Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Not That Bad, Considering

Hype

Folks, I am a die-hard conservative. Want me to prove it?

  • If I were Catholic – which I’m not – I’d nominate President Ronald Reagan for sainthood.
  • I was a registered Republican long before “hanging chads” were even a problem and didn’t like Al Gore (a fellow Tennessean) even when his wife, Tipper, hated rock music.
  • I still wear a vintage, hand-made, limited edition Rush Limbaugh tie every once in a while.
  • In the 80’s one of my heroes was Alex P. Keaton.

So, in other words, when I say I am a conservative, it’s not hype. However, I feel much of the ruckus over President Obama’s comments at the recent National Prayer Breakfast is, in my opinion, not much more than that…hype. To be clear, let’s define hype:

noun extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion.
verb promote or publicize intensively or extravagantly.*

Oh, don’t misunderstand me! I have many issues with the POTUS and his policies, especially those which undermine our freedom of religious expression in the workplace and the public square. But the way some on my side of the political camp, especially those of the religious persuasion, have attacked Obama for his comments at a multi-faith prayer breakfast seems to be over-the-top – more hype than anything – especially considering the context.

Context

Like I said in the title of this post, the POTUS’ speech was not that bad, that is, if you consider where he was making the speech, to whom he was speaking, and all that he could have said, but didn’t. Let’s face it, people, Obama was NOT speaking to a singularly Christian audience; there were many faiths in attendance. So, to say that Obama’s remarks regarding humility were only being directed at Christians is a tad bit disingenuous.

Now, I do not agree that there is any moral equivalency between the Crusades and what ISIS is doing in the world. For that matter, I wish more attention would be paid to the fact that the Crusades were, incidentally, a response to earlier Muslim expansion by the sword; much of the Christian “atrocities” were in response to hundreds of years of Muslim “atrocities.” But the general message of Obama’s speech was one that encouraged tolerance across the board. Even though he made comments highlighting the Crusades, he spent even more time addressing killing in other places around the world, such as Nigeria, India, etc.

Obama is the President, not a preacher or theologian. For that matter, he is not even a historian of any degree. His purpose at that prayer breakfast was ecumenical in nature, to encourage well-meaning citizens of all faiths to seek peace, to seek the face of God, and to renounce violence toward others in the name of religion. He was at a MULTI-FAITH prayer breakfast, for crying out loud! What else did those present expect him to say?

Unreported Positives

Just in case you missed it, there were some other things President Obama said that were encouraging. First, whether he ultimately means it or not, he used the term “freedom of religion” in the same sentence as “freedom of speech”!

“There’s wisdom in our founders writing in those documents that help found this nation the notion of freedom of religion, because they understood the need for humility.  They also understood the need to uphold freedom of speech, that there was a connection between freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  For to infringe on one right under the pretext of protecting another is a betrayal of both.”

As believers, we should hold him to these words, especially when it comes to the public expression of faith on public grounds.

Second, the President took the time to specifically mention three Christians who had either been persecuted or sacrificed for their faith: Kenneth Bae, Pastor Saeed Abedini, and Kent Brantly. And what’s more, he even quoted a portion of a letter from Pastor Abedini, still being held captive in Iran: “Nothing is more valuable to the Body of Christ than to see how the Lord is in control, and moves ahead of countries and leadership through united prayer.”

Third, President Obama quoted more from the Bible than any other religious text. For example, at the end of his speech in one paragraph he quoted from both 1 Corinthians 13:12 and Micah 6:8.

“If we are properly humble, if we drop to our knees on occasion, we will acknowledge that we never fully know God’s purpose.  We can never fully fathom His amazing grace.  “We see through a glass, darkly” — grappling with the expanse of His awesome love.  But even with our limits, we can heed that which is required:  To do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.”

The fourth encouraging thing might be the most overlooked of all: despite everything else, the President of the United States of America is NOT an atheist. Hallelujah at least for that, right?

Conclusion

So, just to recap all I’ve said, I don’t think it was fair to compare the Christian church of today with the Crusades of 800 years ago, especially in the light of what Islam is doing at this moment. It was also irresponsible to morally equate the Crusades to the 15 centuries-worth of Muslim expansion by the sword. That being said, considering the audience and the context of the event, Obama’s speech wasn’t that bad – especially if you’re an ecumenical, pluralistic, main-stream liberal.

So, my fellow conservatives (of all types), quit making such a big deal about this one prayer breakfast…at least Obama went (which is a lot more than we can say for his church attendance). He even got to hear Darrell Waltrip (NASCAR legend) preach the Gospel.

There’s still hope.

*Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

 

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Filed under America, politics, Prayer

National Christmas Tree Speech – A Response

Dear Friends, I don’t want to burst any bubbles or shatter any Christmas ornaments, but Christmas, at least the meaning of Christmas, might not be what you think it is. At least I know this, it is not what the President of the United States’ speech at the 2013 lighting of the National Christmas Tree made it out to be.

Why do I make such a bold and controversial statement?  I say it because the message of Christmas is too important to have pluralists, universalists, and atheists redefine it – even if they occupy the White House.

The U.S. National Christmas Tree shines bright...

Below is an excerpt from President Obama’s December 6th speech at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. Please read it, then my comments.

Each Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with only a stable’s roof to shelter Him.  But through a life of humility and the ultimate sacrifice, a life guided by faith and kindness towards others, Christ assumed a mighty voice, teaching us lessons of compassion and charity that have lasted more than two millennia.  He ministered to the poor. He embraced the outcast.  He healed the sick.  And in Him we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words, but also through our deeds.

It’s a message both timeless and universal — no matter what God you pray to, or if you pray to none at all — we all have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to make a difference that is real and lasting.  We are our brother’s keeper.  We are our sister’s keeper.

When I recently shared my thoughts about this on Facebook, a friend of mine responded with the following words: “[The] president is simply making an appeal to shared values– that even if you don’t believe in God, that you still have the responsibility to make a positive influence in the lives of others– which is exactly what Jesus did.” Oh, I completely understand the reason why a national leader would want to make a universal appeal to “shared values” and the “responsibility to make a positive influence.” However, just for comparison’s sake, listen to what former President Ronald Reagan had to say.

Why don’t we look at the things Obama said about Christmas? Let’s see if we can square what he said with Scripture and try to determine if the President clearly defined the TRUE meaning of Christ’s birth – the “message” of Christmas.

“Each Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child…” I know this may sound like grasping at straws, but Christmas is not about celebrating “a” child’s birth; it is about celebrating the birth of THE child of whom the prophets foretold…God in flesh, Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23).

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 KJV

“Christ assumed a mighty voice…” Christ did more than “assume a mighty voice” as a result of his life of humility, sacrifice, and kindness; Jesus did what he did to prove he was not only the Voice, but the literal Word of God made flesh.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14

“He ministered to the poor. He embraced the outcast.  He healed the sick. And in Him we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words, but also through our deeds.” Yes, Virginia, there is a Jesus, and He did do all of these things. But why? A social gospel is wonderful, except when it leaves out the fact that Jesus did good works to fulfill Scripture (see Isaiah 61:1-2).

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” – Luke 4:18-19

“It’s a message both timeless and universal…” This is where we get into some serious, pluralistic territory. What, exactly, is the “message” that is “timeless and universal”? Obama said “It’s” a message. What’s a message? The birth and life of Christ? Christmas?

I will agree with Mr. Obama on this one thing, that is certainly our responsibility “to ourselves and to each other to make a difference that is real and lasting.” The fact that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers is most certainly a “timeless and universal” message, regardless whether or not we are pagans or atheists. But is this the message of Christmas? Is caring for others the message of Christmas? Simply put, no. It’s so much more than that.

The reason we celebrate Christmas with generosity, usually expressed with the giving of gifts, is because on that morning of which the angels sang (Luke 2) the most extravagant gift ever bestowed upon mankind was delivered, wrapped in the same cloth used to coddle newly-born sacrificial lambs, and laid in a manger. It was the Gift of God to desperate souls. THIS is the reason why we should “love one another.”

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” – 1 John 4:9-11

In Luke 19:10 Jesus stated that the whole reason he came was not to set an example, be a good role model, or even start a religion…he came to save sinful men and women, boys and girls.

“And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:9-10

Truly, the real message is meant for all, for God so loved the world (John 3:16). So, if President Obama wants to call that “universal,” then so be it. But the message of Christ coming to save the lost is NOT “one of many ways to God,” or one of many ways to unite the brotherhood of man. No, the message of Christmas is that Jesus came because there was no other way. The message of Christmas is exclusive to the core (which is the real reason why so many want all vestiges of it removed from public life).

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

America is a nation that accepts people from all walks of life and from every religious background. With rare exception, Lady Liberty will turn no one away (the Department of Immigration is another story). So, the “spirit of Christmas,” that common feeling of generosity and good will we all enjoy this time of year, should be a blessing enjoyed by all. But let us be careful, Mr. President, when we define the Reason for the season as anything other than what the Scripture says.

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Filed under America, Apologetics, Christmas, Faith, General Observations, Love of God, World View

Arguing for Infanticide?

WARNING! The following subject may be unsuitable for some people. If you support abortion you will probably be offended, so just go click something on the Huffington Post’s website. If not that, go watch a video of Bill Mayer bashing Christians, or something. Just understand, this is a WARNING from a pro-life Christian that what I am about to say will not make Planned Parenthood supporters very happy.

