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Oprah and Obama 12/14/2007

Oprah Winfrey endorses Senator Barack Obama

America affords freedom of thought and speech.

Oprah Winfrey’s bold endorsement of Senator Barack Obama surprised a few people. It has been interesting to listen to the comments and measure the reaction to such an unprecedented political alignment.

Regardless of your opinion of the senator, it is important to understand that it is Oprah’s God-given privilege and every American’s responsibility to participate in this great political process. Our nation’s next leader will guide many of the policies under which we live and provide critical influence around the world.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of Oprah’s endorsement has been the overall reaction by her viewers. They have shared a couple of important impressions. First, her endorsement will not necessarily influence their vote. They will listen to her comments and give them consideration, but not move en masse to her choice. This is how it should be.

Second, it is refreshing and encouraging that the majority indicated that her political involvement would not affect their appreciation for her talk show. They will still watch it because they enjoy her guests and open interaction with people bringing a wide range of views. Again, this is how it should be.

Viewers should not make Oprah an enemy, even if they disagree wholeheartedly with her endorsement decision and candidate. It is disturbing when a visible personality shares his or her feelings and immediately becomes the target and enemy of those who once seemed to appreciate their position and ability, whether in leadership or entertainment.

Too often when people choose different candidates, it causes a dangerous division between them. They write each other off and often engage in damaging character assassination. This is rank partisanship and potentially has the same meanness as radical sectarianism.

Although religious leaders should not commit their denomination or ministry to endorse a candidate, every individual certainly has the right to express their personal opinions of the issues and candidates. When this happens, they should not become the enemy of those who disagree within their own faith group or party. We can have serious debates and discussions, but should never be unkind, malicious critics of those who exercise the privileges of freedom.

The Christian community would do well to learn from Oprah’s audience how to be forbearing, kind and even forgiving when disagreeing with her stand. Certainly, I do not agree with her party’s positions, particularly on abortion. Those of us who value human life should never compromise on this issue. I will openly and unapologetically disagree with any candidate who supports abortion on demand. Yet, I will still treat them with respect. I will not participate in character assassination, even while fervently opposing their views.

Believers must learn to disagree without putting people down or cutting them off. The ability to hold different views and continue living together in peace separates a civil society from perpetual conflict. I pray that all of our leaders in every field will be respected when they express their opinions, so that we can continue to enjoy the freedom upon which our nation was founded.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 505

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.