We have said that there are two moral and metaphysical visions for the United States. We are no longer “one nation under God,” but two nations. One nation is grounded in Judeo-Christian theism and the other founded in an Atheistic-Materialistic vision. These two nations occupy one geographic land. Some people have their feet consciously planted in one vision, others intentionally planted in the other. Perhaps a majority of Americans have not purposely examined their belief system and are thus unconsciously living between these two visions.
To move beyond the polarization we see in our nation, it is important that we begin to consciously examine the ideas and consequences of the two visions and engage in a civil discourse of our national and perhaps global future.
During his successful bid for the presidency of the United States, Barack Obama cut an image that attracted the attention of the world and the American electorate. Here was a young, articulate, and attractive black American. He and his family reminded many of us of the Camelot years of John and Jackie Kennedy. This young charismatic politician spoke compassionately and relatively civilly – with soft edges. His call for “hope,” “change,” civility, and unity in public life – and a new beginning for America and the world – captured the imagination. In fact, his message was so compelling because it was wrapped in Biblical language and themes. People were hardwired by God for hope, change, and new beginnings. If people realize it or not, they need a savior. If they have rejected The Savior, it only enhances their sense of need. Obama filled that need. He was ‘magic’ and many liken him to a messianic figure.
In his inauguration he reiterated some of his themes of hope, new beginnings, and national unity. However, three days after his inauguration by the stroke of his own pen, he shattered any sense of bi-partisanship and unity. On January 23rd, President Obama struck down a ban on using federal funds to support international groups that promote and provide abortion. The new President revealed his “first principles.” No amount of compassionate talk (style) will overcome a fixed policy that denies the most fundamental right, the right to life (substance).
In the Judeo-Christian worldview, man is made Imago Dei. The smallest, the weakest, and the most broken lives are sacred and should be defended by society and by law. This biblical understanding is enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. The right to life is unalienable, a gift from God to all human beings.
The Atheistic or Naturalistic vision is very different. It argues that there is no God, that man is an animal, and in Darwinian social philosophy “survival of the fittest” is the chief operating principle. Funding for and the carrying out of abortions is a policy manifestation of the Atheistic first principle that human life has no intrinsic value. While President Obama professes to be a Christian, his thought process and policies are being driven consciously or unconsciously by a Naturalistic paradigm.
This policy shift should not be a surprise. On March 13, 2003, then Illinois State Senator Obama was the chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee. At the committee meeting, which Obama chaired, the original state Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (SB 1082) was revised to make it virtually the same as the federal legislation that was passed unanimously in the Senate on July 18,2002 and signed into law by President Bush on August 5th, 2002. Immediately after that change was made to the Illinois law, Chairman Obama not only voted against the bill, he led the fight to kill it. Had the bill passed, if a child had been born alive following an abortion procedure, the life of that child was to be protected. But instead of upholding a culture of life in which all human beings have a God given right to life, State Senator Obama sided with Darwinian social practice – the survival of the fittest. Despite his style and high rhetoric, President Obama reveals that in policy/substance, he is more oriented to the culture of death than the most “liberal” members of the US Senate. His policies are a logical consequence of an Atheistic paradigm, not the Christian faith he professes.
So despite his winsome style, President Obama’s policies will be driven by the Atheistic-Materialistic paradigm that he believes. Those of us who profess Christ need to begin to examine the substance of President Obama’s agenda and not be disengaged by the winsomeness of his style.
-Darrow L. Miller