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Presidential Prophecies Revisited

The path the road to the White House has taken has not been too surprising. In fact, it's just as I predicted. Some of you may recall that back on January 11, I used this column to announce five prophecies about the presidential election.

I was making predictions any could have made without godly revelation. They included:

1) Between now and the November election, I will hear some Christian leaders assure me that a given candidate and that candidate alone is the only responsible choice for fellow Christians.

2) Various Christian leaders will give this unqualified support to more than one candidate, and

3) The religious beliefs and moral convictions of the candidates will receive increasing scrutiny between now and November.

While these predictions have all come true, I did not expect the forum led by the Rev. Rick Warren at Saddleback Church which raised the awareness of religious concerns to a new high. The forum encouraged a more open discussion of faith and values than we have seen previously.

I also did not predict the Pulpit Freedom Sunday held on September 28 in which several dozen pastors around the country would follow through on announced intentions to very plainly endorse candidates from their pulpits. This was a test to the IRS ruling that churches will lose their tax exempt status in exchange for claiming the right to make those endorsements.

Those pulpit pronouncements included the unexpected as the Rev. Wiley S. Drake of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, California endorsed himself for president on the American Independent Party ticket. Even if all forty something persons in attendance are influenced to vote for their pastor, it is likely to leave the national picture unchanged.

I never confuse the United States of America with the Kingdom of God. We are a great nation, but we will never reach heavenly perfection. We will always fall short of the glory of God. With that said, I do find this relatively new human experiment in the form of our representational government to be wonderfully reflective of the godly ideal of seeing each person as valuable.

In so many ways governments through the ages have been led by the few with the idea that a select few know what is best for the masses. The select few may have won that honor on the battlefield, or by virtue of birth or some other means, but the idea was still that the unwashed masses are not valued in the process.

Itís taken more than 200 years for our developing system to enfranchise more and more citizens, to the point that landowner and tenant have equal vote available. A business owner can have his vote cancelled out by his or her employees and so on. We value the input of all our citizens and encourage all of voting age to participate, with as few restrictions as we can muster (such as prohibiting voting by convicted felons).

This system has its flaws to be sure. Persons who do not keep up with the issues may vote equally with anyone who does work to educate his or herself about the policies and approaches represented by each candidate.

Yet there is something marvelous in our way of valuing the vote of all citizens irrespective of the various factors which convey status in a society. It is like seeing through a glass darkly to be sure, but it is still a glimpse at Godís kingdom in which we know that our Lord Jesus values those fully who others would not even notice (if at all possible).

This system means that there will inevitably be conflict. There is no way that hundreds of millions of us can agree on anything, much less the best approach to governing this nation. Thatís why we count on our collective opinions expressed in the voting booth to determine the course of our nation. It is a given that this means that we will all, at times, be led by people with whom we strongly disagree. This comes to the fourth of my previous predictions:

4) No matter who is elected as the next President of the United States of America, some Christians will be elated thinking that this is Godís will, while some others will wonder how it happened that God didnít get Godís way with the electorate.

I have strong political opinions. I do not express them anywhere but the voting booth. They are heart-felt, prayerfully made choices. Not everyone in my church will agree with me on them and that is fine by me.

I donít keep my political views close to the vest because others might disagree, I do so out of a humility born by the sure and certain knowledge that I can be wrong. I have gotten things wrong before and will again and I donít want others to confuse my views on an election as Godís views. I reserve my public statements to matters theological, which is broad enough terrain, thank you.

Committed Christians can and will disagree on many things. I mean real, honest-to-goodness, Bible-reading, church-attending followers of Jesus. As this is true, how much more lack of agreement will we find among the many sorts and conditions of people of faith across this country? Thatís just considering the faithful.

The question is not can we all agree, because we canít. The question is can we all work together for the common good. And that I believe we can do, which brings me to the last of my earlier prophecies:

5) God can use whoever is elected and that person will need the prayerful support of all people of religious convictions.

I said back in January that I wanted to get this prophecy out early before things heated up too much. Well the public discourse is running very hot these days. I know that some look on the Obama/Biden ticket with a messianic zeal while others see McCain/Palin as the only moral choice.

I see four humans standing for election. And we know we humans usually disappoint one another. I also know that whoever wins, he will not be fully up to the great demands to be made on any president. Neither one of the men is up to the job on his own strength alone. No one is.

Say your prayers. Make your choice. Cast your vote. Then whether you agree or disagree with the person elected, letís agree to support the new president with prayer.

As Paul counseled Timothy (I Timothy 2:1-2), ďI urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.Ē

(The Rev. Frank Logue is pastor of King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland.)

 

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