The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

What Obama has done right (or at least better than the Republicans have done)

I go to a Republican church, and I vote almost exclusively Republican. When I lived in St. Louis, I also went to a Republican church, but the church next door was a Democrat church. You could tell by bumper stickers on the cars. This kind of bothers me. Would a Democrat feel comfortable in my church? I would hope so, because one can certainly hold to many principles of the Democratic Party, such as universal health care, gun control, or stronger environmental regulations, and be a Christian. I shouldn’t even have to say that. Many of these Christians would argue that their liberal positions flow from Biblically-based concerns.

I was in a discussion with a group of men from my church last week. We were discussing Philippians 2:14 (“Do everything without complaining or arguing” NIV),. This question was asked: Is it acceptable to complain or argue about President Obama and his policies? I stuck out my neck and stated that there are things that Obama has done in his first 100 days that I actually liked. Most shook their heads in disbelief; some were shocked and almost confrontational: “Name one thing Obama has done right! One thing!”

I didn’t say anything, and was relieved when the topic got back to Philippians 2.

Here are some things that I think Obama has done better than the previous Republican administration:

  • Environmental policy: McCain had the potential to be a good environmental president, but seemed to be caving in to the other side in his campaign. Clean air and clean water are precious. So are unspoiled land and wetlands. Overall, these were threatened by the Bush administration. There is nothing Biblical about endless growth in consumption or poor stewardship. Republicans for Environmental Protection has some excellent positions on environmental policy, but unfortunately these are not held by a majority of Republicans.
  • Energy policy: The Obama energy policy is much more sophisticated than the short-sighted “drill baby drill” mantra of the Republican campaign. It includes a breadth of renewable energy resources that have been on the backburner for way too long.
  • Torture: Yes, Al-Qaeda is bad. Very bad. But reading about the torture policies of the Bush administration makes me think I’m reading The Gulag Archipeligo, and it doesn’t make me happy. We are supposed to be better than our enemies. (John McCain, who knows about torture from personal experience, was opposed to torture as well).

Don’t take me wrong; I have some grave concerns about the Obama agenda. I didn’t vote for him, and I wouldn’t vote for him now. It is foolish to spend a trillion dollars to rescue companies that made horrible business decisions (would McCain have done any differently?), and his radical abortion agenda is offensive to me. But here they are, three things that Obama has done right.

Grace and Peace

P.S. Christian philosopher John Mark Reynolds gives his reasons for opposing torture here. HT: Cruchy Con.

May 1, 2009 - Posted by | Energy, Environment, Politics |

12 Comments »

  1. I’m a Brit, and I’m shocked to hear that you can get ‘republican churches’. That’s a cultural difference and a half – and one in which the Americans look worse off. I can see how it would happen though. (And what’s you can label churches over other non-issues in a similar way in the UK. But I’m still shocked.)

    Like

    Comment by PhiJ | May 2, 2009

  2. PhiJ:

    Thanks for your comment. It ought to be shocking to us as well.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | May 2, 2009

  3. Well we HAVE to create the evil straw man in order to generate enough anger to move people in this desensitized culture…dont we? Or not.

    Are you saying that perhaps we need to be more passionately motivated to love our neighbors and less motivated to fight them?

    Like

    Comment by Matt Strid | May 4, 2009

  4. Matt:

    Thanks for your comment.

    I was in a “Republican” church once when one of the associate pastors made several derogatory statements in the sermon about then president Bill Clinton. The comments were really irrelevant to the sermon. What if someone had invited a Democratic neighbor or coworker to church that morning? I found it to be a bit of an embarrassment.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take a stand on clear moral issues. But shouldn’t a pro-life, anti-gun, pro-environment, big-government Democrat feel 100% safe and comfortable in our churches?

    Kevin

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | May 4, 2009

  5. At the forefront of this is the various political party’s stances on moral issues like Abortion. Since the Republican party has given lip service to the anti-Abortion crowd over the last 20 years or so, as well as some other hot button issues, the Christian community has more or less attached itself to the Republican party.

    You might think this ridiculous, since there are many issues out there, and Democrats may line up with Christians on many of them. However, the abortion issue is forefront on the minds of many Christians, and I can’t tell you how many people I know in the church who are pretty much one-issue voters.

    Unfortunately, this leads to the demonizing of the Democrats in many Christian circles. You are exactly right in that the goal is to make all people, Dems and Reps, comfortable within the church. Christians can certainly criticize abortion rights without naming names. And certainly we could all be more honest about the varying opinions within the public and the parties.

    Like

    Comment by Richard | May 4, 2009

  6. Richard,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I agree that abortion is the critical issue that has driven many Christians to the Republican Party. It is the primary reason I vote so consistently Republican. The Republican leadership have often played lip-service to the issue, but now we are seeing what happens when a truly radical pro-abortion president is in power.

