Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa 2008

I first titled this piece “An Act of God” but wound up as it shows above. It starts in one place and moves to another. Such is life.

A candidate’s religion is one element of their makeup that might be considered when choosing to vote for that person. Most of us would likely be reluctant to vote for a Muslim candidate, (hence the spam many have gotten regarding Barack Obama) and apparently a Mormon one, too. Mike Huckabee just took the Iowa caucuses, defeating Mitt Romney by a fair margin.

There is much to like about Mike Huckabee, but much to worry about, too. For a man of his experience to get hung up on the verbiage “act of God” when hesitating to provide assistance to his constituents after a tornado in the state he governs speaks leagues about his inability to separate his faith from the reality of the words in man’s law. I have to believe that the intent of the law by saying “act of God” is to say “outside of the control of man.” Mike Huckabee wrestled with that for a long time before being persuaded to act as he should, in a compassionate manner for those in need.

In his speech tonight Mike Huckabee spoke of a “sacred trust,” of the peoples’ “zeal” and of his supporters being the “ruling class of America.” I wonder if he thinks God has chosen him for this duty and nothing scares me more. My theology tells me that we will have many false prophets before Jesus returns, and frankly I think the prophets absent since sometime before Jesus. God is still very much active in this world, his creation, but quietly so as regards speaking through man and to man clearly enough to be able to say with certainty that one knows if it was God we heard. The instant a person is certain they are acting as God wishes them to I consider them worrisome.

“Sacred” means set apart, holy, and for the use of God. To claim that for one’s person I consider blasphemous. My preferred politician will be able to proclaim faith but a bit shyly. Certainty faith is a fine thing, but to be kept personal, spoken proudly when confronted but quietly to a friend without faith. Measure candidates by their actions, not their use of the buzzwords of faith.

I am compelled to go a step further: I don’t doubt Mike Huckabee’s faith for a moment. I don’t doubt that he is saved and working as he thinks proper in his perception of God’s desire. I do doubt his ability to separate his faith from the place a president of these united states needs to reside in. He’s a good man, but as a candidate in spite of his proclamations against the current regime, he’s more than a bit worrisome.

John Edwards
is giving his speech as I write – full of hope and desire for change, against corporate greed and for the middle class. I’ll say it again – I like this guy. Not only is what he says a truth I agree with, but also I do believe the very horrors of his wife’s disease, the loss of their child, and his realization that the millions of dollars he has amassed are of little value in comparison to the love of family and his place in the community we call America. This is a man at a turning point and I think he’s turning to be a better man than he has been.

Barack Obama won big. Huge in a white-bread state. Using Bill Clinton’s vision of hope as the key, he speaks it well and believes it. I like this guy, too, but wonder about his lack of experience. Too few votes as a senator, too quick to criticize those that did vote when he wasn’t in office, or at his post in the senate, and too quick to claim he would have acted otherwise. Still, if it comes down to it, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat over Huckabee.

Hillary Clinton
remains upbeat despite having spent a bundle of cash and time to win it big but falling short of expectations. She is to be commended for standing by her husband while he strayed – what part of “til death do us part” don’t her antagonists of the right get? Her votes in support of the war and against Iran are to be commended as speaking for the people in her state. She’s a politician for sure, and one that knows the ins and outs of Washington as few do. I’m just not ready to buy into bipartisanship.

We are a nation based on a faith in God, whether Unitarian or Christian, but with a clear definition of the people’s law superseding God’s law when the two conflict. It is the will of the people, as a whole, that rules the nation, not the rule of God and Mosaic Law as we have it, widely open to interpretation and personal understanding.

God’s law will rule each person as that individual chooses for himself or herself, or as Jesus calls it at the end of this time. We, as Christians, are called to be the Spirit filled example, following the teachings of Jesus Christ while here on earth. No law can judge us in a more important manner, but we cannot expect non-Christians to accept that law for themselves. So be it. That is their choice and that is why we have mans’ law.

I can personally get hung up on the concept of an “act of God,” too, on a theological basis, but I sure don’t want our next president to be in that place when the chips are down and his people need him to act quickly. As much as I love Jimmy Carter, Huckabee trumps him with spades when it comes to being stuck between being in this world and seeking the next.

Just now watching Barack Obama’s speech at the end of the night I am again impressed. I can see why people choose him in that he speaks as if not from a script (although the teleprompters are there but conveniently out of camera view) but from the heart. He reminds me of John Kennedy in his conviction that more can be done, that we can achieve greatness, and that hope is a reasonable expectation. He has a certain humility coupled with a drive, an expectation, that what he espouses can be done.

One very interesting variation on a well-known title was used by Barack that probably went over many people’s heads, or perhaps I just hadn't heard it before: He spoke of being a president “for” America, not “of “ America. He wants to be the president for America.

Whoever wins in November of 2008, may it be so. Or, as we Christian’s say:



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