangelical” leader Jim Wallis, telling the Christian community that Obama is a committed Christian, and that he had his ear as a “spiritual adviser”. His church for 20 years was Trinity United Church of Christ, which preaches black liberation theology, a frightful and deeply racist heresy.
“The Messiah” of American politics, indeed! Have they not read: “See to it that no-one misleads you, for many will come in My Name, saying ‘I am Christ (Messiah)’, and will mislead many.” Matt.24:4-5
That should have been enough for any Christian considering his vote; but alas! No!
Hey there Bill,
Who’s “we”? Don’t you mean “they”?
The time when America “led the world” has gone. America is bankrupt, both financially and morally. There is now a vacuum of world leadership. I am waiting to see who steps up to fill the gap.
I think Obama will end up like KRudd … long on rhetoric … short on practical, day-to-day improvements to America’s standard of living.
You know, there are those who look back wistfully to the Whitlam years in Australia. Those same dewey-eyed souls are the same ones who are now fawning over Obama. You’d think they’d have learned by now, but stupidity knows no bounds.
God bless America. It’ll need it.
Stephen Frost, Melbourne.
I may have been using the ‘royal we’. Or I may have been subconsciously thinking of my own American heritage. But what happens in the US tends to affect us all. So “we” may not be all that inappropriate.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Unless folks recognise the world of spiritual forces, they will be blind to what Obama stands for. If people not only cannot see an iceberg coming up but wilfully and purposefully refuse to see it, no amount of pleading and discussion will penetrate the concrete casing, a billion miles thick, that surrounds such a closed mind and universe. Christians have stood in amazement that a whole nation, nay the whole world has been seduced and deluded by this man. Why can they not see and understand the patently obvious? But why are we amazed when only the spirit of Jesus Christ can penetrate such darkness. Though Christians are the largest faith group in the world, nominally at least, they are still in the minority and this looks likely to decrease even further. Maybe, Bill, there is a biblical reference to this.
David Skinner, UK
I was looking forward to your post-election analysis with great anticipation!
The contempt you show for the voters by suggesting they were merely fools who were ignorantly seduced by empty promises and the “liberal-leaning” media is a nice touch! (Personally I was watching the Fox News stream and I can assure you there was nothing but good solid conservative leanings there!)
Despite your disclaimer, your thrust appears to be that no good Christian could vote for Obama due to his stance on abortion.
The last eight years of Republican rule has offered wars, invasions, torture and imprisonment of people without judicial process.
I’m not critical of your position on abortion, but I think you display a moral blindspot for those humans that have already been born, had a life and then had that life damaged or taken away by the policies of the party that you advocate for.
I am sure many of the evangelicals did in fact consult their Christian moral compass and decide that Obama (a Christian himself lets not forget) was a better choice.
At a time of great financial crisis a nation turns to charismatic, eloquent unkown who preaches a better future for them as a country. USA 2008….Germany 1933….
I am not sure if I am showing contempt here – at least probably no more than whatever contempt you evidently have toward Bush and those who voted for him. And of course I did not call anyone ‘fools’ here. And I did clearly say that believers have to make up their own minds on such issues, although I – just like you – have my own preferences obviously. I am well aware that many pro-Obama Christians are thanking God right now for what they regard as answered prayer. No one said Christians must think all alike, and I respectfully agree to disagree with them.
As to your usual litany of leftist complaints (imprisonment etc.), as I said, if one is denied the fundamental right to be alive, no one is really going to care much about these other matters. Dead people do not mind much of anything I suspect.
And I too anticipated your response. It was predictable, but you are most welcome to your opinion, as hopefully I am to mine. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
I guess life would be pretty boring if we all took the same line on controversial issues. Indeed, if it weren’t for folk like you, this website might be a rather dull affair. So keep sharing your thoughts! They are certainly welcome.
BTW, I wish I had cable or satellite as well (why is it you lefties seem to have all the money? You rich capitalist pigs you!). Then I could watch this strange beast called Fox, reported to be an actual conservative media outlet. Amazing!
