Saturday, November 15, 2008
I've been thinking a great deal about the recent election and its repercussions over the ten days since Barack Obama was elected by an electoral landslide yet only a 4% margin by popular vote. It wasn't the double-digit win the Democrats had been hoping for, but obviously it's still a convincing margin.
Although I'm far more of a Palin supporter than a McCain fan, I was still quite pleasantly surprised by the narrower-than-projected popular vote margin. I think that McCain and Palin did extremely well, considering the anti-Bush environment and severe economic problems as well. To lose by a mere 4% is still a loss, but in some ways, it was quite remarkable that the Republican ticket did so well in a year in which every issue was stacked for the Democrats. It would have been shameful had the Dems lost. And, yes, despite the media's blatant attempts to destroy Sarah Palin (meanwhile ignoring Joe Biden and even Obama to a certain extent), I do hope to see her running in 2012 -- and perhaps even gaining the nomination. And perhaps even winning .... But that's four years in the future, and I want to talk about the present.
Either way, history was going to be made. We were either going to have our first African-American president or our first female vice-president. Yes, I was hoping and praying for the latter, but now that President-Elect Obama will be taking the Oath of Office in January, I strongly believe that all of us Christians have the responsibility to pray for and support our new president.
I have no problem with having an African-American president -- I just didn't think that this particular African-American had the experience necessary nor did his beliefs mesh well with mine. In fact, I voted in the primary for a different African-American candidate, one for whom I voted in the 2000 primary as well: Alan Keyes. In fact, I very nearly voted for him on the November 4th as he was listed on the California ballot under the American Independent Party. But I had done too much volunteer work for the McCain/Palin ticket to not vote for them. And McCain lost by only ten percentage points in California -- much closer than anyone thought it would be -- and I wanted to be a vote for McCain/Palin even here on the Left Coast. ;)
So my Democratic friends (and I do have quite a few of them, and they are lovely people -- we just don't talk politics) who think I didn't vote for President-Elect Obama because of the color of his skin are quite mistaken. I have voted twice for an African-American candidate, one whom I would LOVE to see in the Oval Office. I simply didn't care for Obama's policies, especially his anti-life votes that sadden me greatly. I am also not against this war as so many of my friends are. I am not against Bush, although I do believe mistakes were made. Three of my family members have been stationed in Baghdad during the course of the war, and one may be returning. They have been safe -- thank God! But I also hear from them what the media doesn't often tell us: the positive things that are coming from this war. The little Muslim girls who are now receiving an education for the first time. The modern hospitals and schools that are being built. Etcetera. Is it worth American lives for these things to happen? I can't say, for my family members have been safe thus far. But good things are happening, not just bad. And we don't hear about the good things nearly enough.
But as I stated before, I believe that we Christians have the responsibility to pray for our President-Elect, and for a successful presidency for him. For his safety and for his wisdom. Since 9-11, I have received weekly prayer requests from the Presidential Prayer Team, outlining specific requests for our president: places where he is visiting, world leaders with whom he will be meeting, disasters and issues in our country and around the world for which I have felt honored to pray. When I offered to forward this site to a Democratic Christian friend of mine, she refused, saying that she couldn't, in all conscience, pray for George Bush. Her answer ripped at my heartstrings. We as followers of Christ have no business refusing to pray for our leaders because we disagree with them. The Scriptures command us to pray for our leaders, and state specifically that each one is chosen by God to lead. How can we possibly refuse to pray for the person God has chosen to lead our country?
So I will pray for our new president. President-Elect Obama has a very hard road ahead of him: dealing with the current economic crisis which some say may parallel the Great Depression of the 1930's; the war in Iraq and preventing future Al Quaida attacks; the issues with North Korea, China, Pakistan, and other countries hostile to the US, and many other issues of lesser, but still great, importance. We Christians should pray for President-Elect Obama and for his staff and Cabinet. If we care at all for our country, we must indeed pray for our leaders, no matter which side of politics they represent. We Christians are supposed to be about love, not hate. About prayer, not prejudice. For many of us, our candidate of choice did not win. Yet, God has appointed Barack Obama to lead this country, "for such a time as this."
Here is the prayer I am praying for President-Elect Obama, cobbled together from two prayers for "The President of the United States and all in Civil Authority" from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
O Lord, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth: Most heartily we beseech thee, with thy favour to behold and bless thy servant Barack, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and all others in authority; and so replenish them with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that they may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness; and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
I usually insert prayers for Arnold, our Governor, for Congress and the state legislatures, and for all judges from the local, state, federal, appellate, and Supreme Court levels.
Praying for our country is a privilege for all Christians, and one that we should exercise despite party lines or our personal beliefs. The fact that we are free to pray and worship as we see fit in our country is a precious, precious thing, one that is increasingly rare across our globe. So, I urge you, take it seriously, and pray for our President-Elect, whether you voted for him, or not.