“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” – Psalm 121:1-3
As readers of this blog can imagine, I like talking about politics and religion, public policy, foreign policy, the role of government in the lives of men, and the role Christians ought to play in such a government. I find these issues to be quite interesting. Further, I find that they provide a great breadth of debate – even the Christians hardly agree on policies. (Perhaps that’s because we haven’t all thought through the policy choices and their implications – but that’s for later.)
Sometimes, the policy leanings of governmental leaders are so out of line with good morals that it is easy to pile on. Consider the current Democratic-led legislative and executive branches. Health care reform that will lower quality of medical care and ultimately lead to rationing is not moral. Spending way more than the government collects in tax revenue, which compromises the fiscal footing of future generations is not moral. (This isn’t just an Obama issue – Bush was dreadful on this one too.) More public funding of abortions – even though there was haranguing about “false witness” of those who even suggested such a thing would happen – is not moral. The list could go on for quite a while.
My point in this is that given such an overtly bad government, and such a potential electoral shift in the November races, there is a temptation for the Christian to view this as possibly a little deliverance. To this end, let me make a few notes.
First, in accordance with the lead quote, our help comes from the Lord. I have consistently held that the proper role of government is not solving your problems for you. While I certainly hope for a massive shift in the balance of power as a defensive mechanism against the overreach of the Obama administration into the lives and freedoms of men, I do not want to view this as ultimate deliverance from a corrupt government. The Republicans weren’t all that great when they were in power. As long as we are on this earth, we will have to deal with the potential for men to usurp authority over each other and oppress – often through the hand of government. The letter next to the party in power does not change this dynamic.
As a second point, let me also note that the stories of Obama’s demise may well be exaggerated. The politico ran a humorous piece today discussing how badly Obama was doing as a politician – indicating that he may even have to resign before he finishes his first term. This is a bit much. Yes, he is doing very poorly as a politician – saying utterly stupid things that need not be said. But since 1900, over 100 years of presidencies, it has only happened once that the presidency changed parties in an election and then changed back four years later. It has only happened ONCE. That was Jimmy Carter defeating Gerald Ford in 1976 and then losing to Ronald Reagan in 1980. To match that feat, I suspect Obama will have to be as bad as Jimmy Carter (possible, but Carter really was dreadful) and the Republicans will have to find a candidate as capable as Reagan (doubtful).
It is a rather common theme though – the overstatement of the meaning of elections. Every pundit wants to believe that this election signals a real change of the hearts and minds of Americans (in the direction of political persuasions preferred by said pundits). I suspect this will be no different. The massive swing in 2010 (if it happens) will be viewed as a total change in the electorate – a change that may be short-lived.
So, to my right-wing Christian friends out there, who want less government in their lives, I say don’t view this political firestorm as the final act of deliverance. We have a lot of work to do to convince a generation of Americans that freedom is the way to go, not government-led solutions. One election will not change that. Let us continue to pray for this country and continue to press ahead.
As for the November elections, well, they could be fun.