Thursday, June 18, 2009

Politics Is Thicker Than Promises: Lessons Learned From Obama And the Gay Community

Frequently during the Presidential campaign, President Barack Obama paraded himself as the biggest defender of homosexual rights to ever run for President. As a result, many, if not virtually all, in the homosexual community voted for him, trusting that he would be the answer to their prayers.

The honeymoon, it seems, is over. In an article in Salon.com, John Aravosis points out that the gay community feels betrayed from the Obama administration. He writes:


During the presidential primaries, then-candidate Obama promoted himself as the biggest defender of gay rights since Harvey Milk. He would be a "fierce advocate" for our rights, he promised, and he even out-gayed Hillary Clinton: telling gay and lesbian voters that while she was for a partial repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), he'd get rid of the whole . . . thing.

Although Obama made great promises, they remain unfulfilled and the gay community is losing its patience. Not only does Obama seem to be ignoring them, but seems to be betraying them. Aravosis points out:


On taking office, Obama immediately announced that he was doing away with the
Clinton-era concept of special assistants who served as liaisons to various
communities like gays and Latinos. He then went ahead and appointed special
liaisons to some of those communities anyway, but never to the gays. Around the
same time, the White House Web site, once detailing half a page of presidential
promises to the gay community, overnight saw those pledges shortened to three
simple sentences. Gone were five of the eight previous commitments, including
the promises to repeal both Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA. Adding to a growing
sense of angst, senior White House officials kept telling the media that they
weren't sure when, if ever, the president would follow through on his promises
to the gay community. Then there were the Cabinet appointees. Three Latino
nominees but nary a gay in sight. And finally, last week our president had his
Department of Justice file a brief in defense of DOMA, a law he had once called
"abhorrent." In that brief, filed on the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court
ruling in Loving v. Virginia (which outlawed bans on interracial marriage), our
own interracial Harvey Milk, not lacking a sense of historical irony, compared
our love to incest and pedophilia.

Homosexuals are not happy. From their perspective, homosexuals have forgiven Obama for many mess ups (such as inviting gospel singer Donnie McClurkin and Pastor Rick Warren to participate in some of his events) and have shown great patience towards the new President. Such patience, at least from Aravosis' perspective, is quickly coming to an end. Aravosis concludes:


What can the president do to avoid outright rupture with the gay community?
He needs to start fulfilling his campaign promises -- even one would be a nice
start. He needs to stop the discharges, and stop the Falwellian legal briefs in
support of a policy he opposes. He needs to push -- really push -- for
legislation banning job discrimination, repealing DOMA, and lifting Don't Ask
Don't Tell.


Many of us were willing to cut our new president some slack. Not
anymore.


Aravosis, speaking for the homosexual community, sounds upset. I must say that I am both shocked and yet not surprised. I am shocked by how quickly the gay community seems to be turning against both the Obama administration, their promised Messiah, and even the Democratic Party. At the same time, I'm not surprised that the gay community has felt left out and abandoned by this administration. Why? Because that is how politics works.

Every worldview, people group, movement, etc. seem to fall for this trap (including Christians). They put all of their trust into a candidate or a political party. Once they succeed in getting "their man/woman" into power, they oftentimes feel as if they are being ignored by that candidate or party. And so, they then chase after the next candidate.

Their is a valuable lesson to learn here: politicians are politicians, not saviors. Politicians will say nice things and play to the crowd if they think that they will elect him. Obama played to the gay community and far left because he knew he needed them to get elected. But once power has been given to the politician, the campaign is over, playing nice is over, now reality hits. And reality says, "in a few years, I will have to run again." And so, for the rest of the term, they do the things, i.e., play politics, that they think will get them re-elected.

Obama knows that he can do little else for the gay community. Why? Because he's not the President of the United Democrats of America. He's the President of the United States of America. He knows that if he wants to get re-elected, there are some controversial issues that he might want to play his cards right and save for the "right time." He is busy trying to save the economy, not grant rights for homosexuals. Obama is quickly realizing that Americans are becoming frustrated with the lack of progress in the economy and he is quickly running out of chips to start promoting his homosexual agenda. I do not believe that Obama wasn't sincere during the campaign regarding the gay community, but he is quickly realizing that it is much easier to be the candidate than to be President.