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
I know my critics think I am far too cynical and over the top already, but I can’t help but thinking that you are clearly on to something here with your interesting observation.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Yes Bill – but we may have some consolation this weekend when Helen Clark faces her electorate. Maybe we can take some consolation from the Kiwis.
Quite right Stephen
Yes that is another election that we must be in prayer about. And if you don’t mind me saying so, with Howard losing to Rudd, McCain losing to Obama, pro-lifers losing the Victorian abortion bill, and Geelong losing to Hawthorn, I don’t think I can take another defeat!
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Oh if it’s football knocks & longsuffering, I commiserate. I’m a Pie’s suppporter since ’58 when we stopped Demons repeating our Great Depression 4-peat. Both Cats and Pies waited a long, long time for just one flag, with many heart breaking near misses! Enough of earthly things!
How can we be so sure Obama is a Christian? Anybody can say they are a Christian, when only God know the heart. The problem with naive Christians is that they assume everyone has the same value as them regarding truth-telling. A non-Christian would have no compunctions about lying that they are a Christian, to get whatever they wanted by doing so. That is because they are not worried about offending a God who says lying is not good because lying is destructive to society by nature. (That btw is why we have the 10 Commandments, because every way outside of those is destructive behaviour, rather than helpful and healthy for society.)
If Obama is a Christian, he is a very baby Christian who needs lots of prayer and biblical grounding. In reading one of his books I felt that he has made the Constitution his bible, rather than the Bible. (However, more recently I detect that he has studied the Constitution with the intent of undermining it.)
So far the fruits of being a Christian is that he did not raise his children by taking them to church every week. Their attendance became less and less, This pre-dates the presidential race. Reports are that he is more eclectic in his use of all the religions. So spiritually, he is a very uneducated Christian at best. Just enough Christianity to be dangerous in getting quite off-course.
I could say more. Suffice it to say, the Bible says to “test the spirits.”
But we don’t know the end of the story, so we still do have the power of prayer in the name of Jesus to influence those in authority to be godly in their decisions. My faith is very small at the moment, but I’ll do what I can to use it to pray for those in authority that we may live in peace.
James, no one disputes the frailties of human nature and its ability to be deceived and make mistakes, except perhaps for humanists. President Bush made mistakes (incidentally the Iraqi government and people are not exactly overjoyed with the US military leaving immediately), so why should you think that Obama is going to make any less mistakes or reveal less human weakness than Bush? On what evidence do you base this?
The Canadian Michael D. O’Brien said, “How long will it take for our people to understand that when humanist sentiments replace moral absolutes, it is not long before very idealistic people begin to invade human families in the name of the family, and destroy human lives in the name of humanity? This is the idealist’s greatest temptation, the temptation by which nations and cultures so often fall. The wielder of power is deluded into thinking he can remould reality into a less unkind condition. If he succeeds in convincing his people of the delusion and posits for them an enemy of the collective good, then unspeakable evils can be released in society. Those who share a mass-delusion rarely recognise it as such, and can pursue the most heinous acts in a spirit of self-righteousness.”
C.S. Lewis similarly said, “The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature (such as the need for change, choice, tolerance, inclusion, diversity and all the other mantras) set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials ‘for the sake of humanity’, and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man.” (Mere Christianity, Chapter II.) Elsewhere, CS Lewis says, “Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
David Skinner, UK
Surely BHO can be assessed on his words and his record? For example voting 4 times to deny medical help to babies that had the miraculous audacity to survive botched abortions and he favors partial birth horrendous destruction as a prefered method of child annihilation.
Can any Christian watch these videos and still support BHO?
“Just how long before he introduces a whole raft of legislation seeking to grant special rights to homosexuals, including the right to marry?”
“Homosexual-marriage-ban amendments were also approved in Arizona and Florida. (But bear in mind that all this may be undone by an Obama Presidency.)”
Sorry, but… how? The federal government of the USA has absolutely no power to change the Constitution of a State.
At most, the federal government can only overturn the federal law that stops federal recognition of gay marriages in States where they exist. But it’s quite clear that in the USA, unlike Australia, marriage is not controlled at the federal level.
Hehehe @ Capitalist Pig comment!
