Southern Religion

Christian Fundamentalists find their voices on Obama’s school speech [Addendum]

American Christian fundamentalists aren’t wearing tin-foil school-speech hats with conspiracy-theory conservatives. They are instead speaking in faithful, reasoned support of President Barack Obama’s school speech tomorrow.

Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, calls conservative uproar over the speech “a national embarrassment:”

Furthermore, this controversy smacks of disrespect for the President and, by extension, disrespect for the presidency itself. Both fly in the face of Christian responsibility to pray for those in authority. Respect for our government, though never as an end in itself, is part of our Christian responsibility. This controversy threatens to sow seeds of permanent distrust and suspicion in the hearts of the young. In an age of rampant cynicism, this is inexcusable.

John Piper, the well-know Minneapolis author and pastor, wrote of his own embarrassment at remarks by the governor his state and prayed for the president’s success:

Father, the condition of our schools and families is so broken that nothing seems to be working, especially for the poor in our urban centers. Help our president to have the courage to use his amazing place of influence to speak into this situation in such a way that boys and girls would take their studies seriously

Piper, who recently saw a tornado as God’s warning against homosexual-tolerant policies to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, concluded his blog on Obama’s school speech: “I hope my daughter hears the speech.”

World Magazine [via GetReligion] referred us to Craig Dunham, who teaches at a Christian school in the St. Louis area, who wrote:

Am I missing something here? If it’s not in the home (and why a homeschooling family would not use this as an opportunity for discussion I have no idea – we are), I would think parents would at least want their kids engaging live presentations like President Obama’s in a Christian school, where I as a teacher am going to ask questions like “What can we affirm?” (importance of education, faithful study, etc.) or “What needs to be challenged?” (ideas different from Scriptural truth, etc.). It shouldn’t matter who the speaker is – these are the conversations I would think a parent would be PRAYING to take place. Why keep your kids home from them? This logic does not compute; after all, why are they/we here?
At some point, folks, Christians have got to stop putting the mental in fundamentalist and start interacting with the world. Teaching our kids to stick their heads in the sand and ignore anyone they may not totally agree with is, in a word, unChristian. Folks, we can’t counter the culture unless we encounter the culture, so let’s take off the blinders, read through Acts 17 again, and be some salt and light around here for crying out loud.

The sadly counterfactual Christian Coalition of American blog hyperventilating about Obama’s speech still has none of the corrections good journalism requires, but other sources are getting the facts out.

Public opinion polls thus far suggest that attempts to inspire a political panic were not only an embarrassment, they were also a failure. The two available — one in California and the other in Missouri — show overwhelming support for the speech. No surprise, because a President of the United States who encourages children to stay in school and get an education is in that a thoroughgoing reflection of mainstream American values.


From North Carolina comes the voice of a Baptist state newspaper editor calling for adherence to the faith, not partisan furor.


September 8, 2009 - Posted by | Churches, Politics, Religion, SBC | , ,

1 Comment

  1. This is so encouraging. The mean comments targeted to our president are simply not reflective of most Christians. I am so tired of what appears to be closeted racism in all of this and your article gives us hope.

    Comment by Susan Klopfer | September 8, 2009

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