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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Christianity and the Presidency, part two

In a previous post, I argued that the New Testament teaches, unambiguously, that President Obama and other leaders deserve our respect and should be honored for their service. I wish to consider some other issues.

1) Does respect and honor mean that you, or I, can't vote against a sitting President or other elected official? I don't think so. There may be important issues where we disagree with an elected official, and that would be a legitimate reason to vote against that person. This is especially true if the official takes some unbiblical position, such as persecution of Christians. Paul stood up to various authorities occasionally, including a high priest and Peter.

2) Does the Bible require that we honor candidates for office in the same way as a current official? I don't think so. I think we should respect, and have a certain degree of admiration, for anyone putting themselves on the line to run for President, City Council, or any other office. Without such candidates, our system wouldn't work. But respect and admiration don't need to go so far for a candidate as for someone who holds office. There are candidates who run for frivolous reasons, including two professional comedians who have, sort of, run for President within my lifetime. There are some candidates for local office who seem to run out of spite, or even so that they can financially advantage themselves through the office sought. There are candidates who are not well qualified. In the 2010 election in South Carolina, the Democratic candidate for U. S. Senate was not well qualified for the office, and even some officials of his party admitted that he wasn't. For the more important offices, at least, in the early stages, candidates may not have had their past life examined thoroughly. This seems to have been true of Herman Cain, who was for a time a candidate for President this year. I can admire Mr. Cain for his willingness to run, but I don't have to admire him about everything, if the allegations of sexual harassment, or worse, that were placed against him, are true.

3) Now, a different sort of side issue. The previous post referred to some disrespect of President Obama, relating to the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Some people aren't giving the President any credit. I personally believe that he deserves some of the credit, if credit is the right word for assassinating someone on the territory of another country*. He at least allowed this to take place, however else he may have been involved, and he appointed Leon Panetta as CIA director. It is true that the President didn't gather the intelligence, plan the mission, run communications, transport the assassins, or pull the trigger. However, if he gets no credit for this, by the same logic, it would seem that he shouldn't be blamed for some of our problems with the economy. He wasn't a greedy banker, he didn't take on mortgages that he couldn't pay for, etc.

4) On the other side, it is also possible for the administration to claim too much credit, or to inflate the importance of the death of Bin Laden, and, no doubt, there has been and will be some of that. That shouldn't be done, either.

*Some Christians are pacifists, and believe that no war is justified, and, I suppose, don't believe that killing someone in cold blood in a sovereign nation that we aren't at war with is justified, either. Other Christians believe that some wars are justified, and some are not. At least some of them believe that the killing of Bin Laden was justified. See here for a discussion of this subject.

Thanks for reading.

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