For several years now the Democrats have sought to overcome the GOP’s advantage with Christian voters. But their attempts to use “Jesus talk” have not been taken seriously by Christian conservatives, as their policies have largely flown in the face of their words. There are some on the so-called “Christian Left” who have taken up with the Democrats, much like they have accused Christian conservatives of being beholden to the GOP. In the 2008 Presidential election, however, the results were as they have been for quite some time: the evangelical Christian vote went to the GOP.
Despite punditry on Obama’s outreach and McCain’s lukewarm (to ice cold) support from some evangelical leaders early in the campaign, evangelicals voted just as they have done in previous contests. Three-quarters of evangelicals voted for McCain, which is the same level of support given to Bush, though Green notes that turnout was lower.
But now it appears that President Obama has taken a new approach to trying to win over the Christians – use the word “Jesus” a lot. According to a new article by the Politico’s Eamon Javers, Obama has used the word “Jesus” more often than even President George W. Bush.
More than four months into the Obama presidency, a picture is emerging of a chief executive who is comfortable with public displays of his religion — although he has also paid tribute to other faiths and those he called “nonbelievers” during his inaugural address.
Apparently, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins is torn on the implications of this.
“I applaud that. It gives people a sense of comfort,” Perkins said. “But I think it’s a veneer, a facade that covers over a lot of policies that are anti-Christian.” That includes, in his view, Obama’s stance in favor of abortion rights.
As implied by my highlight, I tend to agree with Perkins’ assessment of Obama’s words being a facade to cloak his anti-Christian policies.
Much of the Politico piece documents Obama’s involvement in faith-based issues, such as meetings with the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and how “religious leaders meet with White House policymakers on a regular basis — and help to shape decisions on matters large and small.”
But hey – what happened to the howls of “THEOCRACY!” from the Left? Are meetings with religious leaders to shape policy no longer an issue? Is talk of Christianity no longer an issue when it emanates from the President? Why is the Left not questioning Obama’s Christian credentials the way they did Bush’s? Perhaps the new term for the Obama administration should be “Theobamacracy” (thanks, EPU).
Another potential “strategy” that could be in play here is identified in Javers’ article:
For Obama, Christian rhetoric offers an opportunity to connect with a broader base of supporters in a nation in which 83 percent of Americans believe in God. What’s more, regularly invoking Jesus helps Obama minimize the number of American who believe he is a Muslim — a linkage that can be politically damaging. According to a Pew Research Center study, 11 percent of Americans believe, incorrectly, that Obama is a Muslim; it’s a number that is virtually unchanged from the 2008 presidential campaign.
I don’t doubt for a moment that both of those intents are at play here – again, it’s part of a strategy to convince Americans that the Dems really are good Christians, despite their anti-life, Socialist/Marxist policies. And of course the Muslim thing is, and will continue to be an issue…and since actions speak louder than words, incidents such as The Bow will not help his case.
As a Christian myself, one thing I have tried to avoid is to judge one’s sincerity of faith. There are cases where that judgment is easy – George Tiller is an obvious one…that the man had the audacity to even attend church in the first place is astonishing. In the eyes of some, Barack Obama is another easy case – the radical anti-life record of the magnitude of our President gives one pause. But, only God knows the heart, and I do not pretend to be Him (although some believe that Obama himself IS God) I hope that Obama will consider the words of Matthew:
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23, NIV)
Obama can say “Lord, Lord,” but his actions speak louder than his Jesus talk.