Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President-Elect Barack H. Obama

I don't think it's ever been a real secret that I've favored Barack Obama in this election. I like John McCain and I really liked John McCain in 2000 when he ran. I've tried to be as non-partisan on my blog as I can. I've tried to show different viewpoints on issues as much as possible. I'm someone who likes to hear both/all sides of an issue and so I've tried to present that as much as possible here.

This year though, I favored Obama. I'm not 100% with him. He and I disagree about abortion: he wants it more available than I do. He and I disagree on the role of government in the economy: he favors more involvement than I do, although I want more involvement than Greenspan favored. We agree on homosexual marriage, in not supporting it, but supporting civil rights for the unions between two homosexuals. We agree on Iraq, that we should transfer power back to the civilian government as quickly as possible and return our troops home expediently.

I voted for Obama in this election and I wait with bated breath to see the kind of president he will make. Great speeches don't make a great president. Great actions do, and I'm hopeful that he will be a president of great action and surround himself by the people that will enable him to make those decisions.

I know that many of my fellow Christian brothers and sisters are disappointed by his election, even appalled or disgusted. I respect that. I understand why people are disappointed in this, because of policy disagreements.

What I don't understand is the vitriol and hatred that many people who claim the name of Jesus are hurling at him. One of my former student's Facebook status last night read, "I can't believe America is choosing this racist Muslim piece of s***." Which appalled me. People who claim the name of Jesus are free to disagree, but to express anger in such a hateful way brings shame to the name of Jesus. And if I weren't a Christian and saw or heard this, there is NO WAY that I would want to be a part of that! Why would I want to become a Christian if it makes me a more hateful person? Please, let's think about how our words and actions come across to people. Let's think about how we are reflection the name of Jesus.

I will probably keep writing about politics over the next little while. I'm curious to think about why McCain lost. I'm curious to think about if this is the election that broke the back of the Religious Right. I'm curious for what Obama's election means about race in America.

But right now, we have a new President-Elect. And for the first time, it was someone who doesn't look like me. And if for nothing else, that's progress. That's history.


Tony Arnold said...

I do think it is great that our children don't really even understand the barrier that has been broken and that this was an historic day.

I have explained this to Maria, but it does not really sink in being 8 years old, a public school student, and not seeing prejudice in her home.

It was so cool last night that while so many so-called Christians are spewing vitriol, Maria prayed last night for God to help everyone make a good choice in their vote and that God help the right person get elected, and for God to help whoever did get elected President.

This prayer at bedtime was unprompted and she never mentioned Obama or McCain in her prayer.

Little children will indeed lead us in the ways of the Lord. They truly are closer to His heart than adult Christians.

I pray that God protects our new President-elect, because the last thing this country needs right now is some hate nut to assassinate him. We need Americans to step forward and help prevent such a tragedy to this country.

I voted for McCain simply to avoid the problem we had in Bush's first term--loss of the balance of power when we had a Republican administration, Senate, Congress, and a conservative Supreme Court. This was a lopsided situation that created many problems.

We are at risk of the same problem with a Democratic administration, Senate, and Congress and likely a more liberal Supreme Court in the next two years.

Our founding Fathers did a good job designing a structure that provided balance of power, but we have found a way to unbalance it. The imbalance is not a good thing. It was a very bad thing with Bush.

Obama has my support. He is my President through the proper process and God bless him. He will need it. He has a lot of problems to fix.

Katie said...

Sure, it's great that the race barrier was broken here. I have no issue with that. And, I don't hate Obama. What I have issue with is that those who call themselves Christians chose to vote into power someone who supports gay marraige and abortion, and in doing so have volunteered my tax dollars to support such things. I don't hate gays, nor do I hate someone who has had an abortion. But I refuse to support a man who is in favor of such unGodly acts, and will appoint two Supreme Court justices likely to hold those same beliefs. As a Christian, it is my duty to uphold God's law above all others.

Adam said...

McCain and Obama hold identical positions on Gay Marriage/Civil Unions.

Justin said...


I as a Christian, am appalled that people would support John McCain, a man who cheated on his wife multiple times, and then divorced her after she was disfigured in a horrible car crash.

I'm appalled that under a John McCain administration, my tax dollars are going to kill innocent people, ehem, excuse me collateral damage in countries around the world in order to protect me. God is my protector, and while some people trust in chariots, and some in horses, I like to think I trust in the name of the Lord God.

I'm appalled that Christians have neglected the fact that our country has a HORRIBLE infant mortality rate, from the poverty that we as Christians refuse to address, leading the government to feel as though they need to step in. Memphis, TN a city with more churches per capita than I believe any other large city in the country, has an infant mortality rate worse than many third world countries. This is what appalls me.

