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Politicians, Problems and Principles 03/21/2008

Jeremiah Wright's rants have raised concerns about Obama's beliefs.

Tremendous controversy has arisen from the statements made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s fiery pastor and longtime mentor. His harsh words will be played over and over from now until the election. In response, Sen. Obama delivered one of the most refined and eloquent speeches dealing with race, partisanship, division and ministers’ tendencies to embellish and exaggerate.

Most public speakers, including those of us in ministry, have embellished—and this practice will likely continue. I am thankful for my wife and staff for pointing out my tendency to overstate things. When I do so, I quickly admit it and repent. It is, however, possible to detect the principles that drive my statements and personal convictions. I prefer to avoid labels and generalizations, but those who listen to me would consider me a fiscal and social conservative. The term “compassionate conservative” would apply in the sense that I believe it is important to care for those who suffer (though I believe that the church and individuals are far more equipped to fulfill social needs than the government.)

A single label does not cover all the positions I hold dear. However, if you analyze where I’m coming from biblically, politically and socially, you will be able to arrive at some conclusions. Let me express the concerns I have about the presidential race and leadership.

No candidate has all the answers, even if they rightly identify and address the problems. The change that must occur to improve our communities and nation is a heart change—the result of a spiritual transformation.

For example, the issue of race will never be solved with antidiscrimination laws, as important as these are. Critical and judgmental attitudes must change from within in order for people to really care for each other regardless of color or ethnicity. Similarly, our welfare system has failed because it devalues the individual, disconnects people from one another and polarizes our society. Civil rights laws should guarantee equal opportunity for everyone and punish those who blatantly discriminate against people based on race, but the ideal solution would be for us to care enough about each other to willingly open the doors of opportunity.

One confusing aspect of Sen. Obama’s response to his pastor’s statements and his self-claimed interest in tearing down division, racially or otherwise, is the fact that he strongly advocates abortion. How does one value the rights of individuals, regardless of race, eliminate the past misdeeds enacted on people, at any time, for any reason, and at the same time vocally and forcefully uphold the right of a person to terminate an innocent, helpless life in the womb? Unless the life of the mother is at stake, how can one make a sound argument for abortion while at the same time discussing human or civil rights? One would think that the disproportionately high rate of abortion in the minority community would cause the senator to fight strongly for education and child care in order to reduce the number of terminated lives among blacks, but just the opposite is true.

Any candidate, including those currently in the race, will discuss specific problems, but seldom do we hear principled solutions. Do we understand that government best functions as a protector and an enabler, but never the all-provident answer to human ills?

The promises politicians make must always be considered in light of proven principles. Such principles will never contradict biblical truth; in fact, the basis for most of them can be found in the Bible. But I also understand that religionists and theologians often misinterpret these principles and misapply them to their own demise.

I will stand by the principles I hold dear and pray for those who seek office that we may understand that no person is the answer. Ultimately, building our house on the solid rock of not merely hearing, but doing those things which are best will enable this house and this nation to stand the wind and storms that the times surely predict.



Author: James Robison

Word Count: 670

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.