Posts belonging to Category Politics

Don’t Let Politics Trump Prayer

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

As Christians we are called to pray for our leaders and all those in authority. I hope you prayed for President George W. Bush when he was president. I hope you prayed for President Barack Obama when he was president. And I hope you will pray for President Donald Trump now that he is president.

Why should you pray for your leaders and those in authority over you? One obvious reason is because they make decisions that have a huge impact on your life. But the Bible addresses a much more important issue here in these verses from 1 Timothy.

The Bible instructs us to pray for those in authority so that we may live out our Christian lives peacefully and share our faith with others. Never take for granted that you live in a land where you have the freedom to worship God. Never take for granted that you have the freedom to share the gospel with others without fear of persecution.

It is important to pray for our leaders. We are to pray for our president whether or not we like him as a person. We are to pray for him whether or not we agree with his policies. In fact the less you agree with him, the more important it becomes to pray for him! It’s easy to pray for a president with whom you agree on everything.

So I hope you have already begun praying for President Trump. I know I have. It’s been a rough political season, and not everyone is happy with the new president. But that just makes it all the more important to pray. Don’t let politics trump prayer!

Post 2016 Election Comments in Church

This past Sunday at church I shared a few words with the congregation about the election. I thought I would post them here, too, in case any of you might find them helpful.

I just want to share a few words about the election with you this morning. This has been a difficult election season, and even coming out of the election our country remains deeply divided. I want to encourage you if your candidate won not to be overly excited and if your candidate lost not to be overly discouraged. Every president is but a footnote in history. Our hope is not in princes or in presidents but in Jesus Christ who reigns forever. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House, Jesus is still on the throne. And that’s where we need to keep our focus. When we gather to worship, we do not come together as Democrats or Republicans but as believers in Jesus Christ, united in him and seeking his good together for the world. God is in control, so let us continue to focus on Christ and the gospel and sharing God’s love with the world around us.

3 Things to Remember on Election Day

Here are three things to remember on Election Day. (These are adapted from a message I preached back in November 2008: A Christian in the Voting Booth.)

  1. The gospel is bigger than politics: Our faith is in Christ, not in any political party or candidate. Donald Trump is not the Messiah. Hillary Clinton is not the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the Messiah who came to make things right in the world.
  2. The church is bigger than political parties: God is neither a republican nor a democrat. Believers may disagree with each other on many issues, but that should not affect our fellowship in Christ. When we share communion together, we gather not as republicans or democrats, not as independents or libertarians, but as Christians, united together by our common faith in Christ.
  3. God is bigger than elections: (This is a good one to remember not just on Election Day but also on the day after, especially if your candidate does not win.) No matter how strongly you feel about one candidate or another, and no matter how disappointed you may feel if one candidate wins instead of another, God is bigger than all that. If the early church was able to worship God and spread the gospel under Emperor Nero, if contemporary Christians are able to worship God and spread the gospel in Communist China, trust me: we will still be able to worship God and spread the gospel under either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. And whoever is elected president, you need to respect that person as your newly elected leader and pray for them accordingly.

God is sovereign. God is in control. Let us pray for the election, let us do our part in voting as responsible Christians, and then let us trust God with the results.

Ray Charles Sings America the Beautiful

Great version. Enjoy!

Ray Charles Sings America the Beautiful (Video length: 3:45)

Do I have a Christian responsibility to vote?

It is an election week in the United States, so I thought this was a good time to reflect on the Christian responsibility of voting in a democracy. The following is an excerpt from the message, “A Christian in the Voting Booth,” originally preached November 2, 2008, the Sunday before the 2008 Presidential elections.


“Do I have a Christian responsibility to vote?” Some people feel that Christians should have no part in the civil process, that we belong to another kingdom and that we should not get involved in the affairs of this world. Others believe Christians should be heavily involved in politics and culture and that we have a cultural mandate to rule this world according to God’s principles. Others come out somewhere in the middle. Let’s look at some Biblical principles that might help us answer this question.

    A. You are responsible to exert a godly influence. (Matthew 5:13-16, 6:9-10)

First of all, you are responsible to exert a godly influence in this world. If you are a parent, you are responsible to raise your children in the Lord. If you are a boss, you are responsible to run your company according to Christian standards. If you are in government, you are accountable to God for the decisions you make on behalf of other people. Whatever you’re sphere of influence, you have a responsibility to use that influence for God and for good.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world and the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13-16) Light points the way, and salt preserves. We should live in such a way that we point others to God and preserve godliness in a culture that is contaminated by sin. We should seek for God’s will to be done in our homes and in our cities and in our nation. As Jesus instructed us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10) So, first of all, you are responsible to exert a godly influence.

    B. You are responsible to pray for your leaders. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Secondly, you are responsible to pray for your leaders. We read in 1 Timothy 2: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2) The Bible urges you to pray for your leaders and to be thankful for them. We are to pray for those in authority that they will make good decisions so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives, and that we may freely worship God and share the gospel with others.

