The Oval Office Thermometer

I have written a lot, even when I should have already called it quits and gone to bed. But I have erased it all. Why? Because a simple message deserves a simple post.

In the near future our country will be going to the polls to elect a president. Who we elect will say a lot about the people of this nation, for one thing remains the same: we get what we deserve.

My prayer is that a God-fearing, honorable, trust-worthy, man of character will be elected. He doesn’t have to be a Christian, but it would be nice if he bore no animosity to my faith. It was none other than George Washington who said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.*

Now, more than ever, especially with recent action taken by the Obama administration, our country has taken a turn toward complete secularism. The leaders of our country seem to think that religion, especially the Christian faith, is harmful, unfair, and destructive to our society. But it was another founding father, John Adams, who said: “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.**

But if history continues down the path it has been taking, I fear the next election will result in a further slide downward. It won’t be the president’s fault, either. It will be the fault of a people that put him in office. The reason is pretty simple: the type of president we elect is going to be a representation of the heart of the people who vote.

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin [is] a reproach to any people.Proverbs 14:34

“We the people” are the thermostat. We elect a thermometer.

*(Source: George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States . . . Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore: George and Henry S. Keatinge), pp. 22-23. In his Farewell Address to the United States in 1796.)

**(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)

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14 Comments

Filed under America, Christian Unity, General Observations, the future, voting

14 responses to “The Oval Office Thermometer

  1. We have already gone down this road in Europe.

    • And for that my heart breaks.

      Anthony Psalm 57:2

      Sent from iPhone.

      • That really breaks my heart. I read the BBC article you linked. It makes me sad and angry. It’s also an insult to the real men and women of “archaic” days that fought for the freedom these arrogant fools enjoy. How many of those atheists and secularists are black, I wonder? Where would they be if they had had their way with men like Wilberforce? What arrogant hypocrisy!

        Where a Godless vacuum appears, it’s not long before the void is filled with other gods. There’s no such thing as a “godless” society, or a “secular” society. Those who call for the end of humility and deference to the Creator only want homage paid to the gods of their own making.

  2. Great Post! We need more than ever to first pray for our nation and leaders, and then exercise our right to vote whenever we have the opportunity. If we don’t all of our rights might one day be taken away including our rights to worship as we like and the right to speak freely about issues taking place in our nation.

  3. I love the John Adams quote. Great post. Peace, Linda

  4. Kerri

    You know what your blog needs, Anthony? A devil’s advocate!! Hahahaha!! You and I have talked personally on many occasions – I know you’re a good guy, and I like you a lot, but with all due respect, I deeply resent the implication that my voting for Obama (which I did) reflects a less than ideal heart or Christian value system. You are absolutely wrong about that. And to dispell the next myth people have about someone who doesn’t share their opinion on something – I’m not uninformed. :-) Politics and world affairs are something I’m very up-to-date on and interested in. I voted for Obama because of my Christian value system. I am a avid supporter of healthcare reform – I fight for that because I am a Christian, and loving my neighbor – next to loving God – is supposed to be my number one mission on this earth. I don’t want to see any more men, women and children die from preventable illness in this country. I believe it’s more important to pay for that than for another war that serves only to make some very rich men even richer. All the Republican candidates have vowed to cut taxes – which absolutely will mean cuts to programs that are in place to help the most vulnerable in our country at a time when they’re already suffering so much. As a Christian, how could I possibly vote in good conscience for that? The answer is, I can’t. Those are just two reasons. Now, I don’t like the Democrats, either – in fact, I believe both parties are batting for the same team – and that team is NOT the American people – but to say that those who vote for Obama are less Christian, less Godly, that if he wins it’s a reflection of a bad heart – well, that’s just nonsense.

    • Dear Ms. Advocate,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to share your already overly-taxed two cents. (insert winking smiley face)

      First, yes, I am a good guy. Secondly, because you have contacts with people who could affect my seminary grades…you’re one of the greatest people I have ever met. (insert many winking smiley faces)

      But thirdly, and because I have the Trinity on my side (insert cautious winking smiley face that looks upward with a worried brow), I think the issue at hand goes far beyond the biblical mandate to help the poor. Yes, I understand your concerns about meeting the needs of the sick, but if it comes at the expense of being able to pray for them in public, I have to consider for whom I am voting.

