Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Christian Support For Obama Declines

I can't remember where it was in my daily business that I ran across this article, but I found it interesting, and the Barna group usually does a good, reliable job at statistics. There's no date on the online version of the article, but I find it interesting that it's making its way around the web the day of the health care bill signing, even though health care gets but a small paragraph of attention in the article. The research was obviously done before the current bill was even close to being passed.

There is also always a question of labels: "born again" verses "evangelical" verses "committed Christian." It's hard to keep everybody straight, let alone trying to understand how these specific groups feel about the president and his job performance so far.

If I were asked to participate in the study, I would have responded that President Obama has pretty much performed his duties in the manner that I expected him to, if I were to recall my predictions before the election took place. I guess I'm a bit surprised that so many Christians (evangelical, born again, or otherwise) have been so taken off guard by his job performance so far. What did they expect? It seems to me that President Obama has pretty much done what he said he would do (at least in some arenas - others have yet to be determined), whether I agree with him or not. In other words, you've got to give the guy credit for sticking to his guns.

69% of American Christians are at least "dissatisfied" with the president (note: this is not just Christians who voted for him, but Christians in total), and 25% of Christians have been surprised that he is more liberal than they expected. It's interesting to note that two thirds of all Americans feel that the president has met their ideological expectations of him.

Considering that 42% of born again Christians voted for Obama, which translates to 40% of the electorate, then that means that there are a boatload of Christians who aren't getting from President Obama what they thought they were getting, and as a result, they are dissatisfied with him. But if indeed Obama has not acted out of character in his decisions and policies thus far in his presidency, and if the actions that he has taken were foreseeable (which I believe they were), then, quite frankly, a lot of Christians goofed - big time.

I'm not calling Obama's politics into question here, although I certainly have vehement disagreement with them. What I am calling into question is the American Christian's ability to be biblically discerning in the voting process. What frustrates me is not so much that Christians voted for Obama, but that they voted for him blindly, seemingly without examining what the ramifications of what a President Obama would be. Perhaps they got caught up in his celebrity; perhaps they were persuaded by his superior oratory skills; perhaps they just did what their friends were doing. None of these are wise reasons to vote for anyone. In fact, the Bible warns against all of these as reasons for following or trusting someone.

Let me reiterate that I'm not saying that voting for Obama was sinful or evil. What I am saying is that doing something - that is, anything - without sound biblical counsel and discernment is unwise and dangerous. I'm also not saying that being biblically discerning would have necessarily lead someone to vote for John McCain, or against Obama in some way. We just need to know what we're doing, why were doing it (according to scripture), and what the ramifications for our actions will be. If you wanted to vote for Obama, fine, but let's know why he is the right choice biblically. The same thing applies to a vote for McCain. This is where a lot of conservative Christians fail: voting for a republican candidate simply because he is a republican, which lacks just as much discernment as someone voting for Obama because of his celebrity.

This applies to all circumstances - not just politics. And when we realize the ramifications, we must pray, perhaps repent, and learn from our mistakes.


CD Burning said...

Good article. Don't take this the wrong way but the American Christian community is becoming more fearful. I see them as representing the symbol of the Pharisee. I think Obama as a person has a more compassionate heart than a lot of the Christian leaders.

Jesus in his days was not liked very much by the conservative crowd......many thought he was too liberal.

Joel said...

Thanks for the comment!

I'm not necessarily criticizing Obama's compassion or politics, but rather the people's seeming inability to put together a biblical case for supporting him, which we should have for anyone we support or follow. I agree that Christians might be becoming more fearful, which just reiterates my point: a lot of Christians don't know scripture or theology.