Tag Archives: Obama

A Week After

A week ago, the American people voted and made history. Whether or not you agree with the outcome, it will certainly be interesting to see how the first black president responds to a very challenging set of circumstances that face him.

Here are my quick thoughts on the Obama presidency and our current economic situation.

  • If I had bumper sticker to suggest how I feel about the election, it would say, “I voted for McCain, but I am praying for Obama.”
  • There is no magic bullet for our economy. It took 20-30 years of bad policy to get us here. There is no one person or even party at fault. The only hope for a somewhat speedy recovery is ingenuity and the courage to do the best thing no matter what the public believes is the right decision.
  • The media is likely to give Obama a free pass for a while, which may help bolster consumer confidence as reporters look for positive things to report. Note: this doesn’t mean our economic situation is improving even if the media says good things.
  • The government will likely keep chasing good money after bad. Bailouts for everyone… except small businesses, non-union shops and reject retailers (Circuit City).
  • Obama ran as a new kind of candidate. He presented himself as the first postmodern candidate who would try to work across party lines and develop common sense solutions. That means he will have to be careful trying to push through too aggressive of an agenda. He can only do this if he convinces the American people his reforms are not “socialism” wrapped in an American flag. 
  • Obama promised to be a different kind of president. But it appears he has selected a Washington insider, a beltway shark, to run the White House in Rahm Emanuel. And those aren’t my words. They were writteny by a major D.C. reporter. Also, it is rumored that Obama will pick many former D.C. heavyweights to fill other top posts. How is appointing a bunch of Washington insiders anything new in government? 
  • Guns sales have gone through the roof. I guess many people don’t think that Obama will really be favorable to gun owners. Does that mean that Ray Schoenke was wrong about Obama in his radio ads? Or do gun owners just spook easy?
  • Obama may have to back off on some of his tax hike plans. Rich people are the only ones buying anything right now.
  • Good news – I just paid $1.99 for gas. Wow! I never thought I would be able to say that.
  • It looks like inflation is staying in check except for the cost of college tuition. Endowments took a major hit with the recent Wall Street losses.
  • In his first 100 days in office, I think Obama will throw some bones to some of his favor backers – that includes abortion rights groups, stem cell researchers, unions and environmental groups. I expect for Obama to reinstitute the ban on offshore drilling. He will make it easier to get federal funding for abortions, and press through reforms intended to help unions form in smaller companies. 
  • Housing sales should pickup some as more new people enter the market due to depressed prices. This will primarily be first-time home buyers.
  • It won’t be a great holiday season for retailers. A number of big names could take a wallop at the register. A few might even go out of business.
  • Smart investors will look offshore for opportunities to seek decent returns. Some good stock deals will be available in American companies if you are willing to wait years for a rebound. Overall, economic contagion will impact all economies around the globe even China and the other Asian powerhouses.
  • Obama’s election will likely improve U.S. relations with many countries around the globe. It may also cause a few rogue nations to test the resolve of the new president.

It’s The End of the World As We Know It And I Feel Fine

As I watched the election returns, my heart sank because what I had expected for months actually came true. My choice for president has just lost. It looks like the Democrats will pick up huge gains in both the House and Senate. Senator McCain was never my first choice. But he is a decent public servant. His steadfastness shown through as he just delivered a very eloquent and gracious concession speech. It was actually one of the best speeches of the campaign.

While I feel a bit sad, I know that my security rests not in my country, our leaders or even our economy. I trust in God and His sovereign power. Even if our nation crumbles under the weight of its own debt and blunders, Jesus will supply all my need according to His divine power. And whatever I don’t have, the Lord must think I don’t need.

This doesn’t mean that I have high hopes for an Obama presidency or the future of our nation. I believe the American Century has come to an end. I expect greater government control, higher taxes and more stringent requirements will limit individual liberties and lead to further degradation of our economy. The die was cast long before this election. The failure of both major parties has sunk us with debt, wars, failed government programs and a sense of entitlement that has robbed us of hunger to succeed.

America has serious problems facing us. And none of the major party candidates really have the courage to truly solve them. That is why McCain was the better of two inadequate options. I long for the days of great leaders, such as Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. May we see the likes of these great leaders soon. I hope that Obama proves me wrong and rises to the challenge. Obama just said, “America… we as a people will get there.” I hope we do, and I hope that “there” is a place we want to be.

In some ways an Obama presidency, has broken an evil glass ceiling, and it could help heal some racial tensions in this country. It will forever eliminate the thought that race can be an impediment to success. But at the same time, this election was about a lot more than just race. Obama is the first real postmodern candidate, and it will be interesting to see how the world reacts to his leadership style. It will either be a welcome change or an open invitation for aggression. Only time will tell the outcome. 

