Evangelical leaders have been quick in responding to President Obama’s re-election. Franklin Graham warned, “If we are allowed to go down this road in the path that this president wants us to go down, I think it will be to our peril and to the destruction of this nation.” Pro-life advocates have expressed their strong disappointment as well.
Such responses raise the question: how should Christians disagree with our president? As I said yesterday, we owe him our intercession (1 Timothy 2:1-2) and support (Romans 13:1-2). However, as is true with any leader, we will likely disagree with some of his positions. What do we do then?
This question is personal for me. For instance, I disagree with the president on abortion. My conviction is grounded in biblical truth (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:4-5) as well as our Declaration of Independence, which states that “all men are created equal” and “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life . . .” From creation we are equal, endowed by our Creator with the right to life.
I also disagree with the president on gay marriage. The Bible consistently warns against homosexual activity (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10); Jesus affirmed marriage as a sacred bond between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6). And I disagree with Mr. Obama on embryonic stem cells. Because I believe that life begins at conception, every embryo is precious to God. None should be created for the purpose of research, only for life.
With these objections in mind, how should I respond to the president’s re-election? By obeying my highest authority. Paul instructed me to submit to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1); Peter taught me to “honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). At the same time, the apostles refused to obey the authorities when they prohibited them from preaching the gospel: “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
How do we serve both God and our president? Max Lucado, the well-known pastor and author, offers this counsel: “Let others lose sleep over the election. Let others grow bitter from party or petty rivalries. Let others cast their hope with the people of the elephant or the donkey. Not followers of Jesus. We place our trust in the work of God.
“How many kings has he seen come and go? How many nations has he seen stand and fall? He is above them all. And he oversees them all. So, while others get anxious, we don’t. Here is what we do: we pray.”
I agree. So I will pray for our president and support his positions whenever I can do so while remaining loyal to my King. Where I cannot, I will voice my opposition and work to persuade others to affirm biblical truth as I understand it. In so doing, I will seek to validate Daniel Webster’s observation: “Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens.” In these days, America needs both.