    C. As a voter you share the responsibility of government. (Romans 13:1-5)

So, you are responsible to exert a godly influence, you are responsible to pray for your leaders, and then thirdly, as a voter you also share the responsibility of government. Those who share in government are accountable to God for how they lead. Romans 13 tells us that all governing authorities are established by God and under God’s authority.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God … Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.” (Romans 13:1-5)

Of course in those days there was no such thing as voting. People lived in monarchies and empires. Your role in government as a Christian was basically to pray for and submit to the ruling authorities. But when you live in a democracy or a republic like we do, things are different. As President Lincoln described our government in the Gettysburg Address in 1863, we are a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” (The Gettysburg Address; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; November 19, 1863) And so as a voter you share in the responsibilities of government.

The word “vote” comes from the Latin “votum,” meaning “will or choice.” Instead of just praying for your leaders to make good and wise choices on your behalf, you are part of the decision-making process, and so you are responsible to make good and wise choices on behalf of your nation. And we do that through voting. As theologian Dr. John Frame writes:

“…in some cultures (like the ancient Roman, in which the New Testament was written) there is not much that Christians can do, other than pray, to influence political structures and policies. But when they can influence them, they should. In modern democracies, all citizens are ‘lesser magistrates’ by virtue of the ballot box. Christians have an obligation to vote according to God’s standards. And, as they are gifted and called, they should influence others to vote in the same way.” (John Frame; The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p. 617)

Now that does not mean you should just vote willy-nilly or fill in the blanks on a ballot like a multiple choice quiz where you don’t know the answers. You have a responsibility to vote responsibly. The uninformed voter probably should not vote, at least in those areas where he or she is uninformed. But as Christians we have a responsibility to be informed on the issues and the candidates, and then to vote accordingly. As a voter you share the responsibility of government and thus share accountability to God for what takes place in our nation.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Judge Blocks Obama’s Executive Order on Stem Cell Research

This is an interesting development regarding the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research as reported by World Magazine:

A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked government rules on embryonic stem cell (ESC) research funding, a blow to the Obama administration which by executive order had lifted Bush-era restrictions and a victory for pro-lifers fighting to stop the destruction of human embryos.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted the preliminary injunction because he held opponents of Obama’s executive order had demonstrated they are likely to succeed at trial. Lamberth’s injunction is also important in that it rejects the government’s legal rationale for getting around federal law explicitly forbidding the use of taxpayer dollars to destroy a human embryo.

Last year I wrote a series of posts on the ethical implications of embryonic stem cell research. Here are the links if you want some more information on this subject:

    • Scott Klusendorf on Embryonic Stem Cell Research
    • Alternatives to Embyronic Stem Cell Research
    • They’re Going to Die Anyway

I would also direct you to Joe Carter’s excellent A Brief Primer on Stem Cell Research.

Abortion and The Health Bill

I know, more politics. But if not now, when? Charmaine Yoest in the Wall Street Journal provides a clear and succint explanation of why the health bill in its present form will lead to federal funding of abortions and how the White House can easily prevent this from happening.

It’s now becoming clear that Barack Obama is willing to put everything on the table in order to be the president who passes health-care reform. Everything, that is, except a ban on federal funding for abortion.

Last September, the president promised that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.” Yet the legislation most likely to move forward in Congress would be the single greatest expansion of abortion since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The White House knows how to turn Mr. Obama’s September commitment into legislative action … Only adding a so-called Hyde Amendment to the health-care reform bills would fulfill the president’s promise to protect Americans from subsidizing abortionSimilar amendments have been added to health-care bills ever since [1976]. Without specific language prohibiting the practice, history has shown that the courts or administrative agencies end up directing government dollars to pay for abortions …

Over the past year, language similar to the Hyde Amendment was crafted by Reps. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R., Pa.) and inserted into the health-care bill that passed the House. When asked about the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in November, Mr. Obama talked around the issue. He said that “there is a balance to be achieved that is consistent with the Hyde Amendment.” When asked if Stupak-Pitts struck this “balance,” the president replied “not yet.” That’s an odd reply. The question of abortion funding doesn’t have any Zen to it: The funding is either prohibited or it’s not …

The president’s latest proposal mirrors legislation that has passed the Senate, which doesn’t include a Hyde Amendment, and would inevitably establish abortion as a fundamental health-care service … The president’s plan goes further than the Senate bill on abortion by calling for spending $11 billion over five years on “community health centers,” which include Planned Parenthood clinics that provide abortions.

With one simple step the White House can keep its promise to keep federal funding of abortions out of the health bill. So why won’t the White House take that step? (HT: Denny Burk and Vitamin Z)

Related posts:
    • The Sanctity of Human Life in the Womb (Sermon from Psalm 139)
    • Barack Obama on Health Care Then and Now

Click here for more posts on the subject of abortion.