Despite all my gloomy predictions, I know that my life is securely in the hands of the One who is truly faithful and able to more than I can imagine. And I am not talking about any man. I am talking about Jesus, the incarnate God who holds all things together by His words. All that I am belongs to Him.

The darkest part of the storm is truly before the onset of the dawn. I believe we will one day reclaim a greater country. But we, the Church, must first go through a great trial. And our testing in this country has just begun. As the U.S. economy continues to falter and global problems mount, the USA will be tested. And the American Church must be ready to lead the way.

Well Church… are you ready? I know that I am because my trust is secure in Christ alone.

Catching Up

This post is kind of like leftover night in the Brindley household. I used to love it when we had leftovers especially after Thanksgiving. Here is a rundown of a bunch of thoughts that I have had over the last few weeks. It includes everything from sports to politics to economics.

  • The Republican convention seemed to be a roller coaster ride for me. First, there was the surprise VP nomination. I don’t know if Palin will be a good leader or if she has some killer secret in her closet that will disqualify her down the road. But McCain’s VP selection at least makes for interesting political theater. I kind of think of Palin as the rugged version of Margaret Thatcher.
  • Mike Huckabee gave a great speech and used humor to politely jab at the other side. He is really a master of the one liners.
  • Fred Thompson’s description of McCain’s captivity experience was brilliant.  
  • Obama messed up in his VP selection. Biden is an establishment, ultra liberal politician. Obama should have picked Bill Richardson, the highest ranking Hispanic public official in the country. That would have helped the Democrats solidify its status with the Latino vote.  
  • No matter who gets elected we will have a liberal in the White House. Obama is far left. McCain is liberal/moderate/somewhat right on the political spectrum. Can I vote for Palin for President instead?
  • Obama has tried to show his bipartisanship credentials by pointing to his work on laws on nuclear proliferation with Senator Lugar. That is hardly a good example of a controversial piece of legislation since it had widespread support from both sides of the aisle. Yeah, he works with Republicans on issues that just about everybody agrees upon. That doesn’t seem like maverick status to me. One of the reasons that I don’t like McCain is that he tends to be too moderate on some issues. He is the true maverick in the campaign.
  • McCain’s acceptance speech had high points and times when I thought Barack Obama had somehow possessed the Republican’s body. I know the economy is tough and Republicans need to be proactive in helping people get back on their feet. At the same time, I thought I heard McCain say something about a program that will help those out of work get new jobs, training and supplemental income. Don’t we already have some of those things through unemployment benefits, the local unemployment office, community colleges and even the Internet to locate new jobs? His comment about supplemental income seemed like a huge new government undertaking.
  • McCain’s talk about fighting for a better America was good. I especially agree with the concept that we need to be willing to work hard and try to do the best we can to make this world a better place and improve our lot in life. I worry that Obama wants to be a little too generous with the taxpayers money.
  • Speaking of being generous with taxpayer money, did you see the bailout that the US Treasury just did to save Fannie and Freddie? I don’t get this at all. Where is the outrage? Why hasn’t the media put a spotlight on this travesty?  Why is there not a huge Congressional investigation into the events that caused this dilemma? If you believe it is just an unfortunate accident resulting from a slump in the housing market, then I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn that I would like to sell you.
  • Getting back to political campaigns, has anyone ever done research on broken campaign promises? I would like to see the numbers. I am sure that both parties stink when it comes to actually delivering on their platforms.
  • NFL – What happened to all the good teams in the AFC? I believe the balance of power has finally started to shift. The NFC is on the rise. Although it is only week 1, it looks like nothing is certain this season. Here are my top teams in order of rating:Philadelphia, Dallas, Steelers, Giants, Packers, Chargers, Chicago, Patriots, Jacksonville, Vikes, Colts and Titans. Super Bowl prediction: Philadelphia vs. Steelers. Steelers win a close one 24-21.  
  • Switching to baseball, the Cubs are running away in the National League. This may be a sign of the apocalypse. You should get your life in order and hug your family because if the Cubs win it all… well I think that could be it folks. 🙂
  • While we are on the topic of ridiculous things in life, Keith Olbermann used to be one of my favorite sport broadcasters. He and Dan Patrick were awesome on Sportscenter. Keith should quit the MSNBC gig because even the other NBC news staff seems very objective compared to him. His on air rantings don’t help the network. 
  • The “mainstream” media seems to have missed some of the big storylines over the past week. First, the networks fixated on Pahlin’s teen daughter the same night that Sen. Joe Lieberman spoke at the GOP convention and endorsed a Republican. This is huge news. Lieberman was the VP candidate for the other party in the 2000 election. It would be akin to Jack Kemp coming out and backing Obama. Instead, the news media focused on Palin’s daughter. I watched the NBC news that night. Brian Williams was talking about the same thing that Entertainment Tonight covered in its top story. How does that happen? Then, this week all the mainstream media has seemed to gloss over the Fannie and Freddie bailout without really exploring the executives who made the mess in the first place. This is huge news. It’s bigger than Enron or MCI Worldcomm. Where is the outrage?
  • We need a car powered by political bull because both parties are full of it. Political bull is an endless American resource. I think our top scientists should get started on this idea.
  • I feel bad that I don’t really feel bad that Tom Brady got hurt. Something inside me strongly dislikes the Patriots. As a Christian, I should have compassion on Brady. But I kind of think it would be interesting if what happened to Bledsoe happens to him. (just being honest)
  • Getting back to Palin, McCain should outline Palin’s duties. I suggest that McCain should put her in charge of a blue ribbon taskforce assigned to develop a national energy plan. She could chair the study group that would bring together the best minds and leaders on the issue. Secondly, I suggest that McCain put her in charge of a government efficiency/cutting the pork initiative. Clinton did the same thing with Al Gore in the 90s. Hopefully, this time it would work.
  • Interesting new Website of the week: www.blueletterbible.org. It is awesome!
  • ABC should bring back Monday Night Football for those who don’t have ESPN.

