As I recover from election night and the flood of post-election analysis, I continue to return to this tweet:
In two sentences, it sums up our culture, our society. If this election is indicative of the sum total of all that we are as a nation, then we are in a sad condition. Denny Burk, in his blog post, The Loyal Opposition, states that not only must we honor our president, we must, even more, be true to who we are as Evangelical Christians and make a stand against those social issues that defy who we are and what we believe. Burk explains the fundamental issue:
Last night’s election is a disaster for social conservatives not so much because of the president’s views, but because the President’s views appear to be a reflection of the nation’s views.
In my view, we, as a nation – and I include those who claim some sort of religious affiliation, be it Protestant or Catholic or Evangelical – have traded in the “glory of God” for a government that finds its purpose in dictating every aspect of our lives. Simply put, our hope is not in Christ alone, but in the government. There are several indicators of this.
1. This past October, a Pew Survey reports that numbers of those who have no religious affiliation continues to grow. Almost 20% claim no religious affiliation, up from 8% two decades ago. The number is higher for young adults under 30. You can read about it here, and Mike Lee offers good analysis of the report here.
2. The secularization of America is on the rise. For a nation that has made claims to be a “Christian” nation, we are headed more and more toward the secular society common in present-day Europe. Collin Hansen dissects the decline in Europe here, and my analysis of its spread to America can be found here.
3. The exit polls in Tuesday’s election showed that Christians – be they Catholic or Protestant – voted for and supported the Democratic Party and it’s platform of abortion, same-sex marriage, and rising hostility towards religious groups. CNN questioned the influence of the religious right, saying
In swing state Ohio, exit polls showed that Obama got 30% support among white evangelicals. While that’s hardly a victory, it’s better than the 27% support Obama got among those voters four years ago.
Steven Ertelt tells us more about the Catholic vote here. He says,
Despite a presidency that was based on attacks on Catholics, with aggressive promotion of abortion and attacks on religious liberty via the HHS mandate, President Barack Obama received the majority of Catholic votes on Tuesday.
Exit polling showed 25 percent of the electorate consisted of Catholic voters and they went for Obama by a 50-48 percentage point margin. Exit polls revealed that churchgoing Americans were more likely to vote for Romney and less frequent churchgoers sided with Obama.
All of this tells us that, as a nation, the place of religion is waning and, for those who do claim religious affiliation, it apparently has no affect on their view of society (or politics). We can believe one thing, yet vote another. Marriage may be an institution ordained by God for one man, one woman, yet we’ll vote for a political party that waves the banner of same-sex marriage. The same for abortion. The same for religious liberty.
We have become dependent on the institution of government and, thus, self-sufficient. Our need for God has waned, replaced instead by policies and court decisions seemingly intent on dictating what is best for us. And, this includes our morality. Instead of looking to God, we look to Capitol Hill.
All of this shows that we have exchanged “the truth about God for a lie.” In Romans 1, the Apostle Paul states,
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools…Romans 1:18-22 ESV
As Christians who hold solidly to a biblical worldview, it is clear that our Great Commission calling is as important now as it was 2000 years ago. We must show those around us that the only hope is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. As Denny Burks concludes,
No Christian should be surprised by our changing political fortunes. Even though we may be American citizens, we know that we are nevertheless strangers and aliens (1 Peter 2:11). We know that here we have no lasting city, but that we are seeking a city which is to come (Hebrews 13:14). Until that city comes, we will seek the good of the city that we are in (Jeremiah 29:7), knowing that our ultimate hope for its transformation is in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And to that hope we give our lives no matter what happens on election day.
On September 11, 2001, when our nation was attacked by terrorists, the immediate and overwhelming response was one of helplessness. People left work and school and gathered their families together. Churches opened the doors nightly for prayer. Our local and national leaders put differences aside and prayed together. They sang “God Bless America” on the steps of the Capitol, and they met at the National Cathedral to worship. The nation lifted its eyes toward the holy mountain. The real need was evident – a loving, caring, protecting God.
That hope alone is what we must point to and give our lives to.