The US presidential election is heading into its final forty days. Most of the polls are close, and much is being said about the importance of the debates which are scheduled for October.
As I look at the current race–in what many are saying is a pivotal contest in America’s history–I am reminded of one unmentioned advantage that President Barack Obama holds.
It relates to human nature.
I’m also aware of a different kind of strength that might propel Mitt Romney in 2012. Let’s call it Mitt Romney’s secret weapon.
First, a bit of perspective.
The main predicament we find ourselves in in America during this early part of the 21st century is a titanic battle of worldviews that has become a struggle for the future of the nation.
The mainstream media blurs our understanding of this battle by naming it “gridlock”–as in Washington, D.C. They don’t define gridlock nor explain why it is worse now than it was thirty years ago. They imply that the answer is for Republicans and Democrats to be more tolerant and humble toward one another which would translate into bi-partisan accomplishments.
But a change of attitude is not the problem. The two major parties in this country have come to strongly represent two diametrically opposed political ideologies that are battling for America’s soul.
There is little room for compromise. One will win and the other will lose.
Here’s what I mean.
For the first two hundred years of American history, various political parties participated in our national life. They had differences on numerous issues, but not on the fundamental American worldview which was Judeo-Christian. They all generally believed in God, the American experiment in freedom, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and America’s just-war role in world affairs.
Thus a progressive Democrat like Franklin Roosevelt, as recently as the 1940s, could go on the radio and, almost like the “pastor” of the nation, lead the citizens of the United States in prayer as they faced the dark days of World War II.
His Republican alternative could have done the same. At that time, the atheist or secular view of life was present in this country but had not become a dominant player in government, the media, or the high echelons of education–or either political party.
But, from the 1960s onward, secularism rose to become a powerful force in America life and politics. Its champions created a dubious interpretation of the First Amendment, and under the newly minted mantra of “separation of church and state” began to battle at every turn the Judeo-Christian foundations of the nation.
Prayer in schools fell in the 1960s; Abortion on demand became law in the 1970’s; Families began to crumble under the onslaught of immorality and easy divorce became the norm; Free enterprise capitalism became disrespected and controlled; America’s role as a beacon of liberty began to be questioned in the world (think Viet Nam), and this change began to affect the two political parties.
For those who like labels, we are told that the Republicans went right and the Democrats went left.
If life was based on geography, then this branding might be true. But it’s not. Life is based on ideas that emanate from a person or group’s concept of reality.
Here is the better perspective: Republicans continued to believe in the biblical worldview of life, liberty, and government, and the Democrats began to embrace secularism.
So in 2012, Republicans generally promote the historic Judeo-Christian worldview whose issues focus on pro-life, family, freedom, hard work, small government, national defense and believe that America is a God-blessed nation.
The Republican platform of 2012 backs up that analysis. You can read it here.
The Democrats, on the other hand, are now anti-life (abortion), want to legalize same sex marriage (re-define family), want the government to restrict the freedom of business and religion in this nation, desire to provide substantial entitlements to people, want a larger and more powerful central government, and are committed to scale back national defense.
The Democratic platform of 2012 also clearly backs up the above analysis. You can read it here.
It is not being unfair to say today that Republicans “trust in God” and Democrats “trust in government.” Voting trends in past elections show that faith-based people vote Republican nearly 70% of the time and the same number of secular-oriented people vote Democratic.
In fairness, there are Republicans that take secular positions on some issues, and there are Democrats that take biblical stances in various areas. No human or party is perfectly consistent.
But the stark contrast remains. One party believes in freedom anchored in God-given truths. The other professes a freedom that evolves from human sources.
So we come to the clearest-choice election of all of American history. Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party–despite their many weaknesses–want to steer the American nation back to its biblical foundations and moorings. Barack Obama, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party–despite their many strengths–want to take America into a humanistic future.
Barack Obama has a decided advantage in this task which relates, not to his secular outlook, but to the teachings of the Bible. It explains and history verifies that human beings are depraved, sinful, have missed the mark of God’s glory (Romans 3:23)–and hence, find it easier to be selfish than do right.
We call this truth human depravity.
What this means in elections is that if a sizable minority or majority of Americans no longer believe in God and do not have biblical faith that produces character, self-control, sacrifice, and in a word, morality–then those people will use their freedom to vote for more money from the Treasury.
Many years ago, John Adams warned us that , “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
When we cease to be faithful and moral due to our human depravity, we will vote for those things that take away freedom (and bring God’s judgment).
This is the 47% that Mitt Romney got in trouble for mentioning. There is a growing segment of the American population that want the government to take care of them (depravity) as opposed to putting their trust in God (faith & morality).
I blame this sad state of affairs on the Church. We have failed to bring the message of Christ’s love, grace, power and hope to the masses in our nation. We have not expanded the culture of faith and morality that freedom requires to be sustainable.
So a growing percentage of the people want a government savior, not the Prince of Peace.
We, the Church, are at fault.
We need to repent.
Going into the November 6 election, this neglect is Barack Obama’s advantage. If a majority of people act out of their self-interest (human depravity), he will win the election. And if he does, secularism just might become the majority religion in our nation as it is in many European countries. And we will accelerate down the destructive pathway our European brethren are treading.
Mitt Romney doesn’t have the power of human depravity on his side. But he does have a secret weapon that is quietly amassing behind him: the power of prayer and repentance.
Many different prayer movements are launching in the next forty days among American believers to soften our hearts, ignite our faith, and invite the gracious hand of God to invade our double-minded nation.
One movement is America for Jesus–led by Anne Gimenez–which will take place in Philadelphia a few days from now. Shirley and I were a part of the original Washington for Jesus on April 29, 1980 that brought a season of renewal to our nation. Anne’s visionary husband, John, is now in heaven, but she has picked up the torch to call the country back to the Lordship of Christ. If you’re able to participate in AFJ 2012, here are the details.
Also this week another friend of mine and his team are starting forty days of worship on the Washington Ellipse near the White House. It is called “David’s Tent” and if you live in the DC area, please go down to the Mall night or day to join those that are worshipping Jesus 24-7.
Next week I will be in the DC area for another prayer thrust called “The Summons” in which intercessors are descending on the capital city for pray for our leaders and the coming elections. If you want to participate, here is the site to look up.
And if you are in other parts of the country and world, there are a number of prayer thrusts that are happening to call the Church to intercession, humility, repentance, and fundamental change. One takes its name from the famous 2 Chronicles 7:14 passage – “if my people“- and the other is a call to fasting and prayer for the next forty days.
When I got home from a meeting last night, I saw yet another announcement from Dr. John Hagee, American pastor and leading advocate for Israel:
“I am asking the Christians of America to join us in 40 days of prayer for this presidential election. These 40 days of prayer will begin on Sept. 28, 2012. You can do it individually or in groups, but prayer is the most powerful force God has given us to bring our nation back to righteousness. I’ll be saying more about this as the year progresses, but mark it on your calendar and start telling your family, friends, and church members now about the 40 days of prayer.”
A huge groundswell of prayer is beginning. Some of it will be for Barack Obama’s re-election, but most of it will be a cry for repentance and revival that will benefit Mitt Romney’s candidacy.
Will it be advantage “depravity” on November 6 or the secret weapon of answered prayer?
Only God knows what we deserve.
Let us pray.