The silver lining… hopefully

I am a staunch supporter of individual liberty and free markets. And, because I support these things, I was quite opposed to the election of Barack Obama. Still am. His ideas are socialist at best and Marxist at worst. He appears to me to be a totalitarian just looking for his avenue to total power. And, I think, if he is allowed to implement just a portion of his ideas he will do irreparable harm to the United States. However, I see in the election of Obama a potential silver lining for which I have been praying for a long time — that the Church in America may finally repent of the idolatry we’ve engaged in for years.

jump2That’s harsh, I know. But I know what I’m talking about. I once was the vilest offender.

As a long-time member of a group commonly called “right-wing evangelicals” I once worshipped the state — although I didn’t recognize it at the time. However, God has since opened my eyes to my idolatry.

I began paying attention to politics during the waning days of Jimmy Carter’s administration. I became a huge fan of President Ronald Reagan. During his eight years in office I developed my entire identity around being an American. It was who I was. My faith in Christ was secondary — just a portion of what it meant to be an American. All of my goals centered around becoming an officer in the U.S. Navy. Service to my country was going to be my life. I pursued this goal until the election of Bill Clinton.

All of a sudden the complexion of my country changed. A man with whom I had profound disagreements was running the government of the United States. My faith was shaken — because my faith was in the United States. If the United States could change so profoundly so quickly then my faith was grossly misplaced. I began searching for the appropriate object of my faith. Something that would not change. Something immutable. Something that would always be completely worthy of my worship.

God.

Imagine that.

Of course, after Clinton’s two terms in office, George W. Bush was elected president and many “right-wing evangelicals” were once again able to have faith in the government. I was not among them. I recognized, for the first time, the idolatry I had practiced for so long — swearing loyalty to the state, mistaking nationalism for patriotism, allowing myself to be manipulated by the state, and embracing an earthly empire over God’s Kingdom.

Now that Obama has been elected, conservative Christians are pointing to the attitude many liberals exhibit toward him and call it idol worship. And they are right. He is being characterized as a messiah and openly compared to Christ.

sscapConservative leaders are drawing attention to the frightening similarities between Obama’s goals for America and the Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany. And they have a point. Many of his plans look exactly like Nazism and Marxism. It appears he is trying to do in America what we all thought couldn’t happen.

Sadly, Obama is only building his new civil religion on the foundation laid by conservatives. For too long conservatives have idolized the government and placed blind trust in the state. Obama is just taking the next step.

The silver lining is the hope that Christians all across America will recognize that faith in the government is a misplaced faith — regardless of who occupies the White House.

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About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

One Response to The silver lining… hopefully

  1. johntaylor1971 says:

    Great point of view. I worry about where I country is heading now that the election is over. Spreading the wealth, gun control, welfare, etc. is all going to be a wild ride over the next four years.

    The really scary part is how many people’s faces did you watch when the cameras were rolling as they were looking at him? It was like a religious experience for them, being the people who were supporting Barrack.

    I’m not sure how you can be a Christian and vote democratic. The more I read of the bible, the more I feel good about being conservative.

    Maybe it’s just me and I’m sure that I will catch some heat for my views. Thank you for speaking up about our idol worship of our country and government over worshipping the one true God.

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