“God is in control.” Well, duh.
I’ve heard this refrain reminding of God’s sovereignty countless times now since Election 2012 as a mantra to console evangelical Christians and religious conservatives bemoaning the recent win by Barack Obama. Contrary to what some seem to have concluded from my posts “It’s the End of America as We Know It” or “We Are All Victims Now, Mr. President,” I have never doubted for a moment that God was, is, and will always be in control.
But Scripture also demonstrates, from the Garden of Eden on, that each of us is ultimately responsible to our Creator for our own thoughts, actions, and votes.
The numbers show us that evangelical Christians turned out to vote for Romney at a higher percentage than they did for McCain (unarguably the worst candidate ever nominated at the worst possible time). Pew Research puts support for Romney at 79%, the same as for Bush, a professed born-again evangelical. But that still leaves 20% of self-described born-again evangelicals who voted for Obama.
Among the broader Protestant vote, however, only 57% supported Romney with 42% for Obama. And don’t even get me started on the Catholic vote — which Obama somehow won in spite of his hostility toward the Church. That tally has troubling implications for how Catholics view the church leadership. See the Pew Research report here.
But for Protestants, who supposedly place a premium on Scripture as the supreme voice of authority for life, I confess confusion as to how even 20% could find a way to vote for Obama and still remain true to Scripture. I cannot recall a clearer distinction between two candidates in my lifetime on several key issues.
So I share with you 5 things I don’t understand about Christians who voted for Obama. I suspect that likely speak for many others, but I’ll stick with “I” rather than the royal “We” so as to offend as few critics as possible.
5 Things I Don’t Understand about Christians Who Voted for Obama
- Life. Obama’s record is one of the most radical in support of abortion. I could understand some thinking Romney might be soft on it, given his late-arriving public opposition. But between the two, one supports the killing of unborn children. The other does not. Again, I’m talking about Christians who supposedly are all about Scripture as the final authority. There can be no neutrality on this issue. You can’t sort of support abortion and sort of not. In the end, something is dead. How do you get around that? By narrowly defining life to after-birth?
- Marriage. I know we’re all supposed to pretend the Bible doesn’t say what it actually says. I know we’re all supposed to bow at the temple of tolerance. I’m pretty sure that’s why the angels told Lot to get out of Sodom. Because the city had refused to be tolerant. Not. Obama has stated clearly that he supports redefining marriage in opposition to how God defines it in Scripture. Romney supported preserving a Biblical definition. Any explanation here, especially from the 20%, would be welcome. And yes, I’m also asking the 95% of Protestant Christians whose skin God made darker than mine who supported Obama. If Kingdom comes before race, how does that vote get cast with a clear conscience? I love you, but I don’t get it.
- Religious Freedom. The HHS Mandate tramples our religious freedom, and it does so unnecessarily. Too many of us think that we can somehow all hold contradictory viewpoints and still make it all work out. Ideas have consequences. What the HSS mandate shows is that Obama values certain perceived freedoms (reproductive rights) as greater than other God-given freedoms. A vote for Obama was a vote to continue to restrict the freedom to freely worship God. 20%? Help me understand.
- Private Property. This concern will sound the least religious to most Christians because we have long embraced the Greek/gnostic thinking that the physical world is inferior to the spiritual, in spite of the fact that the second person of the Godhead will be forever be both spiritual and physical — as will we. God is the ultimate owner of all things. In his sovereignty, he has put His world into our care in general, but into individual hands in particular to steward on His behalf. “You shall not steal” is the clearest affirmation of private property there can be. And yet Obama has expressed that it is the role of government to correct God’s incorrect distribution and spread the wealth around according to another standard. While neither candidate was perfect on this issue, one candidate took a far less Biblical position than the other.
- Leadership. Admittedly, this is the vaguest concern of them all. I could likely find others on which Scripture is clearer for most. So I’m not taking some kind of adamant position on this one. But, as someone who has spent a lifetime studying leaders and leadership principles, I just don’t understand it. Biblical leadership principles — that is, all sound leadership principles, for they all find their foundation in Scripture — leave me confused as to why anyone would think him a sound choice. I know, critics are demanding that I reprint every leadership book ever written. I can’t in this limited space. But I’d be curious as to why that 20% thought Obama the better leader, the more Biblical, or even the wiser choice. I see him as very similar to another Biblical leader named Barak from the book of Judges, a leader who lacked the courage, vision, and integrity to lead faithfully. Or as Rehoboam who foolishly sought to crush his opposition and thus created far more conflict for those he led. Many more poor examples come to mind. But I don’t understand how evangelical Christians could see Obama’s leadership model as being Biblical. A little help?
So, yes. God is sovereign. And yes, I will be praying for President Obama. Just as I would be praying, I hope, for the political leader who may one day order the torch to light the sticks heaped around me. But that doesn’t mean I would understand how fellow Christians could have supported it.
Maybe I could hear from someone who is a self-described born-again evangelical who voted for Obama. I would like to understand why. Seriously. I just do not see how that decision is Biblical. But I’d love to hear your perspective.
For far too many Christians of all stripes, God’s revelation in Scripture has become an optional handbook. Kind of like the directions that come with your kids’ toys at Christmas — relevant only if all other options fail. We tend to see it rather like the pirate code from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. To paraphrase the infamous Captain Barbossa, “It’s more like guidelines.”
Maybe that’s it. Guidelines. I’m trying, but I just don’t understand it. Any input?
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