Towards the end of President Barak Obama’s second inaugural address he argued:
“You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”
I wholly agree with this inspiring proposition by the President. Barak Obama is indeed one of the most accomplished speakers of our time. Yet, I discovered as perhaps you did also that not all of Obama’s inaugural speech was equally inspiring. Nevertheless, believing the President to be a fair and open-minded man, I lift up my voice in defense of my brethren’s most ancient values and enduring ideals and call upon the President to re-consider the logic and the spirit of some of the positions he has taken.
The United States of America is at a crossroads. Time is quickly running out for the world’s dominant superpower and number one economy to set its house in order. There are several startling trends afoot in the nation that will humble it, if not bring it down completely, if not effectively resolved.
But as you begin your second term in office, Mr. President, you seem to give every indication that you misunderstand just how gravely wounded the nation is financially and politically, certainly— but especially, morally. The secular press tends to overlook the fact that it will be of the Spirit if the Flesh [the nation’s material well-being & future] is to be saved from the gathering crisis. After all, what was it that sustained Abraham Lincoln and the Union in their time of trial? Was it just their rifles and canons? Was it not the righteousness of their cause?
David Brooks, a conservative journalist working for the liberal New York Times, made this comment about your second inauguration speech:
I also think Obama misunderstands this moment. The Progressive Era, New Deal and Great Society laws were enacted when America was still a young and growing nation. They were enacted in a nation that was vibrant, raw, under-institutionalized and needed taming.
We are no longer that nation. We are now a mature nation with an aging population [Why we might ask? Is it because the vibrant potential of so many millions of our white, black, and Latino youth and their potential children have been sacrificed on abortion’s pagan altar of selfish convenience?].
Far from being under-institutionalized, we are bogged down with a bloated political system, a tangled tax code, a byzantine legal code, and a crushing debt [not to mention an appalling amount of fiscal corruption at the highest levels of American society]. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/opinion/brooks-the-collective-turn.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1358883569-pQYbbD/j2/ypooIiqVZgIg
Mr. President, what are you going to do to address this harsh, on-going, destructive reality sapping America’s strength?
Next is the urgently needed healing of the nation’s bitter political divide. Do you remember what Abraham Lincoln said: a House divided will fall? [Actually, Lincoln was just quoting Jesus Christ from Matthew 12:25]. Good will and a spirit of collaboration with a generous sprinkling of patriotism are absolutely necessary to enact desperately needed reforms. I sense that your speech fell short in this regard. It seems to me that it failed to reach across the blue vs. red divide. It did, however, stoke up the partisan spirit of your so-called “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party. Maybe that’s all your speech was intended to do.
Still, I consider it a failure to rekindle the spirit of collaboration desperately needed throughout America. This failure was symbolically evident by who was NEITHER present NOR accounted for at your swearing in. Where were former President George W. Bush, and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney? Why weren’t they seated on the speaker’s platform beside you for the whole nation to see even a semblance of unity or brotherhood among the nation’s leaders? Couldn’t you find a few gracious words to speak in order to persuade them to come? Was extending the olive branch just too hard? Must it always be a zero-sum game? Is pride getting in the way of taking care of the nation’s urgent business? You know what they say about pride going before a….
The bad blood is obviously such that, ominously, most of the Republican delegation from the House of Representatives wouldn’t come to your big bash—even have a few free drinks! Such political bitterness in Washington, D.C. is systemically weakening America’s ability to meet the long-term challenge posed by a rising geo-political competitor like China.
As for addressing the nation’s moral problems, The Washington Times newspaper noted in its January 22, 2013 editorial:
Though the theme of Inauguration Day 2013 was “faith in America’s future,” the United States has seldom chosen a president more determined to separate the nation from its traditional reverence for faith, family and freedom. The proposition that individuals “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, is harder to see in the vision of Mr. Obama’s America where administrative agencies make choices for individuals, even down to the details of dictating the design of everyday household appliances….
The signature achievement of his first term, Obamacare, established the precedent whereby the White House can force citizens to purchase a service that had previously been a matter of personal choice. The health care mandate goes so far as to override the distinct choices of religious organizations, forcing them to provide contraception and abortion coverage against their will. This is a clear attempt to undermine the previously sacrosanct respect for religious freedom in American political culture.
Now please, carefully consider this final point Mr. President. When you swore your oath of office with your left hand placed on the Bibles once used by Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln, you said:
My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.
You pointed out in your inaugural speech following this oath that the nation’s “freedom was a gift from God” though it “must be secured by His people here on Earth.”
And like previous American presidents, at the close of his inaugural address you invoked a blessing from America’s historic God, upon both people and nation, saying: “God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.”
I don’t think it would be too controversial to assert that the God you officially referred to was in fact the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. Not Allah. Not Buddha. Not one of the millions of the Hindu gods. Not John Lennon of the Beatles who once boasted that he was more popular than Jesus Christ, nor even the latest re-incarnation of some Marilyn Monroe Hollywood sex idol. America’s Founding Fathers and patriots overwhelmingly claimed the Bible’s God as America’s God. I’m sure you must know that.
But did you realize, Mr. President, that when you took this oath of office calling publicly upon the Bible’s God to be a witness and to hold you accountable, and claimed in your inaugural speech to want to govern our people by “our most ancient values and enduring ideals,” that there would be negative consequences if you did all this just for show—hypocritically.
And make no mistake about it, the Bible’s ancient values and ideals are indeed enduring because they are the Truth and are essential reading for anyone who wants the Bible’s God to give him or her a blessing of hope and peace in this life and, eventually, the fullness of eternal life—rather than a cursing, heart-ache, and futility in this life and then the emptiness of eternal death. As Jesus of Nazareth said:
Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth (John 17:17 Amplified Bible)
“Man shall not live by bread [materialistic means] alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God [spiritual means]” (Matthew 4:4 English Standard Version).
In the Judeo-Christian Scriptures we see that there is a clear and repeated historic pattern of bad consequences that come when either leaders or people hypocritically claim God as their God, take oaths and invoke blessings using His name, but do not do what He commands. God does not consider such people to be guiltless even though they just say what they say because of tradition and the fact that they want to look good in public (Exodus 20:7). There are unpleasant consequences for such hypocrisy.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, freedom—we’re talking political, economic, and religious freedom—is always presented as being conditional upon obedience by the nation or leader who calls upon the Bible’s God. In other words, a leader or a nation that calls upon the Bible’s God as their God must be found living within the ancient values and ideals expounded in His law or face the consequences.
Consider, Mr. President Obama, this statement that you made in your second inaugural speech:
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Is the physical expression of homosexual love in a marriage allowed by man’s law truly equal to that of a heterosexual one, which is sanctioned by the Scriptures, in the eyes of the Bible’s God? Does the Bible’s God have a preference, or none at all?
The New Covenant Scriptures tell us this: “For the whole law [God’s law] is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14 English Standard Version
Well, someone might argue, surely this Scripture justifies your proposition, Mr. President, because of what that person may subjectively feel about someone else. But does it? Is God’s standard of Truth based on subjective human feeling? Is it correct to say that as long as I just feel “love” for my neighbour then surely I’m okay in God’s sight whatever I do homosexually or heterosexually—that it’s all equal?
To answer this question one needs to know just how the word “love” is defined by the Bible’s God in the original languages in which the Scriptures were written and in its actual usage. To answer this question, if you really want to know, check out my online, streaming archived sermon series on love at:
You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.