This is a lesson that we all need to learn. We must be careful not to put all of our trust into a politician or a political party because in the end, politics trumps promises to the politician. Politics is thicker than promises.

____________
For More:
Salon: President Obama betrays the gay community

"Imago Dei": The Root For Social Justice

I want to strongly encourage everyone to read Charles Colson's recent article, "In His Image: The Roots of Social Justice." Colsons argues that the foundation for real social justice is a firm and correct understanding of the Imago Dei, the "image of God."

Christians believe that everyone is made in the image of God and is thus, precious in God's sight. This image transcends all race, nationality, age, background, or experiences. All life is sacred. All life has worth. Every life has a purpose. It is this belief that has served as the launching pad that has led to the greatest social change in history.

Secularism misses this. Although many on the secular side cry and fight for social justice, they will never attain it. Colson writes:

Because we are created in the image of God, human life is sacred. We have value,
worth, and dignity. Science by itself doesn’t give us any basis for that view. So when a society loses its belief in God, it starts to believe that humans are only valuable based upon their “capacities”—and then you get views like those of Dr. Peter Singer of Princeton, who believes that some human lives have no value and deserve no protection.


This is an interesting point. By removing belief in God, the uniqueness and sacredness of life, all life, is removed with it. Although Singer's views seem extreme (such as the belief that infanticide is morally OK), it is easy to imagine that such views are not far away from being part of the cultural debate.

Just think about some of the discussions and debates we have. Secularist fight to end racism, but somehow rationalize the murder of unborn children. They fight for the end of sexism, and yet fail to defend the persecution and executions of Christians worldwide. Secularism is selective justice. Unless life is sacred because the Sacred has declared us sacred, then social justice will never be realized.

Virtually every major social justice movement in the West is rooted in Christianity. The abolition of slavery (although at first supported by many Christians, and non-believers I might add), it was Christians that stood up and fought for the freedom of slaves. Men like William Wilberforce in Great Britain and John Wesley in America found for abolition because of the doctrine of the imago dei. Likewise, beginning with Jesus and the apostles, the Christian worldview has had immense respect and dignity for women (although some have mistreated women, as have non-believers).

And it is primarily the Christian worldview that seeks the deliverance from legalized death sentences in abortion clinics. Why? Because from the moment of conception, all life is sacred. It is the battle over life where secularism and Christianity are dramatically divided. The Christian worldview considers life sacred whether just conceived or terminally ill. Secularism, on the other hand, is forced to see life as a commodity and as economically convenient.

Yes, Christians have their warts. Many lives have been shed and tragically taken as the result of a false understanding of the gospel and the Christian/Biblical worldview. That does not and cannot, however, overshadow the unique nature of the Christian worldview: life is sacred because the Sacred has declared it sacred. And if life is sacred, then it is worth protecting, defending, and dying for.

So sacred is life, made in the image of God, that the Sacred Himself took upon flesh and died for the bearers of His image. The cross is a constant reminder that life is sacred and worth the fight.

________________

For More:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Prophet, Priest, and President: Is Obama Really the Messiah?

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, many conservatives and even the John McCain campaign frequently pointed out the seemingly worship of now President Barack Obama from his followers. Stories and video of persons fainting when they saw Obama give a speech or even Obama joking that he wasn't born of a virgin were frequent during the campaign. The mainstream media only encouraged it by taking pictures that made it look like Obama had a halo over his head like a saint or an angel. Obama was frequently viewed as the candidate that would save Washington, save America, and save the world. Many, sadly, saw Obama as the answer to their prayers.

Well, months after his inauguration, it seems like the madness has yet to end. Recently in an interview, Newsweeks Evan Thomas refers to Obama as a "sort of god" who is "standing above the country," and "above the world." Thomas has since argued that his words were taken out of context, and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I seriously doubt that Thomas considers Obama literally as some sort of god, but at the same time, this isn't the first time we have seen someone (including Thomas), particularly in the media, consider Obama as the greatest politician and hope America has seen (Thomas said this while on Hardball with Chris Matthews who once said that when Obama speaks, he gets a thrill up his leg and has said that the coming of Obama is like the coming of the New Testament).

