Back in September, talk-show comedian Jon Stewart said that having Mitt Romney as his opponent made President Barack Obama the luckiest man on the planet. Perhaps Stewart would recognize his understatement if he were to consider all of the opponents left in the wake of President Obama's 18 year march to the pinnacle of American politics. In his run for the Senate, then State Representative Obama faced a primary opponent who struck his then divorced wife. His general election opponent attempted to compel his wife to have sex with strangers. His replacement opponent was a right-wing extremist who never lived in the state he deigned to represent. In the hard-fought presidential primary, both his opponent and her husband - theretofore considered the first "Black President" and one of the smartest political minds on the planet - managed to agitate black people and ignore the rules and realities of the caucus system. Her being on the wrong side of the Iraq War didn't help either. In the 2008 general election, his opponent makes the worst vice-presidential pick in modern American history, claims to not know much about the economy right before it crashes, proves his claim by stating that the economy was fundamentally sound as it was crashing and advocates a century-long occupation of Iraq if need be. We need no more reminders of how badly Mitt Romney performed as a candidate. Indeed, President Obama has been the beneficiary of some deeply flawed opponents and at least one who flat out underestimated him. Lucky, Mr. Stewart? The ladies in my church's Deaconess Board might take issue with such an assessment by holding your hand warmly, looking deep into your eyes and with a knowing smile saying "no baby, not lucky, BLESSED".
I don't profess to know the mind of God. Our atheistic friends argue that if a just God exists, He would not allow war, starvation, disease and natural disaster to occur. Like other Christians, my own faith compels the belief that He has a hand in all that occurs in the world even if that hand involves merely allowing something to happen without intervention. The "why" of that intervention or non-intervention is a question with which we, at times, all struggle. But if one believes in God, as those on the Christian right obviously do, then one must acknowledge His decisions. Frankly, I think we are well past time for those in the Christian right to acknowledge the obvious: that God either wants Barack Hussein Obama to be President of the United States of America, or that He is indifferent to it.
If He wanted President Obama in office all along, then the Christian right has been disobeying God for at least the last four years and if they ever intend to be obedient, perhaps all Christians need to drop their at times hate-filled opposition to him. Perhaps those on the Christian Right have been wholly disobedient throughout Mr. Obama's inexorable march toward the Oval Office and need to simply accept God's will. Perhaps God is looking for something more from us Christians about which we have been remiss, or even disobedient. For instance, if God grants us all the free will to believe in Him or not, then perhaps He would rather have us advocate heterosexual marriage and full term pregnancy by means other than leveraging "Caesar". If He does not force belief in His Word, perhaps we exercise hubris and disobedience in attempting to use the government to force our beliefs onto our fellow Americans. Perhaps we actually demonstrate a LACK of faith by attempting to have the government compel a Christian standard. Perhaps He prefers that we advance His kingdom by witnessing, by exercising patience with those who don't agree with us and by demonstrating charity toward the unfortunate and protection of the weak. Perhaps He is challenging us with the question that if He allowed or compelled America's Founding Fathers to establish a nation where freedom of religion is a central tenet, who are we to use the government to abridge that freedom? Of course this is all speculation on my part, but don't the results to date say something?
Perhaps the Deaconesses at my church might explain God's apparent endorsement of an Obama presidency with the old saying: "God don't like ugly". Because, to be sure, many of our Christian brothers and sisters have behaved abominably. Some church leaders have directed their congregations to pray for the President's death, invoking Psalm 109. Many supported a presidential nominee who turned flouting the Ninth Commandment into a high art form. Many others sought to discredit the President's fitness for office by claiming him to be Muslim as if that were relevant to the office. Still others burned the holy books of other faiths and denigrated their prophets. Some on the Christian right are fond of claiming that natural disasters were God's punishment for America's "sins". Yet those same folks would deny that Hurricane Issac's disruption of the republican convention might be sending THEM a message. Those same folks would deny that Hurricane Sandy might be God's way of showing voters that President Obama is indeed presidential and very well-suited to deal with our Nation's challenges.
No one can deny that things have gone President Obama's way in spite of the fervent prayers, the condemning rhetoric and the aggressive political activities of his political opponents, particularly those on the Christian right and those who pander to their fears and bigotries. Whether such good fortune could be attributable to God's will is certainly a matter for debate among both believers and non-believers. The notion that God has always wanted Barack Hussein Obama to be President of the United States is certainly a provocative one. But those who believe in an active God on one hand cannot on the other hand deny His role in favor of this presidency, even if the only reason is to demonstrate a mischievous sense of humor by putting into the White House a man born of an interracial union raised by a single mother in multicultural environments and whose middle name is Hussein. Perhaps God is trying to tell ALL of us something.