In all the post-election assessment, analysis, commentary, prognostication, etc., we have an issue that surpasses the actual results in its foreboding nature. A number of years ago, a former state senator in Texas who is well-known for his strong Christian faith made a comment at a luncheon regarding his “complaining to God” about President Bill Clinton.
He said God reminded him firmly that, “I held Bill Clinton up as a mirror so the American people can see what you look like.” The underlying principle affirmed to this senator was that every election is a test of the hearts of the people, not the effectiveness of the politicians.
Who would have thought, then, that conservatives would look back at the Clinton era as the “good old days”? At least Clinton won the election with only 43 percent of the vote in 1992 – a full 10 percentage points less than Obama.
How could Sen. Barack Obama, a product of one of the most politically corrupt cities in one of the most politically corrupt states, with some of the most corrupt associates and the most pro-abortion, ultra-liberal voting record in a pro-abortion, ultra-liberal Democratic Senate Caucus, be chosen by a veritable landslide?
As our good friend Pogo said some years back, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!”
Most specifically, from my perspective, that reference should be directed at the Christian church in this country. Why?
Our Founding Fathers believed that morality could not be separated from religion as its foundation and anchor, as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in The Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States in 1892: “…the morality of this country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines of worship of those imposters.”
Simply put, if the Christian church fails to teach and uphold those historic principles of morality for the nation, we will not necessarily become immoral, but rather amoral. The former assumes that we have a moral code but are violating it, the latter that we are simply without it altogether.
According to researcher George Barna, in choosing a presidential candidate, “…40 percent of evangelicals said it was because of the candidate’s position on moral issues.” Read that again – and conclude that 60 percent of evangelicals did NOT choose based on moral issues such as sanctity of life, sexual diversity/same-sex marriage, personal character, etc.
Let’s face it; the economy was “The Issue” that drove the vote, with retirement accounts, job insecurity and the mortgage crisis trumping even national security.
Here is our dilemma: Voting for McCain were “57 percent of those who strongly believed that the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches; 61 percent of adults who strongly affirmed a personal responsibility to share their religious faith with others; 63 percent of those who believe that Satan is a living, influential force; 64 percent who contend that a person cannot earn their salvation, that it is a gift from God; 60 percent of the adults who say that Jesus Christ never sinned; and 54 percent of the people who have an orthodox, biblical perception of who God is.”
The real “rest of the story” is that Christians who hold to the beliefs listed above make up only 7 percent of adult population and only “one out of six born-again adults,” according to Barna.
The troubling conclusion is that since only 17 percent of those claiming to be Christians believe in the historic – and what were once considered essential – doctrines of the church, the church has lost our theological, moral, cultural and political anchor and influence as a natural consequence.
When we look at Obama, we are looking in a mirror and must realize that our most threatening enemy is not lurking in the mountains of Afghanistan but in the hearts of a people and nation turned away from the God Who created and ordained us and His truths.
A closing note to California pastors – you performed a magnificent feat of winning in a difficult state in a difficult year and deserve praise and commendation. Without the churches stepping up, Proposition 8 simply would not have had a chance in the down draft of the Obama coattails.
However, will you now take the responsibility for allowing the cultural and political climate that helped produce the need for Proposition 8 and begin taking seriously the mandate to train your congregants to think biblically and to choose godly leaders of faith, character, principle and courage to your city, state and federal elected offices?