I’m surprised you are indulging Stephen in his Germany 1933 parallel in clear violation of Godwins Law – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwins_law
Rebecca, I think you are making a lot of assumptions that you cannot possibly know to be true one way or another. Who decides the standards of judgment you use to decide who is a “true” believer and who is a “baby” believer. Is it not possible to be a “true” Christian without attending church every week?
David, I don’t claim that I believe Obama will be any less fallible than GWB. My point is that if we agree that the sanctity of life is important (born or unborn), then there are as many strong arguments against the GOP as there are against Obama.
The quote by Michael D. O’Brien that you cite sounds like it is describing GWB’s presidency to me!
Easy answer: just think Roe v Wade. In 1973 seven (out of nine) Supreme Court judges struck the laws of all 50 US states on the issue of abortion.
Obama can cause a great amount of damage as President, but perhaps the most pernicious thing he can do is appoint a few more radical activist Supreme Court judges. They are appointed for life. They will be around a long time after he has gone.
So they can rule as unconstitutional any state law they like, and I do not doubt for a moment that the first thing they will go after is heterosexual marriage laws.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Forget Godwin and study history. I do not think it is a long stretch at all to see the possibility of a repeat of Germany in the 1930s. I am not saying it will happen now with Obama, but there is no reason why it cannot happen in some similar circumstances at some point. And just like then, if and when it does happen, there will be plenty of Chamberlain’s around shouting “peace in our time”. Appeasement is a perennial problem.
As to judging believers, a few things. First, as a non-believer, it is interesting to see you weighing into the debate James. Have you been sneakily reading the Bible when no one is looking? (Actually I hope you do read it – it is an eye-opener, among other things!)
While it is true that only God know those who are truly his, even Jesus did not leave us clueless here. He told us for example that we can judge people by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-23). Good trees should produce good fruit, etc. Rebecca quoted one passage about ‘testing the spirits’ (1 John 4:1,2). Paul also said we should “test all things” (1 Thess. 5:21).
So if someone comes along claiming to be a Christian., but says he does not like God’s design for human sexuality, for example, and pushes same-sex marriage, or thinks open slather on the killing of the unborn is just fine (also in violation of God’s clear commands) then we have a right to start asking some hard questions. This guy’s walk is not matching the biblical talk.
As to your – and the Left’s – (mis)understanding of the sanctity of life principle, let me sort a few things out. The Bible prohibits murder, but not killing (6th commandment – Exodus 20:13). The taking of innocent human life is always wrong. But God has not only allowed but ordained the taking of guilty human life. Thus the death penalty has biblical warrant, as does genuine self-defense, and the use of police and armed forces to maintain justice and punish evil.
Thus seeking to kill Hitler, and maybe even Saddam, may be morally, and biblically permissible. Killing the life of unborn babies is not. Thus your moral equivalence argument between BHO, and GWB and the GOP, simply does not stand up.
So when you gonna invite me to your wealthy pad to catch up on the latest conservative offerings on Fox TV?
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Interesting idea, Bill.
I’m still not sure, though, that you’re giving enough credit to the fact that it is the CONSTITUTION of States that we’re talking about, not just ‘any State law’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the abortion laws were just ordinary laws, not part of the State constitutions.
There is a difference. While I’m no expert on US law, in Australia it’s quite clear that the power of the federal government doesn’t extend as far as mucking about with a State’s constitution. Otherwise the feds could just wipe out a State’s existence.
I have had a much more than casual interest in American politics, since I was very young. I receive about 20 e-mails per day from some the the best informed political commentators in America, with background information. The article here by Bill Muehlenberg is one of the best and definitely the most accurate I have read in Australia. Also an interesting check on the exit polls in California on the Same Sex “Marriage” issue is that despite the outcome of electing a black president, the majority of blacks did not support the idea of same sex “Marriage”
Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld.
I am having trouble discerning any connection whatsoever between current events and the rise of Nazism. I’m not being obtuse, I think the comparison is a little clumsy.
What are the points of comparison that you see?
