Would You Vote for This Man?
Would you vote for a man who
...gives praise and honor to God before a public audience?
...wants to seek God's face with other believers?
...admits that prayer humbles him?
...extolls the benefit of turning to our Creator and listening to Him?
...is motivated by faith and values in the midst of troubled times?
...wakes up every morning and prays, reads the Bible, and has "devotions?"
...is being spiritual mentored and discipled by evangelical pastors?
...claims that his Christian faith motivates him as a leader?
...tries to practice God's command to love our neighbors as ourselves?
...believes in Jesus's words: "for unto much is given, much shall be required"?
...tries to follow the biblical call to care for the "least of these."
...quotes C.S. Lewis in speeches?
...believes that Christians should be "doers of the word and not merely hearers?"
...wants to work toward building the kingdom of God on earth?
...is a loving husband and supportive father?
...prayed with Billy Graham?
...believes the Holy Spirit intervenes in his life, prompting him toward action?
If you answered yes to a majority of these questions, you might consider voting for Barack Obama in November. Check out his recent remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. It's all in there.
Obama may be the most explicitly Christian president in American history. If we analyze his language in the same way that historians examine the religious language of the Founding Fathers or even George W. Bush, we will find that Obama's piety, use of the Bible, and references to Christian faith and theology put most other American presidents to shame on this front. I think there may be good reasons why some people will not vote for Obama in November, but his commitment to Christianity is not one of them.
I remember sitting in the Brubaker Auditorium at Messiah College on the evening of April 13, 2008, when Barack Obama entered the room to a standing ovation from Messiah students and others in attendance. The event was called The Compassion Forum and Obama was there, along with his Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton and the CNN cameras, to discuss how his faith might inform his policy if he were elected president.
Obama talked about religion as a means by which people get through difficult economic times. He discussed the mystery of God's will and his inability to decipher it entirely. He talked about the need to find ways to reduce abortion. He said he would fight AIDS and poverty around the world. He talked about the discipline of self-sacrifice for the greater good of the planet and each other.
John Fea chairs the History Department at Messiah College in Grantham, PA, and is the author of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? A Historical Introduction (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011). He blogs daily at philipvickersfithian.com.