Sould Christians Respect Obama?

The email below titled, “Should Christians Respect Obama?” was forwarded to me. Perhaps you’ve seen it too. (I have formatted the spacing to fit below; however, all emphases–bolds, italics, exclamation marks, words in all caps–are original.)

Dr. David Barton is more of a historian than a Biblical speaker, but very famous for his knowledge of historical facts as well as Biblical truths.

Dr. David Barton – on Obama
Respect the Office?   Yes.  Respect the Man in the Office?   No, I am sorry to say. I have noted that many elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, called upon America to unite behind Obama. Well, I want to make it clear to all who will listen that I AM NOT uniting behind Obama !

I will respect the Office which he holds, and I will acknowledge his abilities as an orator and wordsmith and pray for him, BUT that is it. I have begun today to see what I can do to make sure that he is a one-term President !

Why am I doing this ? It is because:
– I do not share Obama’s vision or value system for America ;
– I do not share his Abortion beliefs;
– I do not share his radical Marxist’s concept of re-distributing wealth;
– I do not share his stated views on raising taxes on those who make $150,000+ (the ceiling has been changed three times since August);
– I do not share his view that America is Arrogant;
– I do not share his view that America is not a Christian Nation;
– I do not share his view that the military should be reduced by 25%;
– I do not share his view of amnesty and giving more to illegals than our American Citizens who need help;
– I do not share his views on homosexuality and his definition of marriage;
– I do not share his views that Radical Islam is our friend and Israel is our enemy who should give up any land;
– I do not share his spiritual beliefs (at least the ones he has made public);
– I do not share his beliefs on how to re-work the healthcare system in America ;
– I do not share his Strategic views of the Middle East ; and
– I certainly do not share his plan to sit down with terrorist regimes such as Iran .

Bottom line: my America is vastly different from Obama’s, and I have a higher obligation to my Country and my GOD to do what is Right ! For eight (8) years, the Liberals in our Society, led by numerous entertainers who would have no platform and no real credibility but for their celebrity status, have attacked President Bush, his family, and his spiritual beliefs !

They have not moved toward the center in their beliefs and their philosophies, and they never came together nor compromised their personal beliefs for the betterment of our Country ! They have portrayed my America as a land where everything is tolerated except being intolerant ! They have been a vocal and irreverent minority for years ! They have mocked and attacked the very core values so important to the founding and growth of our Country ! They have made every effort to remove the name of GOD or Jesus Christ from our Society ! They have challenged capital punishment, the right to bear firearms, and the most basic principles of our criminal code !  They have attacked one of the most fundamental of all Freedoms, the right of free speech !

Unite behind Obama?   Never ! ! !

I am sure many of you who read this think that I am going overboard, but I refuse to retreat one more inch in favor of those whom I believe are the embodiment of Evil! PRESIDENT BUSH made many mistakes during his Presidency, and I am not sure how history will judge him.  However, I believe that he weighed his decisions in light of the long established Judeo-Christian principles of our Founding Fathers!!!  Majority rules in America , and I will honor the concept; however, I will fight with all of my power to be a voice in opposition to Obama and his “goals for America .” I am going to be a thorn in the side of those who, if left unchecked, will destroy our Country ! !  Any more compromise is more defeat ! I pray that the results of this election will wake up many who have sat on the sidelines and allowed the Socialist-Marxist anti-GOD crowd to slowly change so much of what has been good in America !

“Error of Opinion may be tolerated where Reason is left free to combat it.” – Thomas Jefferson
GOD bless you and GOD bless our Country ! ! !
(Please, please, please, pass this on if you agree.)
Thanks for your time, be safe.   “In GOD We Trust”
“If we ever forget that we’re one nation under GOD, then we will be a nation gone under.” – Ronald Reagan

In GOD We Trust……..

Respectfully, I disagree. The person who wrote this email didn’t say how to respect the office without respecting the person holding it. It may be possible to do so; however, I believe it is more important to respect people than positions. It sounds very noble to say, “I respect the office but not the man.” It’s like saying, “I respect my boss’s position of authority over me, but I don’t respect my boss.” But in my experience, this attitude makes it very difficult to “do everything without complaining or arguing.” That habit derives only from love. And love is expressed by subordinates to their authorities largely through respect (Eph 5:21–6:8; note especially 5:33 and 6:5).

It is possible not to respect the positions the President holds and still respect the President as an Image-bearing human creation if nothing else. But this kind of generosity which derives from thinking Christianly (a Christian worldview) is not expressed in this email. The tone of this email conveys contempt, not respect. I’m particularly unnerved by the way the term “embodiment of Evil” was tossed out there. Calling liberals Satan incarnate is sensationalist at best and certainly doesn’t portray the high view of human dignity that Christianity gives us.

A few other side notes to consider when viewing email forwards like this one:

  • It is highly unlikely that a PhD wrote an email in such broad strokes with such inflammatory language, not to mention so many exclamation points.  (In fact, I would be cautious of anything with this many exclamation marks, whether it claims to be from a PhD or not because when every sentence is exclaiming, that’s a sign that the email is not trying to get you to think about the topic, but is only interested in goading an inordinately emotional reaction from you (as opposed to an emotionally passionate response tempered with thought-full-ness).)
  • From Dad: “Dr. Barton’s website does not have a record of this document – so, I doubt that it is from him. I sent an e-mail inquiry to asking them to comment on its authenticity.” Thanks Dad!
  • Thirdly, there are at least three of the President’s views/positions that have been distorted and intentionally misrepresented in this email. Email forwards are notorious for this, and there is very little that is less Christian than bearing false witness.
  • Finally, I just want to comment that it is okay for Christians to disagree about most of the items in that list. This email implies that a Christian nation (whatever that means anyway) would resemble the exact set of beliefs behind this email; it implies that any good Christian would agree with this email wholesale.

