Following are my personal reflections on the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States. I did not vote for Mr. Obama, but as a Christian who grew up in segregated Alabama, it feels profoundly right to me to witness a Black family moving into the White House. I was pleased that Rick Warren, a Bible-preaching Southern Baptist minister whose view of God’s agenda extends to helping the poorest, weakest and most despised of the world’s population, was asked to offer the invocation, that he did so, and the way he did (Col. 4:2, 5-6).
I disagree with President Obama’s support of legalized abortion and with his lack of support for traditional marriage. I agree with his concern for the helpless at home and with his desire to bring an end to our wars abroad. But whatever we Americans think about Mr. Obama’s politics and his policies, he is now our President, and we need to pray for God’s protection and guidance on his behalf. Our country faces many challenges — a situation that calls for national unity so far as possible — and there is much on which we may all unite.
I am not among those who can see only the bad and say only the negative. I deny that America is going to hell in a handbasket and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. Despite secularist victories here and there, our culture retains more of its biblically-based heritage than the culture of any other country in the so-called “Christian” world. Percentage-wise, more Americans regularly attend church services today than did so in 1776. There are millions of committed Christians who are Democrats and millions who are Republicans, as difficult as that might be for some in both parties to believe.
So I will pray for President Obama, and for all others in positions of power (Eph. 6:18). I will pray that God will direct all their decisions for the good, that God’s name will be hallowed, his kingdom realized and his will done (Matt. 6:9-10). I will pray that we Americans, and people throughout the world, may live godly and dignified lives in peace and quietness (1 Tim. 2: 1-4). As a Christian living in the United States of America, that is the least that I can do. As a matter of fact, it is also the most powerful (James 5:16).