November 08, 2012

Obama's Reelection and My Long-Term Optimism

If you're like me, you're "grieving the wickedness of our nation's reelection of President Barack Obama to a second term in the White House," as Presbyterian pastor Tim Bayly puts it. As you may or may not know, Mr. Obama is a man who once refused to support legislation which would protect babies who were born alive.

"Professing Christians who voted for Obama were either confusedly or rebelliously heaping up judgment for all of us," adds pastor (and Hitchens sparring partner) Douglas Wilson. "Given the wickedness of key elements in Obama's agenda (abortion, sodomy, thievery through taxation, etc.) we know that whatever the Lord is doing, it is for judgment and not for blessing."

But that's just it: Because the Lord is doing it, we need not fret. In an excellent blog post entitled "Christians, Let’s Honor the President," Russell Moore reminds us that "in the mystery of providence, God has decided that Barack Obama would be re-elected." As Wilson rightly says,
Jesus is the Lord of history, and so He is the one who gave this electoral outcome to us. We don't fully know why He did, but we know that He did. ... And in Scripture, whenever judgment is pending, or has begun, the appropriate response is repentance -- not mobilization or organizing our remaining tatters. ...
Repent of what? Repent of our sins. Believe what? Believe in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.
That is wise counsel. And it would have been wise counsel had the moderate Republican from Massachusetts prevailed on Tuesday. I have sinned grievously and learned little in my 46 years, but if there's one thing I have learned -- and hope my children will learn -- it's that the life of a Christian must consist of repentance and faith, every day. Repentance and faith, every hour -- maybe several times an hour. Repentance and believing God’s promises.

In addition, Wilson advises, "over the next four years our energies should be focused on getting all Christian kids out of the government schools. If your kids are educated by people who are soft in the head, why would you expect them to grow up and not vote for people who are soft in the head? Students become like their teachers (Luke 6:40). Don't lament the fact that Obama won if over 90 percent of your children's teachers voted for him."

As Joseph Sobran put it in an essay that I commissioned eight years ago, "public schools, as they now exist, are designed to produce good little secularized liberals. Since liberals have low birth rates, the public schools have served as a sort of alternative reproductive system for liberalism." (It's not just K-12, of course. Higher education, too, is busy pumping out the next generation of Obamas.)

Now don't misunderstand. I'm not giving up on this grand American experiment in ordered liberty. The morning after the election, I was back at work doing what I always do. But I can say with the psalmist, "I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother." Followers of Christ can proceed cheerfully and with a quieted soul if we keep in mind something crucially important: This world is not our home. We are exiles. As Marvin Olasky reminds us in his excellent little book Standing for Christ in a Modern Babylon (read some key excerpts here), America is not some sort of holy Old Testament theocracy (nor should it be), and Americans are not God's chosen people. Christians in America are exiles in Babylon. Here's some good advice for us:
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Christians are "long-term optimists," Olasky says, because we know how this movie ends. Heck, I'm such a long-term (a trillion years, give or take) optimist that last year, when American birth rates were the lowest ever recorded, I was tickled pink to usher another immortal soul into Mr. Obama's America.


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