So, should Christians respect President Obama? We, more than anyone, should—especially if you dislike him and/or disagree with his basic platforms. It is easy to love people we like: people who are like us, people with whom we agree. But Christ demands we love those who are irritating to us.

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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12 Responses to Sould Christians Respect Obama?

  1. me says:

    My inquiry e-mailed to on 10 February has gone unanswered 😦

    I sent a followup today…

  2. Brian says:

    Renea, don’t expect a follow-up. Here’s my general rule of thumb: if something is written by David Barton (or attributed to him), you can count on it being less-than-true, or blatantly false. Sure, he knows lots of facts. But, like the greatest of mere politicians, he twists facts and words to fit his agenda, namely, an extremely right-wing, providentialist interpretation of American history and current affairs which co-ops Christianity as its motivation.

    I’m also fairly certain that he is not a Ph.D. He claims to be a historian all the time, but a historian he is not, at least not in the normal understanding of the word, i.e., actually trained in the discipline of history.

  3. me says:

    Sorry Brian – “me” in that first comment = Renea’s dad.

    I sent the initial and follow up e-mails asking for a comment and perhaps a page on their site speaking to this issue. Today, I called them and as we all figured – he is not the author of this junk, they are planning to post a page on their site to counter this.

    And about the PhD thing; he lays no such claim to that title in this short bio:
    but thanks to, you can see this:
    “Bachelor of Arts degree from Oral Roberts University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Pensacola Christian College”.

    I found it interesting that the author of this e-mail adds a space before punctuation – even in the middle of a sentence – but not always. The formatting of these e-mail forwards gets mangled as it passes thru many different e-mail clients/readers, but I would not expect software to add that annoying space in some places and not in others. All of this points to a youngish author or someone attempting to appear young. (Of course, “young” is relative 🙂

    • reneamac says:

      Thanks Dan. Good editorial, but I’m not sure how it would directly apply to this particular email forward (and email forwards of this nature in general). I am calling this forward out on the carpet because it is uncharitable, not uncivil.

  4. the bandit says:

    This particular post feels like a game of pick-up sticks: everything’s going different directions, but I can’t pull at the single stick I want without disturbing the others.

    That in mind, I think a key issue here is the meaning of respect, and to what the author (who is not David Barton) is reacting to: frustration with an expectation to shut up and not voice his dissent “out of respect for the President.”

    It’s the same way I react to the concept of tolerance. I could possibly write a piece in a similar tone where I would declare no fear in being intolerant, even though my meaning would not be to embrace intolerance, but rather to emphasize that I will not let someone use accusation of intolerance as a weapon to force me to back down from reasonable principle.

    The danger with the author’s style is that the less intelligent who agree with him and the opposition (intelligent or no) can take his words and hold them up that his opinion is to advocate disrespect for President Obama. But I do not think that is his intention; he remains civil to the President despite his antithetical viewpoints, which speaks louder than his uncharitable words claiming a lack of respect.

    • reneamac says:

      Thanks Bandit (love the pick-up sticks analogy).

      I appreciate your comment about our culture’s psuedo-tolerance. But if we do not redeem the word tolerance, than we are playing their game by their rules. If we begin to use the word intolerance merely to mean in-psuedo-tolerance, then we’ve conflated the two, and it’s no wonder our Christian brothers and sisters can no longer tell the difference and become genuinely intolerant. The same goes for respect.

      That being said, I do think one of the objectives of this email is to foster disrespect for our President, even if it’s a civil disrespect. The first paragraph flatly says we (Christians) should respect “the Office” but not “the man.” The rest of the email is an effort to support that statement. Furthermore, even if we use the base definition of respect as civility, the author of this email is not civil. Manipulating facts and distorting the vision of a person is not civil. Using inflammatory language like “embodiment of Evil” is not civil. Even using all those ridiculous exclamation points is not civil. And unfortunately the case can’t even be made that this disrespect is unintentional: note the use (and non-use) of the word “President.” It just isn’t possible to be civil while wielding uncharitable words. Words can be harsh yet charitable, but they cannot be uncivil and charitable.

      You’re right. I’m raising the standard for the definition of respect to that which is given us through Scripture in regard to authority figures; Scripture raises the bar from civility to charity. I don’t think this is an unreasonable thing to do especially since this forward is aimed at Christians.

      [Note: Ephesians isn’t the only epistle with this pattern, it’s just the first one that came to mind that night. I could have also pointed out the household texts in Peter’s epistles, and Colossians as well, though the verbage in Colossians is obey and submit, which of course implies respect. So you can see the consistent theme running throughout and not merely cherry-picked.]

  5. Thoughtful and well said lady.

  6. Pingback: More Conservative BS about President Obama « speak what we feel

  7. reneamac says:

    Reblogged this on speak what we feel and commented:

    It’s voting season, a good time to remind ourselves of our responsibility toward respect for others (including politicians).

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