Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is Barack Obama a Christian? - Part 2

In part 1 of this series (seen here) I gave the reason that Obama says he is a Christian. One day, he knelt down and accepted God's spirit, submitted himself to His will and dedicated himself to discovering His truth.

But there are those who would question his faith. They point out that he supports "a lifestyle that the Bible calls an abomination" and that he "supports the destruction of innocent and sacred life". They point out that he was led to Christ by a preacher who preached a different Gospel, who spoke hatred, promoted (reverse) racism and has now been removed from his church.

In fairness, the Bible does call homosexuality an abomination. And abortion is the destruction of innocent and sacred life. Those issues will not be debated here and Sen. Obama has not debated them (to my knowledge). In fact when question on where life begins, the candidate said that it was "above my paygrade".

On this issue, I'd like to be like a doctor in Obama's speech, who supported him during his senatorial primary, but considered not voting for him in the senate election. The reason was not Obama's view on abortion, but rather Obama's treatment of those with whom he disagreed. He asked Obama for "fair-minded words" and as a result, Obama changed the wording of his pro-choice position, to make it fair to those who disagreed.

With that in mind, I'd like to chastise the candidate Obama about his words "above my paygrade". Senator, if you expect me to pay your salaray as president, it's not above your paygrade. Life and death issues for innocent children is EXACTLY on your paygrade.

Some will say that my comment doesn't belong in a political conversation. But then senate candidate Obama said that "secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square." Religion has as much a place in a political conversation as any other subject. And it should also be noted that the subject isn't just a religious subject, it is as much about violence as "when a gang-banger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd."

But this post isn't about the abortion debate, rather it's about Sen. Obama's faith. While I disagree with him on his paygrade and his indecision on abortion, it doesn't make him any less of a Christian. As a Christian and as an American, he has the right to be wrong.

In fact, he accurately commented that he "was running to be the U.S. Senator of Illinois and not the Minister of Illinois." He seems to recognize that senators and presidents are chosen by the people, ministers are chosen by God. I don't expect the next president to be any better versed in theology than the current president (who while being a strong Christian has made some theological blunders).

But if he is a Christian, why doesn't Senator Obama recognize his spiritual requirement to protect the innocent? I refuse to believe that he adjusts his view to fit the audience. Believing that means that I can't trust him at all and any politcial view he has is just political. Somehow, I can't be that cynical. Instead, I believe that it's simply a matter of lack of education. That if (when) he matures as a Christian, he will come to realize that an unborn child is just as sacred as one that has made it out of the womb and the delivery room. I think that deep down he knows that, but is unwilling to force his views on other people. Indeed, in his profession of faith, Obama said he "dedicated myself to discovering His truth." My hope is that he continues to discover the Truth.

Suppose future President Obama discovers the Truth and decides to reverse his previous opinions on abortion. Will that mean he is imposing his beliefs on the people? (Yes) Would that imposition be wrong? (No) As a country, we elect representatives. We expect them to make decisions that govern us. There is a process of checks and balances and a process of impeachment. I trust our processes to keep sanity on issues like this. If future President Obama produces some executive order that is just flat wrong, I expect our congress and our courts to step up and take action.

Furthermore, if Obama or any other politician hears a message from God and ignores it, I would be very nervous. Yes, I get nervous when someone says they hear a message from God. How can they be sure it's from God and not from a bad batch of tacos? Well, if I may go down this side road for a moment, one thing is for certain, God will not contradict Himself. He's already told us so much in His Bible, that we can always compare those midnight rumblings to His Word. If there's a conflict, it's time to cut out the late night pizza runs. If it matches, then there's a good chance it's from God. And to ignore those messages, is to invite problems.

But back to the main subject, should a future president impose his ideas on us? Well, in fact they do. Senator Obama believes that all Americans should have health care. If elected and if congress and the courts permit, he will impose that view on all of us. He will have to pay for it somehow, taxes in some areas will go up (I'm largely ignoring his tax issues here, they aren't relevant to this subject). There's a good chance that some of those who will pay for the plan will be against universal health care, but he has imposed his views on them. I know this is simplistic in it's view, but it's an easy way to see it.

What of majority rule? Won't future President Obama's policies be supported by the majority? This argument fails for two reasons, 1) there's no guarantee that the policies he implements will be agreed upon by all of his supporters, much less his detractors and 2) majority rule doesn't make something right (take slavery in 1780 as an example). No, the president must implement policies he/she feels are important and face the music for that. He must "sell" his policies to the public and to congress. All of this is to say, that Senator Obama has signed up for a job that forces him to impose his ideas on us (if he wins).

Now to the subject of discovering the truth. In his statement, Senator Obama admitted he did not know the truth and was searching for it. In theological terms, this is called sanctification. This has been several years now, shouldn't he have found the answers by now? Shouldn't there be some spiritual growth?

I won't stand (or sit) here and pretend to be able to answer that question. I will offer one word of advice to the Senator, a word from The Word. Acts 17:11 says that there were those who were of "more noble character" and that they "examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true". Senator Obama, if you are indeed a Christian (and I don't mean to imply that I question that), I implore you to be more noble and to continue your search for His Truth."

As to the issue of Sen. Obama's church, I've previously written on this subject (see here). In that post, I said that I respected his position for defending the pastor until he had the details. I would also point other believers to Phillipians 1:15-18 where Paul says that when Jesus is preached, it doesn't matter WHY He was preached, it's good. Even if Rev. Wright preached Jesus for the wrong reasons, if he brought believers to Christ, it's good. I'd also point to Joseph who said in Gen 50:20 that even though things were meant for evil, God turned it into good (rough translation). And finally, I would point to 1 Corinthians 1:13, where Paul addressed the issues of different churches when he asked "Is Christ divided?"

I know this is a LONG post. I appreciate your reading until the very end. I'll post the last part of this article later this week and make my final comments. As always, your comments are welcome.


Brooke said...

Knowing what we know about Obama, that he is a Marxist, that he hangs out with criminals and terrorists, listening to his speeches...

Of course I cannot know what is really in the man's heart, but Obama has demonstrated that he will say anything to anyone. The whole church thing is probably another suit he takes on and off.

I dunno.

Randy said...

I'm a little reluctant to call him a Marxist, even though I used a Karl Marx quote to describe him (and no one either commented or noticed).

Truth is, our government has a lot of socialist programs: Medicaid, S-CHIP, even Social Security the way it is currently implemented. The question is, how much of that is good/bad?

But the point of this is to discuss if he is a Christian or not. I'll finalize my opinion later this week.