I don’t imagine I’ll vote this year. I have voted before, and I’m not utterly opposed to it. As I tell my non-voting friends, just think of it as a form of non-violent social protest. Still, inasmuch as I’m convinced the church is a pilgrim people suffering in and trying to save a fallen Babylon culture, I’m convinced that determining who wields Babylon’s sword is a matter of some indifference to me.
I did go see Dinesh D’Souza’s hit job (I mean, documentary) about Obama and found it disappointing, not because it tried to paint a conspiracy-theory portrait of Obama as secretly hating America and planning to bring it down from within, which I think we’re all getting used to, but because it missed the opportunity to make a number of valid criticisms of Obama’s policies. Here we have a President who has redefined “enemy combatant” and “civilian” in such a way that we regularly, robotically kill suspected enemies without trial. Here is a President who ran on opposition to indefinite detention and within his first year established a framework to make such detentions legal. Here is a man who ran against Bush’s abuse of centralized power, and then shored up that power. These are pressing concerns – bordering on terrifying – and here is an opportunity to enlighten a public eager to believe… and nothing is said.
I suspect nothing is said because D’Souza and his constituency have a vested interested in exactly the moves Obama is making, so long as their party can take control of that shored-up power and use it to further their own view of America’s aims. And what is left for the church to do? It’s not enough to make sure one group of oligarchs rather than another wields that sword, though we may see some specific ends worth procuring in the process, and that’s not nothing. Yet our central task remains witnessing to the reality of God’s reign, in which enemies are destroyed not through pin-point accurate unmanned drones, but through the love of God. Our central task remains to open our homes and tables, to pray for our leader and troops, and for theirs. Our task remains to be the church in a fallen world, a world that can’t even recognize its fallenness.
The shortcomings of both Obama and “Obama’s America” are made up for in the church.