Friday, February 16, 2007


Thoughts on Campaigns, Candidates and Athesists Who "Stab Religion in the Neck with a Screwdriver!"

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Sorry, but it’s been a frenetic roller coaster these last two weeks. 12-hour days with interspersed ministry travel have sidelined me. But, I’m back!
The question I’m asked most these days is, "So what d’ya think of the campaigns and the candidates?" The second most asked is, "What about this Barack Obama?" I have answers for both.

As far as the campaigns, they are way too early. Campaigns distort reality. Too often, candidates say and do so many things during their campaigns that are not meant to benefit the country, but simply win the prize. Much of what we see at campaign stops, hear in interviews and read in essays and op-ed pieces have nothing to do with who the candidate really is or what he/she intends to do once in office. For this reason, I don’t think excruciatingly long campaigns serve the nation well.

That being said, there is a silver lining in this otherwise dark cloud: We each have time to do serious research. We can find out who these people really are, what they really believe and what their track record has been. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever.

I chose to start this scrutiny with Barack Obama for a number of reasons. He was the first to aggressively attempt to engage the Evangelical community, of which I am a part. He was also the first to boldly invite a public conversation on religion—something I think is more than worthwhile. I took him up on the invitation; you can read what I discovered about his religious identity at (Scroll down to my article, "Barack Obama: Sheep or Goat?") There are, of course, so many more candidates and prospective candidates to explore. This weekend I meet in a closed door session with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, an apparent front-runner among GOP candidates. Governor Romney’s Mormon faith, reported spotty track record on moral issues and only recent conversion to the sanctity of life and marriage demand intense investigation. I plan to ask him the hard questions. Still, he holds great potential.

On the top moral issues, only one contender has a spotless history: Kansas senator Sam Brownback. I’ve known Sam for some time. He’s a champion for all things that really matter. He defended human life, the integrity of the family and religion in the public square long before it was a way to get Sunday talk show gigs. He’s the real deal. The problem with Sam is whether a senator can be elected (they’re the least favorites) and whether the party will back him. He’s always marched to a different drum. Sadly, that can hopelessly handicap him. But, as he told me before he went public, "I just felt God wanted me to do this, whether I win or not." I’ve felt from the beginning Sam’s role is as prophetic witness to Truth, no matter who emerges as the frontrunner. I told the Washington Post, Sam’s greatest contribution will be to anchor the morality of the Republican Party. That will be critical, particularly with Rudy in the race—a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual political ally. Notwithstanding, his commanding presence during 9-11 just may carry him across the finish line.

Giuliani is a case all his own. I lived in New York, my parents are both New Yorkers (Dad from Manhattan; Mom from Brooklyn), and I visit the Big Apple routinely. New York is unlike anywhere else in the U.S.—and Rudy is unlike any other politician. I’m not sure he can make it work for those reasons, but it’s his personal relationships and personal morality that concern me most. I must give the point to Barack Obama for admitting he was untruthful when he claimed early on that his religious beliefs didn’t affect his policy decisions. He "came clean," so-to-speak, when he confessed that in fact they did animate both his ideas and actions. Ruddy should tell us what animates him.

All this goes for all the candidates—democrats, republicans, independents, socialists, greens and whoever else we may have out there by the time things really rev up. For Christians, what matters most is exactly what matters most: The paramount moral issues. We need to do diligence and exhaustively research what these candidates have said and done on the three biggies: Sanctity of Life, Sanctity of Marriage and the Public Acknowledgement of God. If the candidates don’t have these points of the moral compass straight, all their other equations and trajectories will be off. You can’t navigate the complex roads of life, individually or corporately, with faulty vectors.

Do your research carefully and prayerfully. Go on the Internet and find original source material: 1) The words of the candidates themselves, 2) Their voting records, 3) What other close observers have written about them, and 4) What their friends and enemies say about them. Then pry for wisdom, which God promises to give you "liberally."

I was at a lovely church this past Sunday and a woman said to me, "I watched Barack Obama with his beautiful wife on Oprah Winfrey, and they seemed so nice and beautiful. He just seemed like someone we could get behind." Good looks, intelligence, charm, bright smiles and good humor make for a pleasant seat-mate on a long flight, but it doesn’t necessarily make a good chief executive for the most powerful nation on earth. We shouldn’t elect presidents for their charisma and star-power. We need a chief executive who understands and is utterly committed to the Constitution of the United States that secures those God-given rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the first of which is "Right to Life."
Hillary, of course, needs to commentary. She’s an all-too-well-known quantity, and she ain’t changing.

Honorable (or dishonorable) mention goes to some others: Arkansas governor Mike Hukabee, a good guy with no name recognition. Same can be said for California congressman Duncan Hunter. On the Dem side, runners include Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, the highly unusual Rep. Dennis Kusinich of Ohio, Sen. Joseph Biden. There are others I can’t remember. If you can’t either, it probably says a lot about their chances.

It’s going to be a long road—I fear a nearly intolerably long road—to November, 2008, but let’s use it wisely. I’ve already met and talked with three of the candidates, and my aim is to meet face-to-face with all of them. I’ll let you know what I find.

On a related matter: The counter assault against those of us who publish the facts has begun and it’s ugly. One of our own close allies is the subject of a clever slander and libel attack on the popular Somebody with a little tech-savvy concocted a video clip taken from a long-ago news conference, mimicked his voice and has him obscenely insulting a national Christian leader. Unless you really study it, you can’t tell whether it’s for real or not. Of course, I’ve known this person for many, many years and know full well he never said such a thing and never would. This is just one diabolically ingenious way of discrediting us before our "truth-telling" even begins.

In my next post, I’ll tell you about the newest attack against our Ten Commandments display in the front garden of our ministry house across the street from the Supreme Court. This time it comes, believe it or not, from the "Beltway Atheists," whose slogan is "Stabbing religion in the neck with a screwdriver since 2005." What’s even more incredible is that the Government of the District of Columbia has granted them a number of private meetings and just recently a public hearing on their complaint against us.

Just imagine an organization with a slogan, "Stabbing gay people in the neck with a screwdriver since 2005."

God help us—and He will!

Back later.

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