Barack Obama on Health Care Then and Now

I have stayed pretty quiet about politics on this blog for the past year, but in light of the White House’s current initiative to push Health Care Reform through the Senate with only 50-plus-one votes, I thought it worthwhile to revisit President Obama’s words on health care in the past.

Barack Obama on health care in 2004:

My understanding of the Senate is is that you need 60 votes to get something significant to happen, which means that Democrats have to ask the question: Do we have the will to move an American agenda forward [emphasis mine], not a Democratic or Republican agenda forward?

Barack Obama on health care in 2005:

A change in the Senate rules that really, I think, would change the character of the Senate forever … And what I worry about would be that you essentially still have two chambers, the House and the Senate, but you have simply majoritarian, absolute power on either side, and that’s just not what the Founders intended.

Under the rules, the reconciliation process does not permit that debate. Reconciliation is therefore the wrong place for policy changes. In short, the reconciliation process appears to have lost its proper meaning: A vehicle designed for deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility has been hijacked.

Barack Obama on health care in 2006:

Those big-ticket items, fixing our health care system. You know, one of the arguments that sometimes I get with my fellow progressives, and some of these have flashed up in the blog communities on occasion, is this notion that we should function sort of like Karl Rove, where we identify our core base, we throw ’em red meat, we get a 50-plus-one victory. See, Karl Rove doesn’t need a broad consensus because he doesn’t believe in government. If we want to transform the country, though, that requires a sizeable majority.

Barack Obama on health care in 2007:

[Health care reform] is an area where we’re going to have to have a 60% majority in the Senate and the House in order to actually get a bill to my desk. We’re going to have to have a majority to get a bill to my desk that is not just a 50-plus-one majority….

You gotta break out of what I call the sort of 50-plus-one pattern of presidential politics. Maybe you eke out a victory with 50-plus-one but you can’t govern. You know, you get Air Force One and a lot of nice perks as president but you can’t deliver on health, we’re not going to pass universal health care with a 50-plus-one strategy.

So, how does one reconcile (no pun intended) these past statements with the administration’s current plan to push health care through the Senate with a simple fifty-plus-one majority vote?

Related posts:
    • Abortion and The Health Bill
    • Congratulations Senator Barack Obama!
    • The Obama Burger

A Tale of Two Deficits

The Bush deficits look really bad …

Deficits under the Bush Administration

… until you place them next to the Obama deficits (projected).

Deficits under the Obama Administration

For the record, I was against the large deficits under President Bush, and I am even more against the larger deficits under President Obama. At some point we need to cut government spending and balance the budget. (Wasn’t that one of Obama’s campaign promises?)

HT: Instapundit

NH Gay Marriage Bill Stalls Due to Religious Protection Language

I found this news story out of New Hampshire disturbing. I do not believe the definition of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples, so I should be glad that the New Hampshire House of Representatives did not pass this bill. However, I am disturbed because of the reason why it did not pass.


A bill that would have made New Hampshire the sixth state in the United States to authorize gay marriage stalled unexpectedly Wednesday over concessions to religious groups opposed to such unions.

The state’s House of Representatives objected to language in the bill that would have allowed religious groups to decline to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies or to offer gay couples other services …

A version of the bill with more limited religious protections passed the state’s House of Representatives on March 26.

So as I understand it, the New Hampshire House of Representatives would have voted to pass the bill if it did not contain language protecting the right of conscience for religious groups. This would imply that they want to use the bill in the future to require religious groups to participate in same-sex ceremonies — even if such participation were to violate their conscience and religious beliefs. That would be a dangerous precedent as well as a violation of First Amendment rights. (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”)

HT: Stand to Reason

President Obama’s First 100 Days and Abortion

Question: If President Obama’s policies are supposed to reduce abortions (as my pro-life Democrat friends keep telling me), then why is NARAL Pro-Choice America celebrating Obama’s first 100 days in office?

President Obama’s Statement on the 36th Anniversary of Roe v Wade
See also Kevin DeYoung: Does Rhetoric Reduce the Number of Abortions?

Obama, Malia, Sasha and Bo

This picture from last week

Obama, Malia, Sasha and Bo

reminded me of this post from last fall:

Forty-five years ago a terrorist bomb ripped through the walls of a church in Birmingham, AL, killing four young blacks girls (Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie Mae Collins) just getting out of Sunday School. This bomb not only ripped through the church, but it also ripped through the heart of America. It tore a wound in the fabric of our country that has been a long time healing … Someone has said that the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice. God’s redemptive purposes sometimes ripen slowly in our estimation, but they do ripen nonetheless. You see, with the election of Barack Obama, we will soon see two little black girls, Malia and Sasha Obama, running the hallways and playing on the lawn of the White House. Hearts that were broken with the tragic murder of little black girls in a house of worship will be somewhat mended by the playful laughter of two beautiful young black girls in the White House. (Anthony Carter)