So please, continue on in your righteous indignation about the fact that people who don't profess the beliefs that you do about homosexuality might actually get to see their partners who are sick in the hospital, or that they might be able to get insurance, and continue to be upset that abortion isn't gonna be illegal, rather than being upset that people live in situations where they feel abortion is the only option.

(For the record, I didn't vote in this election, for a number of reasons)

Jim Voorhies said...

The peril and the virtue of democracy is that once the election is done everyone has to live with the decisions.

Tiffany said...

The issue here isn't who got it right or wrong based on their faith. I do think it's helpful to know why Christians on each side voted the way they did. The thing to do now is to work together to address our concerns, and to stop bickering about it. I thought Katie's point was well-thought out and well-stated, and even if I don't agree with everything she said, I understand and respect her decision. She didn't deserve that snarky, hateful response.

Jenn Brown said...

I honestly didn't feel that Justin was too far off base.

But I am biased because I believe I was born a Liberal and my heart will not allow me to be anything different. (This is hilarious because everyone on both sides of my family is a Conservative Republican except me and my younger sister. That is 2 out of 12. Not good odds when it comes to political discussions.) I will not go into the reasons WHY I am a Liberal because we could be here all day but I will say this...this country was founded on the basis of freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion. Period. It should not have come to a point in this country where our laws are written based on someone’s religious beliefs instead of the civil liberties of our citizens. The rage that people feel about politics based on their religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs is completely ridiculous and against everything that this country was founded on.

Phil is completely right. The reason I have run from Christianity my entire life is because of the judgment, prejudice, and in a way, the damnation I have seen from some so called Christians. I’ve always wanted to believe that following Jesus and being a Christian meant excepting the fact that we are all God’s children and to love and respect one another. I do NOT see that concept coming from the “Religious Right” that make themselves so outspoken in the press.

In regards to abortion...Both candidates are against a “free for all” in the baby killing department. Both of them agree that there should be regulations on when it is acceptable and not acceptable (ie. incest, rape, health of the mother, etc.) and both candidates agree that we need more money spent on prevention of unwanted pregnancies and easier adoption processes. Roe Vs. Wade already happened and it hasn’t been overturned during ANY Republican presidency since. I am 100% doubtful that it will EVER be overturned no matter what political party is in charge.

In regards to gay marriage..Adam said it best. Both candidates support civil unions and not gay marriage. Which I personally think is a little bit ridiculous because it all boils down to semantics and labels anyway...but I digress.

(I would also like to point out that although it is NOT breaking a commandment to lay with someone of the same sex, it IS breaking a commandment to cheat on your spouse. Just a little food for thought for those in this country who may want to judge homosexuals but not adulterers.)

OK..getting off my soap box now.

Justin said...

Re: Tiffany

If you'll notice, Katie's words "those who call themselves christians" are absolutely deserving of the snark she received from me. Using that phrase only means one thing: that Katie does not think that those who voted for Obama are Christians. That is a judgemental, arrogant, and I'd argue, ignorant attitude. Its too simplistic. It is unnuanced. And it is not in the spirit of Christ. The point of my snark was in response to that attitude. And if you don't understand that, then the snark was directed at you as well.

Tiffany said...

Awesome, thanks Justin. Love you. too.

Brian said...

Justin, I agree with you.

The big problem for the future may be that the "Change" that Obama has advocated, may not come as quickly as his supporters had hoped. The political machine doesn't move fast at the best of time, and even if it does, the results take even longer to be seen.

I hope that the supporters will not loose hope AND that the opposers will not attack him if he cannot turn the ship as quickly as they would have liked.

Actually, I hope that the vision of change being possible will sink into people's hearts, and become something that each person realises that they can also be a part of. If individuals believe they can make a change in their family, community, work place, school etc, then change will really happen, and it won't be dependent on one man.

Christianity is about bringing change in the lives of people. I hope for positive changes in people's lives as a result of this election.

RTR said...

I don't believe anyone can fix this mess overnight - it took GWB 8 years to totally muck it all up.

Katie said...

Justin - I'll say it again, "I choose to uphold God's law above all others". Most who know me are aware that I am not an instigator, or one in favor of confrontation. The fact that two of my most liberal friends chose to back me, regardless of our differing opinions, should be proof to you of that.

I do not believe myself to be above others, morally, ethically, etc. I didn't not say that you were NOT a Christian, or less of a Christian because of your vote. I simply said I don't understand it. I did not attack you for your beliefs, call you judgmental, ignorant or arrogant. All of which you chose to bestow upon me. I simply made a statement of opinion, that I feel, as a voter, I have a right to express. You have the freedom to read into it what you will, but your reaction to mine was less than respectful. Your reaction to Tiffany, also disrespectful.

Both sides have the potential to be hurtful, as in any argument. Being able to discuss such sensitive subjects, while retaining a level of calmness and refraining from personal attack, is a sign of true intelligence and integrity.

