Can a Christian Hate President Obama?
- Dr. Roger Barrier Preach It, Teach It
- 2015 22 Jan
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in January 2015. We thought it would be interesting, given the current state of things, to revisit Dr. Roger's answer, subbing in the name of the 45th president in place of the 44th...
Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a Christian and I hate Barack Obama. I hate his namby-pamby political stances, I hate his executive orders. I hate his complete disregard for utilizing the democratic system established for checks and balances. I hate the fact that, of all the world leaders joining to march against terrorism in Paris, he was conspicuously absent. I believe he will bankrupt us and limit our religious freedom. I am scared. I have seen a lot of presidents, but this one makes me afraid to live in this country.
I know, as a Christian, I am to love and forgive. But, come on, when can Christians stand up and stop the madness? Or are we going to sit idly by and let our freedoms circle the drain?
I want a biblical answer, not a political one. I don’t expect to force you to expose your political leanings. What does God say, and, as a Christian, what am I supposed to do?
Disgruntled and Depressed Christian
Before I start, I first want to say that God has given us a wealth of Scripture to pray for our country and for our leaders. One of the very best sites is a list of Scripture prayers. It is a comprehensive and extremely helpful guide through God’s Word. Don’t complain. Pray the Word of God. http://www.prayingscriptures.com/government.shtml
Regardless of who leads our country, I wonder if we are getting what we deserve. In 1 Samuel, Israel began asking for a king (1 Samuel 8-12). The Lord God Jehovah had protected Israel and had given them great victories. But the people clambered for Samuel to give them a king like all the other nations.
God said to the people, "Okay. If you don't want me then I'll give you a king. Let me tell you what the king will do to you. Your enemies will take your fields and your vineyards. He will take your sons and make them serve in the Army where they will be killed and mutilated. He will take your daughters and make them slaves. The king you want will take a 10th of all your grain and of all your wine. He will take for his own use the best of your flocks, donkeys and cattle. And the day will come when you will cry out for relief, but I will not answer you.”
On the day of anointing, Saul, the King Elect, was nowhere to be found. Three days later he was located hiding among the donkeys. Poor leadership here! Such was the first king of Israel. Totally unqualified, was he, for the job.
In my (and Jesus’) opinion, we are not to hate Barack Obama. But we certainly can feel sorry for him. He is in way over his head. Without a doubt we have the right to disagree with his policies, his leadership, his attitudes and refusal to compromise. By the way, it is not his job to blame others for refusing to negotiate. As the leader of the nation, he is to instigate the compromising. Securing beneficial compromise is one of his first orders of business.
Everything that God said to Israel came true. As the years passed, and the people continued rejecting God, the entire nation slid into chaos. You can read all about Israel’s inadequate leaders in the Book of Judges. The nation was a wreck.
Many Christians are wondering when God is going to judge America for its sin and debauchery. According to Romans 1, our nation is now under the judgment of God. "If you don't want me, then you are on your own," God says.
Mrs. Billy Graham said, "If God does not judge America he will have to explain it to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
In my opinion, when great leadership and integrity was called for, Israel got King Saul instead. We may have gotten the “king” or leader we deserve.
My soul resonates with your description of your struggles with his policies, behaviors and lack of strong, righteousness leadership. For me, the defining moment of disappointment came when he “drew a line in the sand” and promised the Syrian leaders, that if they used chemical weapons, America would step in and stop the civil war and atrocities.
Shortly thereafter it was proved that Syrian leaders were spraying the rebels with chemicals. President Obama froze. He did nothing, and in backing down we lost our place of leadership in the eyes of the world. I feel sorry for him and I feel grieved for my country.
I don’t hate him. However, I certainly feel compassion for him and he needs our earnest prayers.
Many Christian groups and churches proactively pray for our nation and its leaders. One example is the Presidential Prayer Team: www.presidentialprayerteam.com. Don’t fret alone. Find a prayer group and get busy.
In his defense, many feel Obama was never qualified for this job. Not only did he have little political experience, but he is well-known as an introvert who has trouble relating to people. As a result, compromise between the White House and Congress has ground to a halt. Our nation drifts further and further away from the safety of Jesus. I’m sad.
Lyndon Johnson was a great networker. He knew how to network and compromise with Congress and much was accomplished under his leadership. Unfortunately, much of his good work was overshadowed by Vietnam.
One of the characteristics people look for the most in their leaders is integrity. We want a person who is honest and fair. Some feel Obama has failed to be proactive in dealing with racial conflict in this country.
We must all be careful to remember that we all look at racial issues through our own unique backgrounds. Intolerance and racial prejudice is a serious powder keg, both here and around the world.
I'm trying to be kind. But the truth is, it's hard not to disapprove of a person's behavior without despising the person. But that's why we are Christians. We love and forgive.
Honestly, don't criticize me for sounding negative; but America may be well past the point of no return. God may already have said, "Okay you're now on your own." Just look at the sin in our culture. Notice how the number of agnostics and atheists is increasing.
In Genesis 18 we see that God will stay his hand as long as there is a greater proportion of God-followers as compared to God-rejectors. We are entering what sociologists are calling “Generation None”. The rise of the "Nones" suggests the end of religion as we know it. Forget churches; forget priests and pastors; forget the Bible; forget Jesus, and on and on it goes. None of us know the time schedule when, finally, the weight of the Nones outweighs the number of Christians in America. But when that day comes, the fire will fall.
I don’t believe that it’s hopeless. You ask what should we Christians do to stand up to this madness? You ask are we just going to let our freedoms circle down the drain?
Let me give you several suggestions of what we can do.
First is the standard answer, we can pray and do all we can to support our government and its leaders (Romans 13:1-7).We are to obey our elected officials, the laws of our land, and the Constitution. Paul tells us that governments are ordained by God to keep law and order. So we pray for our president and politicians because the easier life and leading are for them, the better it is for us.
Of course, civil disobedience is always a consideration in a democracy. When a government leans toward totalitarianism, it has lost its right to lead.
Second, we can run for political office. At the very least we can volunteer to help politicians who have the same values as we. Everyone knows that the real power in America is at the grassroots level which determines who wins and who loses.
Third, remember love. This is what we Christians are to do best and love is our best chance to win our country to Christ and bring in the Kingdom of God on earth.
Many believe that we should raise the bar in the requirements for a leader of our nation. For example, some believe we should call for a new constitutional amendment requiring that presidential candidates must live the vast majority of his or her life in the United States and not in other countries. After all, the Constitution requires that presidents must be 35 years or older. They need some seasoning before leading a nation. In the same way, potential presidential candidates who have spent most of their lives, or at least their growing up years, overseas, are too out of touch to make good decisions for our United States.
D.D. Christian, I sense much emotion in your email. I think that the bottom line of your question revolves around loving the man, or at the very least feeling compassion for him, while hating the things he does that you don't like.
I hope that you find my response helpful. We could talk politics for hours. My greatest hope is that our political leaders would lay aside personal agendas, return to godly values and lead with wisdom, humility and integrity lest we slip further and further into abysmal destruction. We need God’s mercy and a revival.
"[I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." >2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.