Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Does it Matter if the President is a Christian?

Here's why I ask - it's been rumored that Obama is a closet Muslim.   It's also been debunked but the false rumors persist.   As a result, there has been significant interest in his "spiritual journey".  

McCain, typically private about such matters, has referred to his Christian faith in speeches and on the campaign trail.   Sarah Palin has excited the conservative evangelical wing of the Republican party, in no small part because she unashamedly a professing Christian, upholding Christian values.

It seems to be a political tradition for Presidential candidates to tout their "street cred" as Christians.   I don't necessarily blame the candidates - they are playing the sandbox we've all created for them.   I have to admit, in some ways it makes me sad when the name of Christ is leveraged as a political tool rather than compelling worship. 

So it made me wonder - does it really matter if the next President is a professing Christian?  If so, why?  Does it matter if the next President ends up being Muslim or Mormon?   Also, if an authentic Christian faith becomes a litmus test, how can any of us be an adequate judge of such matters?   I have enough trouble discerning my own heart, how can I be equipped to test the heart of another?

I'm not saying that ethics and morality are unimportant.  On the contrary, I think they are highly important but looking for the Christian label before we vote doesn't seem to be wise or biblically sound.    Using our best judgment, we ought to vote the best person for the job, taking into account - qualification, experience, character and ethics.   And, we ought to pray for wisdom.

What do you think?  


Ted M. Gossard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Red Letter Believers said...


Good post.

My opinion is that I just wish they would be quiet about it. If they dont really mean it, just keep it shut.

Don't pander to me. Don't try to sway me with "Jesus talk" cuz I'm not buying it!

Had a post on this last year --


Ted M. Gossard said...

I answered your good question on my blog.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I agree with your words here, ESI. Decided to delete my original comment because even though I thought it served to illustrate the point you made, just from one person's judgment- my own- I was uncomfortable with leaving it- too political- ha.

But while I'm not interested in pandering for the public I am interested if one does speak of their faith in terms of their life and politics. But I can't vote for someone just because they're a professing Christian and the other is not. I want to weigh everything as much as possible, prayerfully, then make a judgment. Knowing that other Christians will see it differently for good reasons as well.

Sam Van Eman said...

It's tough to buy what they profess when campaign ads, approved by each candidate, drags his/her opponent through the dirt.

I blogged on the following quote re: advertisers (It's not exactly correct, but pretty darn close), and I think it fits here, too:

"Sport is like martial arts. We don't aim to expose our opponent's weaknesses but to exert our potential strengths. Our opponent is not the enemy."
- Japanese baseball coach

It's tough to win my confidence about the Christian claim when they openly violate basic respect and love for their opponents.

Every Square Inch said...

RLB - yeah, I understand your sentiment. It's why I'm a little saddened - Jesus Christ seems little more than a tool to win votes. Although, in the primaries, I thought Huckabee seemed both genuine in faith and yet, compelling in how he represented that aspect in the public square

Ted - I'm pretty sure we shouldn't be voting for someone just because he/she is a professing Christian.

Sam- you make a good point. How they conduct their campaigns often speak louder than words

Ted M. Gossard said...

I was spoiled by the U.S. Congressman, Paul Henry, my own favorite all time politician. He had been a professor at Calvin College and is the son of Carl F. Henry, the evangelical theologian. Paul was good friends with each opponent and they actually talked respectfully over issues. Of course Henry was spoiled because no race he was in that I can recall was close.

If you go to Allan Bevere's blog, you find a truth check on the side, and truth is violated on both sides. I suppose sometimes mistakenly, but it's the way campaigns are run.

Being a professing Christian and living it in the way of Jesus are certainly two different things. I do try to find their world view and their understanding of that including coherency, etc., in speaking of it.

Red Letter Believers said...


You mentioned Huckabee, but I listened to Brownback (who dropped out very early.) That man was genuine!