      No one can sit back and make the statement that all the party platform statements of one political party are good, while the other’s is completely bad. I have read the Communist Party platform, for example, and they have some good points. On the other hand, when the titular head of a particular party makes attacking the freedoms which I hold dear, ones given by God and protected by the Constitution, I have to look past the immediate concerns of temporal matters and focus on the long-term effects of his philosophy.

      Helping the poor and meeting their healthcare needs should be an area of utmost concern, no matter what party. For the Democrats to say that Republicans are only out to starve the elderly and let little Johnny die of AIDS, however, is equally ludicrous.Few humans, aside from Scrooge, want to ship the poor off orphanages. On the other hand, my personal experience shows that more of one particular party would rather take children from their homes for homeschooling than leave them with a mother and father who care.

      But what I am trying to say, in my defense of the above article, is that there is more at stake than health care. The Democrat party, although not all Democrats, are hell-bent to turn our government into a European style welfare state. They are also intent on leading us to sign on to the World Health treaties for “Human Rights.” Both of these intended directions would be disastrous to our form of government. One only has to look at what is going on in England to figure that out. Just read the above articles my friend, David, linked (he lives there).

      Especially because of the way the current administration has been intent on removing the freedom to express the Christian faith from every aspect of government, including the military; and when you consider the fact that marriage, traditional adoption, and public prayer has been the targets of so many legal attacks, is that not enough to justify an objection based on a heart for God’s standards?

      I know this response has been as long as a post, and for that I am sorry. However, Kerri, I respect your decisions, but I do wish you would add more to your list of things you “fight for.”

      That is my four cents’ worth, because 50% was already taxed. And while I’m thinking about it, try not to hold up my government-allotted, taxpayer-funded, financial aid. I hear Obama did make that a little easier ;-)

      • Kerri

        Hahaha (about how I’m great – I totally agree!) And I hope you know that I would never stoop to allowing a mere disagreement about politics cause me to try and affect someone’s grades.

        Okay – here’s the thing, Nobody in the current administration has ever attempted to pass any legislation that stops you from praying in public. Ever. Not one time. And as the wife of a former military chaplain – key word, CHAPLAIN (’cause our government actually trains and finds men and women to serve the spiritual needs of our soldiers) I know our government has never once tried to stop freedom of expression in our military. Ever. Not once! Those are simply scare tactics pushed by certain factions of our country to rile up Christians. Ninety-something percent of our current Congress is Christian – including the president. Ninety-eight percent of our entire country is a believer in God, in one form or another. Now, should we always be on the lookout and diligent to protect our freedom of religion at all costs? OF COURSE! And if I ever see a president who actually attacks our faith, I would absolutely never vote for him or her. But that hasn’t happened in my lifetime. Now, when Christians attempt to insert their faith in inappropriate settings, like government, courts, schools or certain military settings, and they are prevented from doing that, that is NOT anyone infringing on their rights as Christians. That is Christians infringing on the rights of others, and being called on it and stopped. I don’t want prayer in school, because I know exactly what some of the religious nutjobs in my county believe, and it’s scary, and I would NEVER want my son or daughter exposed to that – because you can’t just say “only THIS version of Christian prayer” – you open the door, and they ALL flood in – which is why the door needs to stay closed.

        Now, marriage and traditional adoption – this is kind of changing the subject, because allowing other people to live their lives however they see fit – whether I agree with their lifestyle choices or not – does not constitute an attack on Christians. And I have a hard time personally with this one, because I’ve seen the numer of gay couples out there who have adopted and raised children with AIDS, disabilities, crack-babies, etc., in communities inundated with Christians who didn’t step up to the plate. They often can’t adopt healthy children due to their lifestyle, so they take on these imperfect children. Is it better that these children float around in foster care, or have a stable, loving environment that happens to be provided by a gay couple? I don’t know what the answer is on that – but I have to think that God is glad to see a child loved and cared for. I believe the gay lifestyle is a sinful lifestyle, no question. And the Bible is clear on that. But I really think that the fight on gay marriage and gay rights has distracted Christians from real problems – and I don’t consider the sins of a tiny fraction of 1% of our country a “major problem” when we have so many people out there who are suffering and needing.