That’s all the rant that is fit to print.

Can Barack Obama Really Be a Christian?

After the Saddleback forum between the two presidential candidates, I had a conversation with someone very close to me who questioned my post about the event. This person said they thought it was good except they don’t believe that Barack Obama is really a Christian. In my post, I took both candidates at their word when they claimed to have a deep personal faith in Jesus Christ.

The unidentified critic couldn’t see how Obama could be a Christian if he was such a staunch supporter of abortions, including procedures that many Democrats find hard to support. While I understand where this person is coming from, I don’t believe it is my place to sit on the judgment seat about the soul of another person. That seat belongs to God alone, and He will judge us all for our words, actions and thoughts.

I believe someone can have political or cultural views that doesn’t seem to line up with Scripture and still be a Christian. I believe someone can be living in sin and still be a Christian. This gets to the whole issue – What really determines the salvation of an individual person? Is is our stated beliefs, our actions, our relationship with God,  divine grace or some hard-to-calculate combination of all four? That question is difficult to answer with certainty because each person is so different. To quote Obama, “It is beyond my pay grade.”

When it comes to salvation, I consider the question that the Apostle Paul asked, “Who am I to judge some else’s servant?” As long as someone claims to follow Christ and acknowledges Him as Lord, I believe that person may very well be a Christian even if they support things that God hates. The Bible is full of people who loved God and yet did incredibly horrible sins. That is where grace and mercy come into play.

At the same time, a person can claim to be a Christian all they want and not really be one. Only God and that person really know the truth. I don’t believe that Jesus can be your savior unless He is also your Lord. The problem is that the lordship threshold is hard to define since we all sin in some way.

Personally, I believe abortion is wrong and should be outlawed in most cases. I have no intention of voting for Obama. I find some of the comments of his pastor impossible to reconcile with Jesus’ teaching. But that doesn’t mean that I think the guy is going to hell. Obama will have to account to God for his support of abortion rights and his role in extermination the unborn children of this country.

At the end of the day, only God knows for sure if either of the candidates are really part of His kingdom family. I hope they both are the real deal.

Only 5-4?

As a handgun owner, I was surprised when I heard today that the Supreme Court upheld individual gun rights by only a 5-4 margin. I believe it should have been an unanimous decision. This causes concern for the future of gun rights in this country. All it would have taken was one justice to have sided with the pro-ban crowd for a dire situation to have occurred.

Even though the NRA is celebrating tonight, I was scared by the result. What does it say when four justices are so out of touch with the American people, the platform of both major parties, both major presidential candidates, the sitting president and a majority of state governments? This shows just how liberal some of the justices are.

I believe this makes the next election even more important because one more liberal and the outcome likely would have been different. Even though Barack Obama supports the individual right of a person to bear arms, he is more likely to appoint someone who would have sided with the dissenters in this case. That scars me.

While I understand some of the claims by the anti-gun crowd, I believe the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted with a strict bias toward individual rights. When there is every a clear reason to debate or a question about the original intentions of the framers, decisions should favor the rights of the individual over government restrictions. The problem is once we give away individual rights; they are generally gone for good. It is hard to ever get rights back because that would require government leaders to relinquish some power.

What do you think? Does the Constitution only give the right to bear arms as part of a militia? Or is this an individual right? Read the decisions at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf

Politics, Obama and Jesus

James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and a major evangelical leader, has criticized Sen. Barack Obama of distorting the Bible and taking a “fruitcake interpretation” of the U.S. Constitution. Dobson made these comments on his radio show. He focused on a speech that Obama gave in June to a liberal Christian organization.

