01 Nov 2012 Values, Beliefs Lost on Election Day, by Archbishop Council Nedd II
In post-election post-mortem mode, many so-called Christian conservatives wonder why President Obama won so decisively. They similarly scratch their heads over same-sex marriage victories in Maryland and Maine and defeated pro-life candidates in states once thought to be reliably conservative.
I contend everyone has lost focus on the modern relationship between politics and faith.
The moral vacuum created by a declining faith benefits liberal politicians and policies.
In the final days, I became too vested in the recent election. I began believing the election of the wrong person would immediately and adversely affect my life. This is just not true.
While I disagree with Obama’s vision and find his logic on the economy, health care and foreign policy to be flawed, I don’t believe his reelection will immediately lead to the chronically ill dying in the streets for lack of health care. Fortune 500 companies will not vanish into thin air right away. I sleep confident that I won’t awake to a North Korean invasion imagined in the remake of “Red Dawn.”
But there are serious issues our nation must address, and my daily prayer is that President Obama permits the Lord to work in his heart to find the solutions. The nation won’t collapse overnight, but a prolonged decline will undoubtedly make things a lot more uncomfortable.
Yet I still remain firmly convinced our nation will endure. Why do I stand fast in this belief? I do so because, from America’s founding through today, our fate has rested on the shoulders of Jesus Christ.
The Lord made His face to shine on our great land. There are still so many signs He has not removed his favor from us.
Conservatives seem to have forgotten his divine presence. That’s a mistake.
I support Tea Party advocates bringing good economic issues to the forefront of America’s political discourse. I fear, however, their efforts may suffer the same fate as the Whigs in the mid-19th century. Focused on economic matters, the Whigs did not seriously address slavery, the crucial social issue of the day. They eventually found themselves cast into political obscurity and now are only a political curiosity from America’s past.
Tea Party activists embrace tax reform without readily accepting that wealth is a gift from God, from whom all blessings flow. Seeking the gift without acknowledging and honoring the gift-giver is selfish secularism. Unabated, this will either end in people worshiping wealth as a false idol or encourage the notion that God is no longer necessary.
Separating faith and morality from the governing process secures a liberal agenda.
Many conservative friends from my former political life readily admit they do not regularly attend church. They claim offense at billboards mocking God and similar rhetorical jabs from liberals, agnostics and atheists, but they don’t exactly live a Godly lifestyle themselves. They protest elements of Islam being integrated into mainstream America, but they will not profess their own faith.
It’s not really a tenable position. There is not enough guile in my body to criticize the religious beliefs of others while making no attempt to practice my own.
After deciding I was too vested in this election, I determined my role is to pray I am a good citizen in God’s kingdom. I must focus on the job that He has for me. I also pray others realize where their true focus should be.
Obama and Romney chose to strive to reach the pinnacle of a modern day Tower of Babel. Billions of dollars were spent in a feeble attempt to glimpse the face of God. The result reminded me of something one of my political mentors told me almost 20 years ago. Romney could have spent one dollar on his presidential campaign and achieved the exact same result.
As God spoke to Solomon, one of the most wise and wealthiest humans ever to live: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
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Archbishop Council Nedd II, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church and the chairman of In God We Trust. Comments may be sent to [email protected].
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.