Presidential candidate Barack Obama presents himself as Christian. As a candidate in the 2008 Presidential Election, it has become a pre-requisite for people to know that you are a “person of faith”. In the last election, it was widely reported that Democratic candidate John Kerry lost because the Bible belt voted overwhelmingly for President Bush. So in 2008 we have Mr. Obama clearly stating that he is a “man of faith”. Therefore (presumably), the Bible belt should be comfortable with him. As such, it was with bemused interest recently that I read about Mr. Obama while addressing a decidedly non-Christian audience in San Francisco, was taped saying (and I paraphrase) - that because of hard times, bitter small town voters “cling to religion among other vices..” as a result of government abandoning them and allowing their jobs to be shipped elsewhere.
I find it revealing and very much consistent that a candidate like Mr. Obama would view “religion” (which is the politically sanitized way of saying Christianity) is something to cling to when the government fails you. Implied therefore is the inference that when the big ship of government is working properly, one wouldn’t have to cling to a mere driftwood as Christianity. To be sure, Mr. Obama uttered these words in what was supposed to be a private meeting. These were words that were not meant to get out to the audience of "bitter" religious voters. The audience in this meeting room was likely a room full of people who has nothing but contempt for religious voters and values. Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, God had other ideas about publicly revealing what was meant to be private: For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. (Luke 8:17 NIV).
Here’s the irony: what Mr. Obama meant as a slight or a putdown for religious people is in fact a very necessary aspect of our humanity tied to our worship of God. With all the temptations around us in this dark and dying world, as Christians we MUST cling to our faith, cling to our Christianity. This world is incredibly designed to pull us away from our faith in Christ. Christ warns us about the desires of the world as a barrier to true Christian living: but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1: 14-15 NIV). Unwittingly, what Mr. Obama suggests is quite true. When we have the resources that jobs provide for us, we tend NOT to cling to our religion. We cling to things; the things that our fat or not so fat paychecks can buy for us. We become easily enticed, and all too often, that enticement drags us away from God as opposed to our clinging to Him. God says in the Book of Romans: …hate what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).
Christianity (not religion) is something to cling to. We do well to cling to it; else we risk being dragged away by the enticement of this evil and perverse world. If Mr. Obama has his way, his form of government evidently is aimed at eliminating the need to cling to your Christianity. Christian buyer bewares.
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