Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Lamentation

In the Old Testament, we read of the people of Israel asking their leader, Samuel, for change. The people wanted a king; they wanted to be like the nations. I understand that Americans want change. I'm okay with that. But do Americans really want to be "like the nations," like the rest of the world, like Socialist Europe? Yesterday's vote results indicate so, and I think that the direction of the change is what scares me.

First, I realize that many people who want change are coming from an economic perspective that suggests it can't get any worse, and therefore change in any direction would be change for the better. Personally, I haven't experienced an economic issue to cause me concern. I was able to paint the exterior of my house this summer and partially finish my basement. It was somewhat sacrificially done, but we knew that it would be. And we chose to proceed. Maybe I'm sheltered. Yeah, profit margins are down, attributed to competition - a common trait of the American idea known as capitalism. Yeah, corporate revenues are down, a phenomenon that cyclically occurs when important elections draw near. Yeah, gas prices skyrocketed and have since plummeted, a common summertime feature for gouging a little extra cash from vacationers. Yeah, retailers might not reach their lofty holiday goals, but I don't see a reduction of American materialism as a bad thing. I suppose the only worthy economic considerations would be the dollar's inflation without a trend of increasing salaries and available jobs, the trouble with social security, and the budget deficit. But the panic seen in the past months seems overdone and, frankly, ridiculous.

Second, I realize that some people who want change are coming from a foreign policy perspective. President Bush has served nearly 8 years, and we've been at war for 7 of them, ever since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. There are many Democrats who think Republicans want war. I am certain that nobody wants war. But there is a time for it. And these past few years (really, very few years, when considering the wars of history), have been a time for war, for declaring to and in the world that terrorism is not a valid lifestyle anywhere in the world. But that time is nearing an end. Republicans and Democrats alike acknowledge that.

Finally, and in the end, it's those who want change from a social perspective that concern me greatly. While I understand that America has changed since the 1950's, I like many are not confident that the kind of change we've seen has been for the better. We've seen the destruction of the family through crazy-high divorce rates, sexual immorality and perversion, abortion (some 40 million Americans in 35 years), and technological advancements that practically prohibit face-to-face verbal communication. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for technological advancements. But the family is an American - and a human - tradition that is being abandoned.

So what's the solution? Legislating certain issues of morality may or may not be appropriate. Should a secular America - that's what it has become - hold secular people to higher-than-secular moral standards? Many people, even Christians, say no. It's an attitude of, "Don't like abortion, don't get one!" It's a philosophy that says, "Some men like men. Some men like women. Whatever feels good, do it." The problem with this kind of relativistic thinking is where to draw the line. Why can it be drawn at consenting adults? Why not consenting juveniles? If a line could be permanently established in the conglomerate mind of a secular society, then maybe moral relativism would be acceptable for such a society. If same-sex marriage becomes acceptable, then why not polygamy? Really, why not? If same-sex marriage, why not man/dog marriage? The line that has been considered established throughout American tradition - one man/one woman - is a Biblical line. And that doesn't go over very well in a secular society, at least not for long.

Those who say yes to the question above, that America should continue to legislate morality, do so relying on the past. And for a fast-moving, hi-tech culture, clinging to the past is freakishly scary - even if it's right and good and true, even if it worked well then and would continue to work well now and into the future. But, alas, we want matter what kind.

Back to the Old Testament, we also read of the men of God (prophets) practically begging the people of the secularizing nation of Israel to repent. Some folks got out their Bibles, brushed of the dust, read God's law, and tore their clothes, crying out in repentance. Others laughed at the outdated message and continued down their path, which led unsurprisingly in destruction. But those who repented within the perishing nation also perished. Daniel, perhaps God's most faithful Old Testament saint, died in a pagan land. Where's the justice in that? Well, Daniel lived for God in that pagan land; he dealt with persecution in ways that we never will, and he sang the Lord's song until death. Christians know his reward. We live in that hope. Would it be great if America repented and restored the government to that of her heritage? Sure. Is that our hope as Christians? No. Our hope is not in the temporary-by-definition (
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."), man-made democracy with liberty and justice for all; it lies in the Kingdom of God, a perfect monarchy, a theocracy with freedom from sin and mercy and everlasting love for all. That was ushered in with Jesus' first, humble visit to our world. And it will come again when He returns in glory and power and majesty and authority. Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus.

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