Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Christians & President Obama



I'm disturbed at what I'm seeing.

I'm seeing a lot of vitriol, malice and hate being direct toward President Obama. It is Christians, "religious right" Christians who are leading the smear campaign.
If you feel mad at the President, I sympathize, up to a point. It seems that President Obama is on the defensive when it comes to identifying the nature of the war we are in and is unwilling to denounce Islam and identify its radical element. He seems to be in the dark about what ISIS actually is (Islamic State).

I did not hear his presentation at the National Prayer breakfast, but the President's comments about ISIS being the moral equivalent of the Crusades caused a firestorm of anger directed at him by many "religious right" Christians. While I don't consider myself, in a strict sense, religious right, I was offended by the comments.

The Problem

I did not hear President Obama's full speech. I did hear sound bytes of that speech when a family member had on this family member's favorite political channel. Along with many of you, I think his comments are out of line. Calling us to "Come off our high horse and realize that Christians have done terrible things in the Name of Christ" and that "The Crusades show horrific things done in the Name of Christ that compare with modern day Jihad." Months ago, I had been watching parts of a program that discussed the history of the Crusades from an impartial, historical point of view. The Crusades actually were a response the prior atrocities of militant Muslims against Christians. I will provide sources at the end of this post. Now I don't condone revenge and we are commanded to to return evil for evil. That is what Christians or more specifically, Catholics, were doing. Jihad is wholly different, for the most part. These militant Muslims are not return evil for evil, or reacting to wrongs done to them. In Most cases, radical Islamists commit atrocities against innocent people who are doing nothing to them and have done nothing to provoke them. I think much of the knee-jerk reaction to the President is that many in the Christian community believe that the President is a closet Muslim and even a sympathizer to Muslim jihad. President Obama has professed a faith in Jesus as his Savior and Lord, and God alone knows the authenticity of his profession, just as God alone knows the genuineness of our professions of faith and the secrets of our hearts. Yes, President Obama has made statements that indicate that he believes that "All roads lead to the same God" and that "No matter what religion we are, we are all children of God." Now I don't know if these statements show that the President is just Biblically ignorant or is just trying to be non-offensive. I know that it cannot be easy to be President Obama, leading a deeply divided country full of people who are diverse in race, religion and ethnicity. We know that Jesus alone is the only way to God, and that only those who are linked to Him by faith are children of God. Whatever the President's real beliefs are, I'm with many of you on this: It was un-called for of him to call on us to "not judge" radical Islamists and liken revengeful acts of our forefathers with modern terrorists, especially ISIS. His actions indicate that he is more concerned with not giving any offense than in taking a stand for his convictions and that he is more influenced by the demands of our culture than he is to Christ's claim on his policies and life.

The Cause(s)?

The profound division in America is perplexing, in a sense. I have heard it said that in war time, we as a country had historically pulled together and stood behind each other. I know that this was not the case during the Vietnam War, though we were much more united during the first Gulf War. But I wonder if much of the vitriol and hate directed against this President is rooted in unconscious racism, not only against the Black community but against even peaceful, nominal Muslims. Weeks ago, I was saddened and rather angry, to go to a Christian website that is popular. One of its top articles of the day was titled, "Is it Okay for A Christian to Hate President Obama?"! I read the writer's response to this question. The writer seemed to be almost sympathetic with the person's question and the tone of his response was one of "I know how frustrated you feel with a bad leader." I still am reeling from the sorry fact that a person who claimed Christ would even ask such a question. But it was asked, and since then, I have seen much hate directed against this President. I have learned that a family member has recently declared, "I hate President Obama." Do we really think that trashing a political leader we don't like is going to make our society one bit better? Saddest of all is that this hate and trash-talking is coming mostly from the Christian community, though we know better. Yes, the President should do more to reach out to the Christian community and show more leadership on serious matters like global religious persecution, which he has begun to do at that prayer breakfast, where he made those controversial remarks. But is it a stretch to call President Obama things like "Hitler," "The Anti-Christ," a "Traitor" and a "Sympathizer with Terrorists?" Isn't it a stretch to call the President a criminal and call for his impeachment and arrest? I know that many in leadership have abused their power and positions through fraud, corruption and sexual offenses and crimes. None of our leaders are perfect because they come from imperfect people like us. The Bible would have us respond the President Obama (and every other leader we may dislike) in God's way.

Solutions

I know that many in the Christian community cannot wait until President Obama leaves office for good. Maybe you are one who feels that way. But all of us have to endure the leadership of those we don't like or agree with. That is true on all levels, whether we are talking about in the government, in the workplace or in our local churches. But how are we asked to respond to these leaders, including those we don't like? We are asked to honor their offices, which is tough to do if we don't agree with them or don't like them. We are also asked to pray for them. So, instead of ranting about this President or his policies, do something counter-cultural: Pray for him.

Actual History of the Crusades

Crusades vs, Jihad--A Slideshow

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