(Maybe we’ll get to some more lighthearted posts next week.)

Post-Birth Abortion?

What I am about to share with you goes beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Even those of you who are “pro-choice” should recognize that a line dividing humanity from devils is being crossed.

The video you are about to watch is not new, but it shows a woman by the name of Alisa LaPolt Snow, a lobbyist representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, defending the murder living, breathing, pain-feeling, on-the-table-kicking babies. I recently saw this on a Facebook post and decided I had to comment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=qEv1afKaLhA

It’s Murder

I don’t know how else to define taking the life of a living, breathing, baby but cold-blooded murder. There is no other sensible way to describe it.

And you know what, dear readers, it doesn’t matter a hill of beans what circumstances surround the birth or what may potentially come of the child in question. None of us know what tomorrow holds, so since it is possible we might end up in a vegetative state after a car accident, should we just go ahead and commit suicide? Who are we, then, to commit murder based on what type of life a child may or may not have in the future?

The final questioning in this video had to do with whether or not an abortion doctor should be required to provide transportation to a medical facility for a baby born alive. All Ms. Snow could say was “what if it’s 45 minutes away?”

God help us, people! How calloused can we be?! How could people just sit there with no emotion as a blooming idiot representing Planned Parenthood could deny she knows what happens in an abortion clinic? How could they not rise up with indignation and throw her out of the court room when she admits the thought of the baby actually being the patient was something she had not considered, but was worthy of further discussion?!!

But, you know, why should we criticize Alisa LaPolt Snow and Planned Parenthood? They are, after all, only following in the steps of the great universal health care provider himself, President Obama. Consider the following audio from the Illinois State Senate in 2003. Here Senator Obama makes essentially the same argument as Ms. Snow, but much more eloquently.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUkbuhXzbvI&feature=player_embedded

The sad fact is that a fetus outside the womb is a baby. If that baby is breathing and moving, it is alive. The question of “viability” is no longer part of the equation. To let it die, or to kill it, is without question, except in the mind of those who desire no accountability, murder.

Again, God help us.

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Filed under Abortion, Culture Wars, current events

Reverse-Racism and Legalism

Have You Heard?

Unless you live under a rock or play video games all day while your mom does your laundry and pays your bills, you are probably aware that there was an election held in the United States. And unless you are so “spiritual” that you could care less who leads the nation in which you live, you are probably aware that Barack Obama was elected to a second term.

That being said, I thought I would share with you what happened on Wednesday morning, the day after the election.

Elementary Conclusions

If you do not already know, I drive a school bus in the mornings and afternoons to supplement my income as a bi-vocational pastor. The students I transport range in age from 5 to 18.

On Wednesday morning, after transporting the older students to school, I stopped to pick up my first elementary students. At 7:41 a.m. the first three, two girls and one boy, got on the bus

As happened earlier in the morning with the middle and high school students, chants of “Obama won! Obama won!” rang out and echoed within the aluminum walls of my bus. It was like both young and old went to the same victory rally. Then, a sweet, little girl (I won’t mention her name) came up behind me as I was driving and excitedly asked,

“Did you know Obama won?”

“Yes, I know.”

“Who did you vote for, Mr. Baker?”

“I voted for Mr. Romney.”

“Ewwww! Boooooo! Why did you vote for Romney?”

“Why do you think I voted for Mitt Romney?” I asked.

“Because he was too white, that’s why.”

How insulting! She thought (assumed) that I voted for Romney because he looked like me.  Why would she think that? Whatever she believed is what she was taught at home. Whatever she thought of me was based on what she was told about all white people. What was I supposed to say?

I spoke the truth. “[Little girl],” I said, “that was a very racist statement.”

Alive and Well

Sadly, after all the progress that has been made in this great nation, racism is still alive and well, but not in the form people want to admit. Reverse-racism is just as much racism as any other kind, but few recognize it, and fewer condemn it.

Wednesday morning I was essentially labeled a bigot because I voted for a candidate that was the same race as me. If that was true, then what does it say about those of a different color who voted for the candidate that looked like them? Are they bigots, too?

Believe it or not, legalism and this story have a lot in common. Legalism assumes the thoughts and intentions of another based on outward appearances and man-made teachings. Reverse-racism, at least in my case, assumed my intentions because of my skin color. Now, what was it that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said?

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.…[1]

Legalism ignores the “content of one’s character” as long as outward appearances don’t match a pre-determined template for holiness, while reverse-racism disqualifies legitimate concern and silences those who would speak out.

Both legalism and reverse-racism tend to cause people to act out of fear, rather than conviction. Both steal a person’s God-given freedom to think.

Both are wrong.


[1] William J. Federer, Great Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced According to Their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions (St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch, 2001).

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Filed under America, General Observations, legalism, Uncategorized, voting