Tiffany - thank you.

Jenn - thank you.

Justin said...

Katie (and tiffany)

If I came across as angry, it was because I was. Could I have been more gentle? Absolutely. My tone has clearly made it more difficult for us to have this conversation, and for that I apologize.

However, I still stand by the fact that I believe it is COMPLETELY inappropriate for someone to question the faith of another because they didn't vote for the same candidate as you. You mentioned that you follow God's law. I believe I am following God's law as well. Luckily, we serve a God who gave us general examples to live by, giving us the opportunity to prayerful consider how best to live out the life he intends for us. This does not mean that there is not a wrong and a right, a good or an evil, but that we have the ability to weigh things and determine on our own. This is why I don't vote, because I feel like politics is too evil a game to play... governments, while they may be more or less good, are ultimately not christian, because their method of operation is one of power over people, and that is not the example we have in Christ.

As I said in my original post, though clearly not tactfully or lovingly, there are many reasons why someone could weigh the evidence and decide that Obama's values are more in line with Christ's than McCain's. For you to insinuate as you did that someone who votes for obama is not really a christian, is I believe, unchristian. We can have disagreements on what following the example of Christ means, but to start making that judgement ourselves, I believe, gets us into dangerous territory.

So again, I apologize for being a jerk. I made it difficult for us to continue a dialogue that I believe is important, and I didn't show Christ in my words. For that I apologize.

Phil said...

Katie, thanks for your thoughts; I really appreciate your perspective on it.

Justin, thanks for your apology. I know (from personal experience) that it can be hard to have strong opinions and not come across in a bad way, so I appreciate your apology and continuing the dialogue.

I hope we can all try to continue to dialogue in civil and Christlike ways, learning to live with and love each other as we disagree.

Anonymous said...


I think you're saying things that are worth saying but also that you're not being fair to katie.

She said:

What I have issue with is that those who call themselves Christians chose to vote into power someone who supports gay marraige and abortion, and in doing so have volunteered my tax dollars to support such things.

You're right that the statement "those who call themselves Christians chose to vote for [Obama]"

could be interpreted to say "those who call themselves Christians [but really aren't as demonstrated by the fact that they] chose to vote for [Obama]"

but it could also be saying "those who call themselves Christians [but took what is in my opionin an apparently unChristian action when they] chose to vote for [Obama]"

You (reasonably) interpreted it as the former but katie clarified that it was the latter

I didn't not say that you were NOT a Christian, or less of a Christian because of your vote. I simply said I don't understand it.

kimjoystewart said...

Phil, Thanks for this post. It's helped me reading blogs of other Christians who are Obama supporters. I haven't found too many like me in MS--most of my friends are horrified.

Anonymous said...

Justin, Justin, Obama believes the mother can decide about her infant's mortality. How is that going to make things better in Memphis?


Justin said...


I never said that I voted for Obama, or thought he would change things.

My point is merely that we like to protect children in the womb, but often forget that a large number of them die before their first birthday because their parents can't or don't know how to take care of them.

If more christians put as much effort into adopting, or working with poor unwed mothers, as they do trying to overturn Roe v Wade, maybe we could stop people from having abortions of their own free volition (which is the only way to really stop it) rather than creating a new law, which will just push those who have abortions because they don't feel like they have a choice to seek unsafe, black market type choices.

Alice said...

What I've seen of government projects, housing and otherwise, that purport to deal with the poor is this: once you're in, you don't get out. Your incentive is gone, your God-given desire to work is stolen from you, and you are brought down to the lowest common denominator.

We've met these people and their kids. They don't anticipate moving out of government housing when they get on their feet. They don't know they HAVE feet. They are trapped in an unsafe environment, but they don't know any different. Some of the kids have never left the projects.

I DO think we should be teaching them how to care for themselves and their children. The government surely isn't doing it. But surely Obama will see that more government hand-outs is going to cripple the poor even further.

This is not really on topic, but it's on my mind, since I've been acquainted with the inner city mess. And making it legal to kill the babies can not be right.

As far as same-sex marriage, having a close family member who decided that living that lifestyle would be fine, then died a horrible death, breaking hearts all around...well, that'll change your tune. It's not right. So don't call it right.

Anonymous said...

Recommended listening: act 1 of This American Life episode 364 about Harlem Children's Zone: link

More info on Harlem Children's Zone here: link

Justin said...

I never said that promiscuity was ok Alice. AIDs doesn't come from being gay. It comes from engaging in dangerous, promiscuous sex and drug use. Is it possible that our unwillingness, not just to not accept gay people as gay, but to accept them at all, causes this lifestyle. There are gay men and women who live in committed relationships, and live stable relatively normal lives. You are defending your worldview by pointing out the negative things that are caused by your worldview. Its like my wife hating me because I beat her, and my continuing to beat her because she hates me. Its circular.

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