Obama said it would be impractical to govern based solely on the Bible. He suggested that many of the people who tout the Bible have not read it or only pick and choose certain parts that support their ideology. I agree with Obama that Biblical illiteracy is a problem in this country, including many evangelicals. I also believe that leaders use the Bible to push their own agendas. This includes McCain, Obama, both political parties, Christian leaders, atheists, gurus, parents, TV personalities, authors, civic leaders, pastors, stand-up comedians, etc. 

“Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?” Obama asked in the speech. “Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount?”

Dobson criticized Obama for referencing antiquated dietary codes and passages from the Old Testament that are no longer relevant to the teachings of the New Testament. 

“I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology,” Dobson said. While I do not personally agree with everything that Dobson says, he makes a good point about Obama taking things out of context. I believe that Obama in this speech does exactly what he accuses fundamentalists of doing. The Bible needs to be studied in context and totality. You have to understand that the Bible is the story of God and mankind as their relationship with each other is in flux. You have to ask what moment in redemptive history is being described in that passage in order to understand its present day implications.

Obama responded, “I do make the argument that it’s important for folks like myself, who think faith is important, that we try to translate some of our concerns into universal language so we can have open and vigorous debate rather than having religion divide us.”

I am all for universal language as long as the core truths are not lost in translation. Division seems to be something that has accompanied the true preaching of the Christian Gospel throughout time. Wherever the apostle Paul went, there was either a revolution or a riot. Jesus said that we should be willing to forsake all, including family for the Gospel. Jesus spoke about dividing families. He used harsh language and was more than willing to offend the religious leaders and politicians of the day. Avoiding divisive speech was not something that Jesus seemed too concerned with in His ministry. When it comes to division and culture, God was the one who confused the languages according to Genesis. He seems perfectly willing to let people become divided if pride leads them to elevate their will above His divine plan.

While I applaud Obama’s efforts to be a bridge builder, I don’t think you can effectively create a dialogue on religion and politics if you deny the importance of the Bible in shaping our culture, laws and history. Our laws and political system must have some basis. If the Bible is not a shaping force for those discussions, what should be the basis? Looking honestly at history, what were those shaping forces? Merely public opinion and consensus standards? Are there things that are universally wrong? Who defines those?

Many of the worst actions done by humans were somewhat popular at the time they occurred. At the very least, those atrocities were accepted by the masses to some degree. What does that say about merely basing laws on the reason of the age?

Laws change throughout time and are a mirror of societal values. Some of the greatest social changes came about because people took a stand based on their private faith. This includes Dr. Martin Luther King and William Wilberforce. 

In the United States, our laws are built on legal precedent as well as the pioneering effort by lawmakers and judges to advance necessary reforms. These changes adapt existing laws to an evolving political and social landscape. Would many of these changes have taken place if people refused to lead beyond the comfort levels of public opinion? Does the thought of God-given rights make necessary political change possible? These are important questions that need to be asked before we simply explain away the importance of the Bible with poor exegesis.   

Obama clarified to reporters, “I do suggest that the separation of church and state is important. But there’s no, no theological work being done in that speech in terms of the Bible.” You can’t pull out parts of Scripture to make your point and then claim you are not making a theological argument when someone calls you on its implications. I agree that a separation of church and state remains important to the preservation of each entity. At the same time, I think completely divorcing them goes too far and can easily become a serious suppression of religious freedom. 

Dobson criticized Obama for suggesting that religion in politics should be relegated to only things that can be embraced by the overwhelming majority of citizens. Obama’s view seems to elevate public opinion and reflect a belief in the overall decency of humanity. Scripture is quite clear that the human heart is wicked and capable of incredible evil. I think Obama’s argument puts too much faith in man and not enough in God. 

“Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal rather than religion-specific values,” Obama said. “It requires their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason.”  Obama makes a good point here. Religious beliefs should be able to be defended by reason and logic. I am all for that process. We need to have more intellectual, thorough discussions and fewer sound bite reactions. I applaud Obama’s efforts to avoid rhetoric while I denounce his mischaracterization of fundamentalists at the same time. I believe he has effectively done both in his public comments.

Dobson said the suggestion is an attempt to lead by the “lowest common denominator of morality.” He asked, “Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his bloody notion of what is right with regard to the lives of tiny babies?”

When it comes to abortion, I believe it comes down to your view on the sanctity of life and the beginning of life. If you believe that abortion is murder, I don’t understand how you could ever condone it except for the cases where you are talking about exchanging a life for a life. This has nothing to do with public or private morality if you hold my view on the issue. Others may have a different view. But that doesn’t negate the value of what I have to say. 

Dobson summed up the implications of Obama’s position. He said, “What Obama is trying to say here is, unless everybody agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe.”

While I have no doubt of Obama’s sincerity and his personal claims to be a Christian, I do have concerns that his statements reflect a worldview that would make it difficult for Christians to have a fair say in the legislative process. And I believe he would appoint judges that would further limit the influence of the Bible at a time when we could use a little more Sermon on the Mount thinking.