No matter who we voted for in the presidential election, many of us — perhaps most of us — felt a patriotic pride in seeing America’s first African American president take the oath of office. As Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “There was a low-key patriotic fervor” on Inauguration Day, and as Obama was sworn in, children who were watching “must have picked up this: Anything is possible in America.”
I agree. Despite my concerns of some over Obama’s campaign promises, I felt that same good will watching that historic scene.
I also thought what a great signal this inauguration was to young African Americans, so many thousands of whom end up in prison. Tragically, many of these young men grow up fatherless. And they go to prison blaming the fact that as blacks they couldn’t get a fair break in American life. Well, Obama has proved that wrong. Every American has a chance to be president.
As Christians, we should be the first to applaud when we see the President doing the right thing. One of his first acts as president was to enact a new ethics code, barring anyone who leaves the Obama administration from lobbying the executive branch during the remainder of his term. And according to the Washington Post, the “rules also bar registered lobbyists from working in the administration on areas in which they have lobbied” two years prior to their appointment. Good! This reform is long overdue.
I was also heartened by the president’s order for more transparency in government. So long as we protect national security, government should be open.
But alas—by Friday, my euphoria was fading. President Obama overturned the Mexico City policy, meaning that hundreds of millions of your tax dollars will go to groups that aggressively promote and perform abortions. In his inaugural address, the President said that he would free science from its restraints and restore it to its rightful place. Translate that to mean that taxpayers are going to be funding embryo-destructive research (despite the fact that all the successes in such research have come about using adult stem cells).
So it is very clear that the question of life and how we view it, which is central to everything, is on the table. And Christians must be compelled to defend the sanctity of life at every stage, from conception to natural death; it’s integral to the Gospel.
As the late Fr. Richard Neuhaus and I argued in an Evangelicals and Catholics Together document, “...Christians who support the legal license to kill the innocent... [must] consider whether they have not set themselves against the will of God and, to that extent, separated themselves from the company of Christian discipleship." Strong words.
But the life issue is not just one cause out of many that conservative Christians are concerned with; it is the overriding, overarching issue, with implications for every other issue, as I will be discussing in the next few days.
As we watch the new administration unfold, we must be in constant prayer for our new leader, as the Bible commands. Now I know how politics work, I'm not naive, but the survival of our way of life is at stake. So we must be praying hard-fervently- that President Obama will listen to wise counselors — and then have the courage to do the right thing.
From BreakPoint®, January 27, 2009, Copyright 2009, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. “BreakPoint®” and “Prison Fellowship Ministries®” are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship