BEATING UP THE PRESIDENT
I think we need to get ready for the next president of the United States, the one that comes after the one we have now. Let us suppose that the next president will be a Republican, just maybe. I think it would be good right now to agree on some rules about how we will write about him (or her) and talk about him (or her). I will have to admit that these rules would be for Christians as it is hard to put anything binding on non-Christians. They might talk about the need for “civility” but who decides what that might be?
We Christians have the Bible, which is supposed to govern and guide everything we do or say, if we actually believe it to be true and the Word of God. So, this concept of “rules” guiding our behavior when it comes to political figures should actually have some Sovereign, Divine, Revelatory weight behind it, one might think. Here is one verse quoting another verse, so we get to hear it twice, “Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.” (Acts 23:5, Paul quoting Exodus 22:28). NIV I am not sure if a New Testament apostle quoting the Old Testament law is actually binding but just so you know. Here is another text, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men; whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the King.” (I Peter 2:13-17) NIV So, for the next president, if he or she is a Republican, maybe we can start using the Bible as some kind of guide as to how we should treat them. Here are some suggestions: 1. If they confess Christ and say they are a Christians we should accept that and believe it. If they do not confess Christ, though they use religious language we should not just assume they are Christians. I think it is fair to watch their actions, life-style, and wonder if they are true to their statements. I think it is fair to look at their policies and wonder if they are consistent with Biblical teaching. Just like people look at us and wonder, but hopefully still show us some personal respect. 2. We should never ascribe motives to them unless they have told us what they are and we have the evidence. Our negative assumptions of the worst kind of motives for all their decisions just wouldn’t be fair. 3. If they make a decision we don’t like, or institute a policy we don’t agree with we should argue with the policy but keep ourselves from ad hominem arguments (calling them names and mocking them) as to bolster our case. 4. It would be fair to look ahead and see what we think some of the ramifications of their policies might be and we have a right to voice that concern. 5. We should possibly treat them as we would like to be treated if we held that office, this is just a suggestion. We probably want to give our next Republican president the benefit of the doubt. 6. If someone is slandering them, ascribing the worst kind of motives to them personally, but has no evidence such as direct quotes from them but simply impugns their integrity we should not agree with them, we should not repeat it, and in fact rebuke those who do it. 7. If other people give him (or her) too much honor, too much glory, we should not assume this is the way they think of themselves. If they call themselves God, King, or Messiah then we have a right to boldy speak against any such aggrandizement. 8. Even if we think they might be lying, we are still to honor the office by showing respect and honor to them especially in their presence, even if it makes us sad to think they might not be perfect. 9. I think we have a right to wonder if all the opposition that might come to him, for every one of his policies and legislative initiatives, is based on actual principle or simply opposition politics to make him look weak and ineffective. I think we have a right to look at the opposition and wonder if they are really for the country or for themselves. Again, these are suggestions for how to treat the next president, possibly a Republican, based on some Biblical concepts. I would hate for anyone to think I am suggesting this is the way to treat the present incumbent Democrat since he is not our guy and it might be hard to see how these things could apply to him. We just need to get ready to have new rules that can be applied to our guy, for the sake of his protection, ours, and maybe the country’s.