P.S You’d be disappointed in my wealthy pad, it looks suspiciously like a rented family home in the burbs…
Great to see you tackling the big issue of the day. You may be surprised but I am quite excited about the election of BHO. I think he will be disastrous for the US and the rest of the world. But this will show us the greatness of God, His justice, mercy and compassion, something this world needs to know. We will see lots of humility if even from a small minority. We may even see again the world turned upside down, and of the Christians it being said, “See how they love oneanother”.
I am not sure the point needs to be belaboured much further. I did not say we are living in identical climates. I simply noted that the rise of a Hitler-like figure is by no means impossible, given similar circumstances.
And hey, your humble pad at least has the means to watch Fox, which is more than my humble pad has.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
BHO said “I don’t believe in same sex marriage but I do believe that they have the right to get married.”
I wonder if he doesn’t believe in rape but believes that rapists should have the right to rape.
I do doubt the Christian genuineness of Obama. I equally however refute MacCains’s evangelical character. Obama may have given thumbs up for abortion but MacCain is bent on fighting in Iraq, a war which has so far claimed 1000s of lives. Neither of them could be justified before God on the basis of the policies they intend pursuing. Let’s not be too hash on the youngman but do our Christian duty by praying for him.
I support Jennifer’s comments concerning President elect B.O.’s (I prefer those initials) attitude to defenceless babies, who survive an abortion, and in B.O.’s opinion should be left to die. However the number of times B.O. voted in favour of that horrendous crime against society was 6 times, rather than the also horrific 4 times. Hussein’s claim that he’ll change America, I do not consider as a promise, but rather as a threat.
Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld
Actually no one is – or has been – claiming that McCain is an evangelical Christian. As far as I am aware, he is not. (Of the four who were running, only one was – and is – Sarah Palin.) But that is not the real issue. The issue is one major party (the Democrats) who have as part of their platform abortion on demand and special rights for homosexuals, among other things, and another party (the Republicans) who do not. In my estimation, one party is closer on a number of issues to biblical Christianity than is the other.
As to abortion and war, I have already noted that the Bible distinguishes between legitimate and illegitimate killing. Abortion is always murder and is always wrong. Some wars however can be regarded as just wars. God himself ordered Israel to engage in various wars. So war in not always evil and sinful in itself, as abortion is.
I do however agree that we need to pray for Obama. Pray that he in fact becomes – if he is not already (but I don’t see much evidence for this) – a born-again Christian, and pray that he drops his many radical policies which will bring so much damage and harm to America and the rest of the world.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
“My German-born mother remembers growing up in an era with a population by and large having outrageously stupid beliefs and hopes in a politician as having all the answers.” She remembers quite a bit still about her childhood, including a parallel experience to The Lion, Witch, & the Wardrobe evacuation to a regional area when she was about 14. I recently showed her the infamous YouTube clip (which I accurately represented by telling her it was not official) of the children singing their praises to Obama and she quietly chuckled and had one word after watching it through to the end. “Hitler.”
She didn’t say much else – except to say she was flabbergasted and walked away shaking her head. She hasn’t bought any of Obama-hysteria and can’t understand the adulation. And she felt like an oppression had begun after the election result. Who do you think I should listen to, Godwin or her?
btw, in other news, I could not believe that the media’s attack on Palin has not cooled one iota, doing everything they can to smear her potential at 2012 from day one.
Shameless. Along with a photo that’s deliberately chosen to make her look stupid. (whoah, she shrugs – must be stupid then) Hey, if someone was to scrutinize my life over the last 2 months demanding perfection, would I not have some clangers? And unlike Obama’s, most of hers can be cured in seconds, whereas how do you cure disdain for life or racism or corruption so easily?
And let me ask this – if you were in a life or death situation, who would you rather have in your corner, Obama or Palin (knowing there might be negative ramifications for a political career for them)? Think Trig.
One more video of concern. I won’t blame you if you can’t make it to the end, because I couldn’t even get close:
…at least something to laugh at here:
I remember Billy Graham’s comment – “If God does not judge America, He will have to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah”
I believe Obama is a part of His judgment, but I agree with Greg Brien, that “bring it on” basically with regard to these judgments, along with the financial meltdown. The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. Some will cry out to Him in these new troubles, and the rest go to Hell – business as usual in other words. God bless all who call on Him!