Yes, I’m horrified that President Obama has ordered public schools to make bathrooms available according to a child’s perceived identity rather than his or her biological identity. Horrified, but not at all surprised. Maybe a little angry at his bullying approach to the matter, especially when I think back eight or nine years to my mom’s complaints that President Bush acted unilaterally in many of his decisions.
President Obama has not, in my opinion, been good for the country. I knew he was trouble when he first ran for president in 2008, and prayed furiously that he’d never see the inside of the Oval Office. Over the years I’ve watched him force various parts of his agenda on the American people, circumventing the Democratic process. In short, I’m not exactly this president’s biggest fan.
As a Christian, however, I refuse to rejoice in my president’s failings. I feel repulsed and infuriated that Donald Trump’s butler thought somebody should shoot Obama. Even though I strongly oppose both the president’s policies and his methods, I refuse to disrespect him. Rather, I choose to pray for him in obedience to Scripture.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. ~~1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV)
During the Bush administration, evangelicals quoted this passage with great enthusiasm, and found it easy to pray for a man who championed biblical values. But the apostle Paul wrote in a time when Rome ruled the world, persecuting Christians for daring to proclaim that Jesus had greater authority than Caesar. Thus, praying for the welfare of those who persecuted and oppressed them probably didn’t come naturally. Their obedience to pray for their ruthless and heathen leaders must have demanded much more resolve than 21st Century American Christians need to summon in praying for Obama.
Sadly, American evangelicals often confuse politics with Christianity, as if voting Republican is an essential tenet of our faith. Certainly, the Word of God should inform a Christian’s political views. For instance, my belief that babies are fully human from the moment of conception makes it next to impossible for me to support a pro-abortion candidate. As I said yesterday, my performance in the voting booth must reflect, as best they can, Scriptural values and priorities.
But when evangelicals compromise Biblical standards for the sake of politics, they obviously turn politics into an idol. Refusal to pray for President Obama reveals their wicked rebellion against the Bible’s explicit command to honor our temporal leaders.
President Obama, despite his insistence that he’s a Christian, has demonstrated that he does not care about the Bible’s teachings–or at least that he will not let them rule his behavior. From that, I believe I can safely conclude that he isn’t genuinely saved. Therefore I believe I can rightly pray for his salvation. I can also pray that God will give him wisdom. And (because of people like Trump’s butler), I can pray for his protection.
Obama’s policies trouble me. Some of his actions horrify me, actually. But I pray that God will help him reverse his erroneous agenda, learn from his many mistakes and leave the White House in 2017 with a good legacy and a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Though any downfall he might experience (especially as he enforces transgender bathroom policies in public schools) would benefit my political party, I don’t allow myself to take pleasure in his failures. Not when I can pray that God will bless him.