        I also wanted to say, I don’t think Republicans are all bad at all. What I’m saying is that the current slate of candidates for President are not in line with my Christian values – that’s just my opinion. By saying that, I’m not saying that if someone votes for them they’re unChristian or something silly like that. And I expect the same respect from those who vote Republican based on their Christian values.

    • David, if you had the right, and you could vote in America, what would be the things you would want the American people to know about socialism. Is our current President leading us in that direction? Would electing him again make things worse for us, better, or would it even matter? You can see things from an objective perspective, so I am curious what you think.

  5. Good question Anthony. Strangely the political map of Europe is mostly blue now (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2011/jul/28/europe-politics-interactive-map-left-right). But there seems very little to choose between red or blue these days. Most candidates for government seem to be mass-produced in the same factory. Very few seem to be in politics to represent the electorate. Most seem to be more concerned about their personal wealth and status.

    In the UK we needed a change in the late nineties and in came Mr Blair and the Labour Party. Since then politics in this country seem to have become riddled with dishonesty. Several MPs and at least one Lord have ended up in prison for fiddling their rather substantial expenses. Many more seemed to have got away with some seriously dubious claims. Others have had to pay cash back. I am involved in elections as a polling station official and during our last general election had one gentleman tell me; “this is the first time I have had to vote for a crook!” (Our local MP was one who managed to get away with paying back his dodgy expense claims. This particular voter was voting for the party rather than the person and was disgusted that the same man was allowed to stand again.)

    Apart from the dishonesty of many of our politicians we seem to have surrendered our sovereignty to Europe, particularly in respect of human rights. The legislation on human rights ignores the rights of ordinary people, but is effectively exploited by criminals and terrorists. There is one person in particular the UK wants to send back to Jordan (he and his family hate the UK but are happy to live here without working, use our welfare, heath and education system, etc.). We cannot deport this individual (who also happens to be here illegally) because the European Court of Human Rights does not believe he will get a fair trial in Jordan.

    On the welfare side we are paying out huge sums to families who have never worked, and to foreigners (especially from Eastern Europe). Other Eastern Europeans have taken the jobs that our workshy welfare claimants do not want.

    There have been many issues with taxpayers’ money being wasted on government projects that go significantly over budget, some of which never come to fruition. I guess that is a general phenomenon in the West?

    On the plus side our National Health Service (NHS) still works although it is not quite as free or as it once was. Whenever we have needed it as a family, the NHS has been there and I cannot fault it in terms of the care we have received. However, because of the way that the Labour government interfered in the NHS it is now very difficult to get dental treatment without being on a private scheme.

    Education seems to survive but for some reason the labour government believed that 50% of 18 year olds should go to university to the detriment of the old system of apprenticeships in industry. If you want a plumber or an electrician now you’d better speak Polish! Tertiary education is no longer free (unsustainable with the number of kids going to college) but then my understanding is that in the US it has always been necessary to pay to go to college. I think the school-leaving age is going up to eighteen next year. Crazy. Still, it keeps the 16-18 year olds out of the unemployment figures.

    By far the most serious issue for Christians has been the speed with which we have become second-class citizens in the UK. It is OK for adherents of other religions to dress how they please or display symbols of their faith but if a Christian wears a chain around their neck with a cross on it then look out. It is probably easier to get planning permission to build a mosque than a church. We have elements of sharia law creeping in within Muslim communities and a generation of UK born Muslims who seem to despise the country of their birth and seek nothing less than an Islamic republic. Add in the secular lobby, the gay lobby, the flat-earth society and anything else you like. End result? A mess.

    How should we react as Christians? The Sermon on the Mount is a good starting point, but being followers of Jesus does not mean that we should be walked on, or ignore our responsibilities as citizens when it comes to the ballot box. From what I read in the press and see on the television it mostly comes across that President Obama has been a disappointment in certain areas. I am with you Anthony on how I vote – prayfully for a God-fearing, honourable, trustworthy, man of character to be elected. If that doesn’t happen then I must continue to pray for whoever is elected, the government in general, and especially true men and women of God who serve in the corridors of power (1 Tim 2:1-2).