As an American, I can't help but laugh. I have yet to figure out why persons actually believe that some guy in Washington could ever solve all of their problems. It seems that every election falls for this trap. Politicians promise to fix our taxes, lower the cost of health care, fix the economy, bring world peace, etc. And so we elect them thinking that they will solve all of our problems, and, when they don't, we complain and elect the next politician who makes the same promise. Certainly some elections carry this tendency more than others. Following 8 controversial years of the Bush administration, many Americans were looking for someone quit different. And at that moment, a Senator from Chicago, with good speaking skills and great charisma announced that he was running for the nation's highest office.

And so I find myself scratching my head wondering, "do people really think that Obama will bring peace and tranquility and provide the Utopia we've all dreamed about? And do they think that just because he can give a good speech that nations will cease fighting, the greedy will start giving, and the prejudice will start loving?" The worship of President Obama simply astounds me. Since when did Washington ever make our lives better?

But as a Christian, I am more concerned. Too many Christians have put their trust in politicians rather than in their God and Savior. Both liberal and conservative Christians are guilty of this. We have substituted the gospel for tax reform or new education legislation. And like our non-believing counterparts, we have bought into the notion that all will be OK if only we elect someone who thinks just like us.

Do not misunderstand me, I am not saying that Christians shouldn't vote or shouldn't get involved in politics. I believe the exact opposite. As a minister, I have a responsibility for understanding politics, politicians, cultural trends, ethical debates, etc. However, I do not believe that somehow the Church will grow, persons will be saved, or that the Kingdom of God (both present and future) will be realized as long as the guy or party I like is in power.

Although many believe otherwise, Jesus in the Gospels seems as if He couldn't care less about the politics of His day. He had one mission: to save the lost by shepherding them to the cross. Jesus never fought for social reform or suggests government solutions to any one's problems. Everything He did and said was about the cross. It is at the cross that man finds hope and answers, not Washington or Rome.

To put our trust in a politician or a political party is nothing short of idolatry. Recall the story of Israel in 1 Samuel. They wanted a king, but God had His reservations. God Himself was their King. By asking for a king, the people were revealing their true hearts: they wished to dethrone God and replace Him with someone else. Furthermore, God knew that once the people had a king, they would look to the king for hope and answers, not God. This does not mean that the Jews cease to worship God or make sacrifices towards Him, but it does mean that instead of trusting in God, they first put their trust in the king.

The same happened during Jesus' time. John 6 records the feeding of the 5,000. The people responded by trying to force Jesus into becoming their king. Why? Because they believed that if Jesus were their political king, then they wouldn't have to work for food anymore. To them, Jesus could fulfill their Utopian dream. And so rather than embrace the message of the gospel, the people sought to force him to become a king. The people wanted a savior, but the wrong kind of savior.

Every nation has fallen for this folly. Whenever the people start putting their trust in a politician instead of the Creator disappointment and folly are around the corner. In the end, Obama will be a disappointment. He might go down as a great President, but he will not succeed in fulfilling the desires of those who elected him. He is already letting a lot of people down (like homosexual activists, anti-war protesters, etc.) and he will inevitably not be the President he allowed himself to be portrayed as during the campaign. Obama has allowed the perception that once he got elected, peace would come, poverty would end, and all will be made new. By allowing this perception to go on, Obama has set himself up for a huge fall.

Obama is no messiah. He is no savior. He is no "sort of god." Rather, he is an elected leader chosen to fulfill a task to the best of his ability. He is human and will make many mistakes. As Christians, it is time for us to be gospel-centered rather than politics-centered. The world will not be saved through a President or through politics. The world will be saved whenever we preach the gospel to every soul and trust in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

No matter what may happen in Washington or who occupies its highest office.





For more:
World Magazine: Obama-worship continues
Video: Evan Thomas: Obama is the Great Teacher
American Thinker: Obama's Messiah Shtick