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Living soli deo gloria under President-elect Obama
November 10, 2008
By Eric Redmond, 2 Second Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Convention
I am not and never have been a fan of John McCain, his proposed policies, his inconsistent record on many issues, his poor choice for a running mate, his thoughtless economic plan or of his very negative campaigning against Barack Obama.
It was hard for me to bear the thought of voting for him. It was equally hard for me to bear the thought of siding with a campaign for "change" that would passively allow each state to choose whether it would change the definition and legal institution of marriage, and that would not actively seek to change (read "work for the overturning of") Roe. v. Wade.
For me, neither candidate represented change or progress for the country, except on the issue of the country's readiness to be led by a candidate of color.
How I wish that the first time there was a probable opportunity for an African American candidate to reach the White House I could have cast my vote for such a candidate without any reservation. However, I am pro-life, and President-elect Obama is the most anti-life senator to come to power in my lifetime. I also am pro-conservative justices (who limit legislating from the bench). I am pro-marriage — that is, pro-heterosexual marriage. In the end, I could not overlook these issues as I approached Election Day. But the temptation to justify voting for Obama was strong, for I did not want to be against the side of history — of an African American finally making it to the Oval Office.
Thus, I made a very difficult choice: I voted for lives of the unborn rather than for approval from the vast majority of my own ethnic community. With this choice, I took the risk of being reproached for the name of Christ, for I only voted for life because of the fear of my Lord (Cf. Ex 1:15-2:12). I know such a choice risks invoking the ire or dismissal of the over-whelming majority of the African American community. Yet, on a most historic election day, I could not allow my personal pro-life stance to crumble under the weight of being perceived as a traitor to the African American cause for victory, for that goes against all godly wisdom.
I cast my vote in the hopes of rescuing those being taken to the slaughter. I could not vote in such a way that I would have ignored the blood flowing from fertility clinics, for I know that the Almighty would repay my cowardice. My hope in his word is that he will remember me and graciously and provide for my life, repaying me with mercy.
The question for me at this time is this: Can I continue to live soli deo gloria under a President whose moral judgment already is questionable before he takes the oath of office? Yes I can, for I can be obedient to Scripture, praying for the one in authority (1 Tim 2:1-8), honoring the one in authority (1 Pet 2:13-18), submitting to the one in authority (Rom 13:1-7; Tit 3:1) and seeking righteousness for the entire citizenry (Prov 14:34). These I will seek to do by grace. I will "honor the good appointment of God."
My humble proposal of an attempt to be Christocentric rather than Afrocentric will not be received with approval by many African Americans that I know. I hope to live long enough to witness another African American become a candidate for president of the United States of America — a candidate who is pro-life and pro-righteousness. Yet my hope may ring hollow to many other African Americans who are celebrating a Democratic victory that happens to seem pro-African American. To the celebrants, I might be labeled as sore loser seeking to justify his reasons for siding with conservative white America rather than with black America.
I am fairly certain that if J.C. Watts had been the Republican nominee for President, and if he had been running against Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, the great majority of African Americans would have found reason to vote for the wife of the "first Black President" (Bill Clinton) and her liberal ideals rather than for Watts and his conservative ideals. In doing so, such a vote would indicate that the great majority of African Americans have feelings about the type of African American who would be deemed worthy their votes for the seat at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — who would be worthy of African Americans' approval as their choice for their representative in the White House.
Those who fought for civil rights for African Americans were doing so out of a moral impetus to see African Americans treated humanely — as human beings rather than like chattel or as 3/5ths-human. I think the best way to honor their work and lives when the office of commander in chief is within reach would be to continue that moral quest. That quest is continued by finding a candidate who seeks to see African Americans, even those in the womb, treated humanely — as people rather than as cattle for our labor and experimentation or as a 3/5th-human fetus.