    I’m not sure I would say that President Obama is leading the US towards the European model of socialism, but your society seems no different to ours in terms of damaged families, the acceptance of sinful living, etc. Society is becoming more secular in most countries as mankind quite deliberately turns away from God in favour of Godless living. No rules exist other than our own! I am not sure how much the example of a Godly president would mean in terms of damage limitation or prompting change in society. But it might help. There is much need for prayer.

    I have been to the US many times since 1973 and love to visit. I find the US a welcoming and hospitable nation. However, one thing I would say is that I would rather be jobless, poor or otherwise disadvantaged in the UK than in the US because of the safety net provided by the state. I accept that the cost of that safety net has to be met by taxpayers. I speak as one who has lost three jobs due to company closures, has had major surgery in hospital requiring three months off work, has a wife who came close to dying in hospital of meningitis, etc., etc. Will the system still work in the future? It could be a challenge economically, but then any challenge has to be met by faith and trust in God. I will observe your elections with interest.

    Sorry if this has become a bit of an essay!

    • Anthony, further to the above I saw the following article this morning:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_9694000/9694094.stm

      If this is accurate reporting then I would say that I wouldn’t be voting Democrat in the presidential election if I were a US citizen. But I would also have to consider the alternative.

      • Me again! I know that the original post was about the road to secularism, rather than what the president has achieved or not achieved in terms of the unemployed, universal health care, etc. I watched the BBC programme last night (Poor America). It was only 30 minutes long and was limited in what it could show and say. Mostly the programme makers focused on Las Vegas where millions of dollars are blown daily in the casinos. It showed people living below the city in storm drains. People who had lost jobs and were scraping by. A family was shown living in a single motel room in a bad part of town after the father lost his employment. Kids were interviewed in school about the meals they were not receiving at home (none looked malnourished). There was a brief look at Detroit (I have been there and seen much of what it showed first-hand but not the tent cities).

        My twelve-year old son watched the programme with me. He has visited the US once. We rented a nice four-bed house in Florida, and drove about in a rented mini-van. We did Disney and Universal and he had a great time. But that is his picture of America. Land of the free, land of plenty. He was shocked by the programme and couldn’t understand some of what he saw. There was a man who only earned $7,000 a year who had a hernia but couldn’t afford the cost of the surgery. Even my twelve-year old quickly worked out that you cannot live in the west on $7,000 per annum.

        I know it was a TV programme. I know it only scratched the surface and represented the programme maker’s views. But it featured real people. Americans living in a land of plenty with very little. I pay my taxes here in the UK and I pay national insurance to the government, both assessed according to my ability to pay. In return my family receives free health care, unemployment benefits if I cannot work, and a pension when I reach sixty-five years of age. Without that health care I honestly believe that my wife and I would not have reached the age of fifty.

        I left a well-paid job as a merchant navy officer after I got married. My wages ashore were half what I made at sea. The first job I had ashore I lost after three months due to the then recession. It took me seven weeks to find another low paid job. We survived because of the state returning some of what we had paid in taxes, but we did not have enough. We could not have afforded to pay for health care had there been a charge. If my mother-in-law had not helped us my children would not have had shoes. So I know a little of the desperation that goes with being jobless or on a low income.

        Where is this leading in terms of how should we vote? I am not sure that it matters how we vote if we ignore what Scripture teaches or how the early church lived. Luke 3:11 (John the Baptist on two coats). Matthew 6:19-21 (Jesus on not storing treasure on earth). Matthew 25: 41-45 (Jesus on not caring for those with less than us). Acts 4: 32-35 (early church example). What a challenge! If we claim to be followers of Jesus we need to show compassion to our fellow man/woman. Who is my neighbour? If he is living in a storm drain does he care that society is becoming more secular? Will who is sitting in the White House make a difference to his life? Why has President Obama struggled to make good on his election promises? What has obstructed him? Should it matter to me that the media is constantly going on about abuses of the benefits system in my country if just one person created in God’s image genuinely has no place to sleep and nothing to eat? I have sinned. I think I need to be on my knees.

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