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Election: Is America getting worse or better?

November 27, 2012

By Paul Louis Metzger
Multnomah University Professor
New Wine Skins Ministry

You may have come across statements to the effect that the apocalypse is at hand given the election results. You may have heard similar statements from those whose candidates won, if they had lost. It certainly makes me wonder where our ultimate hopes are placed. It also makes me ponder how much we really value our democracy, which is for all the people. Our candidates may win or lose, but hopefully our democracy is bigger than our selections. One thing’s for certain. We may experience a bit of a mini-apocalypse or meltdown, if we cannot find a way in this democracy to work together across the aisle and across the faith spectrum to make sure that Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg endure—that this “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

To return to my earlier point, I find in some conservative Christian circles the idea that our country is getting progressively worse. I heard a white preacher lament this seemingly apparent reality several years ago. I thought at the time just what I am thinking now—if this is so, why then do many African Americans, Hispanics and women feel our country is getting better? I can’t help but think if our perceptions on whether things are getting better or worse are often bound up with how much we think our special interests are taken to heart and how large or small our own voting bloc is. After all, in a democracy, representation is often configured in terms of percentages.

If America is a chosen nation, as many conservative Christians believe, they should continue working as collaboratively as possible to ensure that our government of, by and for the people is as inclusive as possible. If they are hoping to return it to some mythical, ideal state of Christian nationhood, they will be disappointed. But if they seek to come forth as Christians in pursuit of our country’s democratic ideals along with others, they will find as they work with open-minded people of other traditions that there is a place for them, just as there is for others. Besides, the idea that the conservative Christian movement in America is nothing but a small, insignificant and persecuted minority is also mythical. It is a powerful force in our country, and hopefully by and large for good. Even so, conservative Christians such as me and Christians of other persuasions need to ask ourselves based on the elections where our ultimate hope lies. When Jesus returns to the earth to gather the elect, will he find faith, or simply voting cards?

  
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Discuss this article

Ron Glynn November 27, 2012

We are living in Post Christian America and our country has been in a downward trajectory since its zenith around 1955. Every year, things get progressively worse. For example, this year there was much more news about Black Friday than news about our celebration of Thanksgiving towards God. Now, we are back to thanking the Indians for the Pilgrim’s survival. I am trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and not in the United States of America.

Bill Sizemore November 27, 2012

I’m not sure what the point of this column is. Are we supposed to conclude that things are not getting worse in this country? If so, that’s hardly a credible conclusion. The fact that this country is dominated by those with an entitlement mentality and an ever increasing faith in government as the solution to our every problem does not exactly bode well for us. It indicates that we are on a pretty clear path to European style socialism and godlessness, though the election was close enough to suggest that the trend is still reversible or at least may be.

There is now a very distinct possibility that Barack Obama will be able in his second term to appoint enough supreme court justices to give the liberal faction a clear and consistent majority, which will affect more things than even those we can easily anticipate.

If the point of the column is that we are to put our faith in the lordship of Jesus Christ and not the power of government, then “amen” to that. But to pretend that elections do not have consequences and that this one does not bode poorly for us as a nation, at least in the near term, well that seems a little naive. We took a major step backward this month and the cause of good will suffer.

Whether you believe in American exceptionalism or are just an economic, country club conservative, we just put a man in charge of this country for the next four years who does not share even the basic principles upon which this country was founded and built.

I believe that God gives a people the kind of leaders they deserve. And that makes the results of this election pretty scary. Maybe the nation needed this wake-up call. Maybe the church did. Either way, I suspect that the coming days will hardly be our best.

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