In his final State of the Union, President Barak Obama spoke head on to the fear mongering that has become so characteristic of politics in America.
“America has been through big changes – wars and depression, the influx of immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, and movements to expand civil rights,” Obama said. “Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future, who claimed we could slam the brakes on changes, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control.”
Obama is taking aim at presidential candidates such as Donald Trump whose campaign is built around the idea of “making America great again” and who claims he would do everything in his power to reverse America’s current direction if elected.
Trump isn’t the only candidate who believes the country is headed for disaster. Ted Cruz has also described the country’s course as “heading off the cliff into oblivion,” and many others have shared similar views on the subject.
As Christians, it’s easy to buy into this over-the-top rhetoric. As we see our country become more and more secular, we often feel marginalized and vulnerable. We want to latch onto a political candidate and look to them to right the ship.
But for Christians buying into the emotion that candidates are dishing out isn’t necessary for two reasons.
First, the claims that catastrophe will strike if a certain candidate takes office are often overblown.
I remember vividly the fear that swept over conservatives both times Obama was elected. In 2012, Rush Limbaugh predicted, “the country’s economy is going to collapse if Obama is re-elected.” And around that same time Sen.Mike Lee (R-UT) predicted gas would cost close to $6 per gallon as result of Obama taking presidential office.
Obviously, neither of those predictions came to fruition, and there are actually many immediate positives signs for the country. According to the FBI, violent crimes have dropped by 16 percent since 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there are 9.2 million more non-farm jobs than when Obama first took office, and a 2014 report by the Guttmacher Institute found abortion numbers to be at their lowest since 1973.
Of course just as all the blame can’t be placed on a singular person, neither can Obama be given all the credit for these bright spots.
While I don’t agree with the president on many issues, particularly social issues, I don’t personally believe there has been a cataclysmic fallout from Obama’s time in office.
Much of this has to do with the design of the American political system, which was built to move slowly and favor balance among the three main branches of power.
So as Christians, we should participate in the next elections and support candidates who extol Christian virtues, but even if we lose, we don’t need to buy into the hyperbole that may follow.
We can appreciate a well-designed political system of checks and balances of governmental power, but as Christians, we can ultimately rest in a sovereign monarchy.
In reality, we are citizens of a kingdom controlled by a King who will reign forever. It’s in that kingdom where we should stake our identity, not in our identity as a Republican or a Democrat.
In Proverbs 21:1 Solomon writes “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”
Whatever the results of the election, we know Who will truly win in the end, and we can rejoice because our King will never abdicate His throne.