NASCAR is sometimes called the "left turn circuit" because drivers are turning left in circles. The Christian Church may well be the right turn circuit, reflexively turning to the political right without ever moving forward. In reality, the vision detailed by the Oakland Tribune as spelled out by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address Tuesday, February 12, is in line with scriptures and should thus get Christian support.
Of course, it is understandable that many will not believe him. No matter who one blames for the scrutiny and standards he has not met, there is no rational claim that Obama has been as much action as he has been talk.
It is understandable that some may have fear. "For the Lord hath not given us a spirit of fear" (I Timothy 1:7a) to fuel the kind of paranoia directed at Obama. But the scripture finishes with by promising a sound mind, too. While the previous administration used power far more unilaterally without complaints by those crying socialism now, this administration has pushed the envelope with their agenda and should receive no knee-jerk support.
Christians can tread lightly, discerning which paths Obama chooses are worthy of their support. But the State of the Union message was very on-point for most of the speech, if a bit tentative on offering definitive solutions for fear they will be exposed to political attacks. The address was also far more in keeping with Christian principles of charity, compassion and self-sacrifice than the response of the supposedly moderate Mark Rubio, a virtual lock-step Republican according to his Senate voting record.
With the number of Americans struggling to make ends meet, would Jesus be looking at keeping taxes at an all-time low? There was a higher concentration of wealth than any point since the only economic period worse than the crash that Obama inherited, but the top one percent should pay even less when they own more than the bottom 90 percent? Health care costs are going up and more people are not covered, but the government cannot provide what the insurance industry refuses to because it is bad business?
Then there are the guns. Would Jesus support the rights of gun owners to have any gun without any background check rather than determine the greater good is served through restricting access to even just the worst firearm threats? Even in light of all the recent gun-related incidents?
Government needs to be a last resort, but these are problems not being fully addressed in the private sector. If Christians work with Obama on solving these problems, they can prevent the heavy-handed government some fear.
Shiloh Church of Oakland has the Robert Allen Mercy Ministries through which 2700 people a month were fed in 2012. Yet a study last July showed these programs are not filling the need, with nearly a quarter million people "food insecure" in Northern California.
Taking care of the sick and poor is something Christ preached. His followers need to fight for that as well, or Christian values will seem by more people every day to be driven by politics, not faith.