I pray to God I don’t get the opportunity to put into practice something that would be very difficult for me: to respect a president who behaves reprehensibly and says such outlandish things as does one of the current candidates running for the highest political office in our country. For years I’ve been dismayed at the number of Christian people who speak disrespectfully of our current president. I’ve wished for those brothers and sisters in faith to show respect just because it’s the right thing to do. Respect. A modicum of esteem for a person created in the image of God and placed in authority over us as citizens of the USA. Placed in authority over us by God if we believe the Bible. In Romans, chapter 13, scripture says…
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (…vss 3-4) 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
As it is now, some faithful church going people don’t afford our president any deference at all, and some demonize him. Why? Some of his political stances don’t align with their Christian views. But in fairness, as Christians, some of our religious convictions don’t align with each others religious convictions or political views. And some of the most dogmatic stances don’t align with Jesus’ greatest commandments to love God and love people.
Now I don’t know for sure, and neither do you, who loves or doesn’t love God. I can’t see into minds and hearts, but I can clearly see who loves people– by their words and actions — by their fruits, as it were.
So, where do we go with that?
Would I be able to love and respect this particular candidate who is running away with votes of people I call brothers and sisters in Christ should he hold office one day? Would I have to?
We are at an astounding place in the history of the USA where disrespect and disobedience toward powers that be is flagrantly flaunted. And sadly, the bad example set politically is adhered to by some religious leaders and their followers. In the name of God half truths abound spreading fear and panic. And really, what does the slogan “Take back America” mean? Take the country back from what? From a black president is what I gather. A man who loves his family and his country and wants to make our corner of the world a better place for all people. After all, making our country a better place for all people fulfills the intentions of the founding fathers, doesn’t it? Or does it? Our founding fathers were not opposed to eradicating native Americans, enslaving African Americans, suppressing women, and sanctioning white supremacy. All of which could be backed up in Scripture…if you didn’t know any better. Many people of faith were on board, some still are, God help us.
Is that the America we want to take back? And if the candidate who espouses that becomes our president, do I have to honor, respect, and obey him? Save for this Bible passage from Psalms 73, the answer is yes… (Taken from The New York Times Opinion Page, by David Brooks, March 18, 2016)
“History is a long record of men like him temporarily rising, stretching back to biblical times. Psalm 73 describes them: Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. … They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
And yet their success is fragile: Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly they are destroyed.
The psalmist reminds us that the proper thing to do in the face of demagogy is to go the other way — to make an extra effort to put on decency, graciousness, patience and humility, to seek a purity of heart that is stable and everlasting.” David Brooks
Demagogy — a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power. Surely in politics my person has done this to some degree over the years and so has yours. But this current candidate is running on little more than popular prejudices and false claims and getting away with it. He lacks experience, credentials and decency, but alas, that’s of little consequence because… he speaks his mind.
As for me, I prefer someone who speaks their mind with humility and grace.
Before 2008 Obama may have been your guy or not. In 2012 he may have been your guy or not. But after each election he was our guy — the president of our country — and it was our job to get behind him as best our conscience would allow. If you didn’t, shame on you. In 2016 there will be a new president. Whoever it is, they will be our president and it will be our job to get behind them. If I don’t, shame on me.