    There are, however, still a large number of pro-life Democrats in the rank and file. They ought to welcome and encouraged in our churches. Not encouraged to become Republicans, but to work at bringing the Democratic Party around, even if it takes 100 years.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | May 4, 2009

  7. Agreed

    Like

    Comment by Richard | May 4, 2009

  8. I honestly don’t understand how any Christian could believe that they have the right to judge such a thing as abortion. We all sin. In the end there is only one judge. I understand personal stances, and personal beliefs. Of course, as a Christian, you feel obligated to be pro-life. What concernes me however is their inexplicable nature of condemning others who do not share their beliefs when it is not in their place to condemn.

    Religion and politics do not go hand in hand. Any Christian who votes Republican for the sake of Pro-life is ignorant. Freedom of choice is a God-given right. Choice to love, choice to kill, Pro-choice. Knowing this leads me to believe that God would be Pro-choice him/herself. As long as we remember that some choices have consequences, I don’t see the issue of voting Pro-choice.

    Like

    Comment by Joseph | May 26, 2010

  9. I see that this page hasn’t been touched in many months, but I felt I needed to speak up about this issue. I can understand how most Christians are Pro-life. What I find telling is that your description of Dem’s and Obama are that we are Pro-Abortion. Obama is not “for” Abortion. Quite the contrary I am sure that him and his wife when faced with that decision would choose against an abortion. I am pro-choice but that does not mean I am for abortion. I don’t however feel I have the place to take away someone elses choice to do so. It is a horrible thing and I don’t agree with it, but I do feel that there are times when the people who opt to have abortions should be allowed to do so. To disallow it forms many negatives in society. From underground abortion “clinics” that are unsafe to self-attempts that can cause more harm. I think there is an assumption that the person who has an abortion just walks into a clinic one day and say “I need an abortion” then goes to the beach afterwards. I would say that most cases, the person who makes this choice is riddled with guilt and regret from what she and/or he decided to do.

    As for why Obama has a huge “Pro-Abortion” tacked on to his image is that Bush had passed laws against abortion, but it included some things that Obama felt needed to be done. The main concern was that the law that was passed denied funding to African Nations for Sex Ed and support to prevent Aids and other STD’s. His main reason for overturning these laws was to assist Africa with these issues. He instead came under fire for it as if he wanted to kill babies. Literally! I was in a church that was a good church and most of the people were Republicans. No worries. I was in good company. Then a visiting preacher got up and announced “exactly” what Obama had planned. (Which was very scewed) well, I thought “that was odd.. oh well” Went out to my car after church with my wife and on our windshield (and everyone else’s) was a flier labeled “Obama – murders babies” This sort of slander is not necessary and I don’t think Obama is as evil as most people make him out to be. I can add some more things to your list if you would like: from this site: http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-obama-has-done-right-list-of-90.html

    My favorites:
    Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women

    Families of fallen soldiers have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover A.F.B.;

    Ended media “blackout” on war casualties; reporting full information;
    Ended media “blackout” on covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover A.F.B.; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier’s family

    Ended the previous “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date

    Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children

    Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals

    Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings

    New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans

    Like

    Comment by Thorsen | December 9, 2010

  10. Thorsen:

    Thanks for your comment. Overall, I think the Obama administration has been a disaster, but I will give him credit when it is due.

    I do think “pro-abortion” is an appropriate label. Despite the rhetoric, “pro-choice” ends up being “pro-abortion” in many cases. When women go into abortion clinics, no one (in general) tries to talk them out of it, and pro-abortion policies and educational tactics do little to reduce the abortion rate.

    President Bush’s Africa AIDS policies were consistent with what many Africans wanted, rather than what Western “family planning” programs wanted to impose on their conservative cultures. Millions of HIV cases in Africa have been prevented through programs such as ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms), which Bush supported but family planning and AIDS advocates hated.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | December 9, 2010

  11. Reversed restrictions on stem cell research
    Appointed an assistant to the president for science and technology policy
    Created a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners
    Expanded loan programs for small businesses
    Extended and indexed the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch
    Expanded eligibility for State Children’s Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
    Expanded funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
    Directed military leaders to end war in Iraq
    Sent two additional brigades to Afghanistan
    As promised gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in the first 100 days of his administration
    Granted Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba
    Restored funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
    Released presidential records
    Now requires new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions
    Pushed for enactment of Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime law to include sexual orientation and other factors
    Created a White House Office on Urban Policy
    Supported increased funding for the NEA
    Funded a major expansion of AmeriCorps
    Worked to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
    Banned lobbyist gifts to executive employees
    Pledged to weatherize 1 million homes per year
    Invested in all types of alternative energy
    Enacted tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars
    Provided grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes
    As promised appointed at least one Republican to the cabinet
    Extended unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspended taxes on these benefits.

    Like

    Comment by TOMtheATHEIST | December 26, 2010

  12. Response to the idea that we should not stop a womans choice to have an abortion.
    Would you stop a woman from killing her newborn baby? Or would you still insist that
    it is her choice because it is her baby?

    Like

    Comment by Kathleen | March 25, 2012


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