Last Monday (here) I posted a response to the reader who asked about how anabaptists think about this election. (I don’t speak for all or any other anabaptists.) I made my recurring point: I’m a Christian; my first assignment is to live as a Christian; I don’t think who becomes our next President will lead us to the kingdom nor do I think the next one will lead us to apocalyptic doom. The issue I am exploring today is what will happen if Obama becomes President.
What do you think of what it would be like if Obama were elected?
I like Barack Obama; I respect him; I’d like to have coffee with him. I think he’s genuine and I think he tells the truth. I’m not crazy about Biden, but I think he’d be fun. He knows his stuff when it comes to international affairs. I cannot say enough about how good it would be for our country to have an African American and a bi-racial person in the White House.
If the Democrats win, the first thing I will like is this: the USA is not doing well in opinion polls in the world; I take that as a fact reflecting a widespread reality. I don’t care how one explains it, this is a fact. I believe Obama will, at least initially, help our worldwide reputation. Furthermore, if the Democrats shift funds toward the poor and toward health care (and Obama’s plan seems to be reasonable), that will be good for many in America. And I hope they will shift funds toward education and our public schools.
I don’t know the best resolution to the conflicts in the Middle East, but I’m not convinced what we are doing is working. Perhaps the Democrats will have other and even better ideas. If they do, I think that will be good. (I don’t think Obama has walked a straight line on the Middle East conflict since he became vocal about it, but neither does that bother me: I hope he learns and adjusts to what he learns.)
Obama’s position on abortion runs completely contrary to his position on war, which values life. The routine statement by Christians who are Democrats — that they are “personally against abortion” but they defend it politically because it is now part of our law — denies the priority of one’s moral, Christian views. I disagree completely here with Obama, and wish he’d think outside the Democrat box on this issue.
But I don’t think getting a Democrat, or Obama, is the solution to our problems. I don’t think he did very well in the famous Rick Warren interview. Obama’s a bright guy, but speaking in those situations means “give your point and clarify” instead of “give your nuances and build toward a complex solution.” Obama’s choice of Biden was an odd one: getting someone who knows international stuff is important — for the Cabinet. VPs tend to be public speakers and vote-getters and McCain surely got more out of his choice.
I’m not convinced Obama’s economic theory has been spelled out, but I am aware that Democrats in the White House have done well in stimulating the economy. I’d like to hear what he thinks of free enterprise and what it takes to make the economy better. What, in other words, best relieves poverty? Does it come through stimulating economy, through welfare programs, or a combination of both — and how does the first one work with two and three? I’d like to hear more about the fuel crisis we are going through. Frankly, I doubt Obama can deliver on cutting taxes for most of us.
So, as I said about McCain. If Obama wins, there’ll be some things to like and some things to be concerned about. I think we’ll be able to work for the gospel under either President, and that is what matters most to me.
“The worst thing that can happen to the Church,” Peter Kreeft says, “is what is happening to the Church now in the West, namely that the Church is deliberately conforming to the world.” And he adds: “The Lion of Judah has become tame.” And he adds: “The imitation of Christ has changed into the imitation of popular culture.” “The modern world politicizes everything and imposes the political categories of Right and Left on everything…. And the Church is following the tune of this pied piper.” (The God Who Loves You, chp. 10.)