Beware Who You Believe In

Barack Obama has been calling people to “Stand up for change.” He has a big campaign banner behind him that says, “Believe.” He encourages supporters to chant, “Yes, we can!”

Stevie Wonder got the crowd at a campaign event to chant a song in honor to Obama. (See Youtube clip  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWL1G8iu32g). Obama talks about “we” and “us” on the campaign trail.

I have been wondering why so many people think so highly of Obama. I have also struggled to see why people think he is a charismatic speaker. Many have compared him to Martin Luther King. Obama’s voice is much weaker than King. I don’t know that I would hire Obama to be the voice talent for a commercial.

Obama seems to have done far less than in his life than many of the other candidats running for president in this election. Obama is certainly no where near King in terms of his significance to the civil rights movement. That might change if he becomes the first black President. 

A co-worker said he thinks that people have flocked to Obama’s message because Obama paints broad, positive narratives just like Reagan did. I think my co-worker may be onto something. While their policies are very different, their opptimism is very similar.  

I think that people have flocked to Obama for a variety of reasons. Some like the idea of an African American president. Change is a popular theme because so many are tired of our political situation right now. This includes many who are tired of anyone with significant tenure in Washington D.C. Others are attracted to Obama because he is very young and has the GQ look. Many like his positive speeches and simple messages. I find that hard to understand because so many people say that they care about the issues. It seems difficult to put issues first when rhetoric is primarily what a candidates has offered on the campaign trail. And that seems to be the case with Obama.

What does bother me is how people have looked at Obama as more than just a political leader. There is almost a cult following developing around him within some segments of the population. With all the star power behind Obama, it can be easy to see why people who have previously not cared about the candidates are taking notice this year. Look at the following site to see what I am talking about: http://obamamessiah.blogspot.com/ 

Now, I don’t believe that Obama is really a messiah figure, the Antichrist or secret Muslim extremist. I do believe that some people are going crazy over him without really knowing more than the caricature depicted on TV. And I am especially concerned when any Christian looks at any poltician (including a Republican) as God’s man or unduly puts faith in government to solve all of our problems. There are some things that I like about Obama. There are many that I don’t.

What concerns me the most is how we as Americans are so hungry for an earthly king and yet we keep God out of our schools, businesses and communities. And if we allow God in, it is only on our terms.

Somebody named Michael recently commented on Cerulean Sanctum: “I think Obama epitomizes what people want from America’s self-help, therapeutic culture: a great speechgiver who posits no real solutions. Unlike the average motivational speaker, preacher, therapist, or any other practitioner of pain relief, Obama offers (from what I hear, since I am not following his campaign) nothing except empty platitudes about how people want change. Never mind what change we want or what change he might bring. We want change. Vote for change! After he is elected…and I think he probably will be the next U.S. President…most of his followers will not want to accept the changes he pushes and/or will be disillusioned at how little anything changes in D.C.”

I agree completely. We need to be careful who we put our faith in. As a Christian, I will put my faith in Jesus and pray for our leaders.

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