In the primary elections, I liked Mike Huckabee. In the general election, I was behind McCain, though with more reservation. And now, Barack Obama has won the general election and in January will become President of the United States of America. Some Christian conservatives are lamenting his victory, mostly because of what they expect that President-elect Obama will do to support so-called abortion rights. More extreme conservatives are predicting that the USA will turn Marxist/socialist/authoritarian under Obama's leadership.
It seems to me that we must first recognize what Obama's victory represents. No matter what we think of Obama's politics or even his person, there is no doubt that the election of the first black president is historic and means a great deal to a lot of people. America has come a long way from where she was fifty years ago on the race issue, and that is something to celebrate.
It seems to me that we must also recognize that Obama has won the election and will be our president. He was elected fair and square, and now he will be our rightful head of state. As Christians and as citizens, we are called to submit to his leadership. This includes praying for him and asking that his governance be good and just. Like all human governments, the administration that takes power in January will be a mixture of good and evil, and we owe God our thanksgiving for the good things that President-elect Obama will do. Eric Redmond cites this passage from John Calvin's commentary on Romans 13:3:
Let us then continue to honor the good appointment of God, which may be easily done, provided we impute to ourselves whatever evil may accompany it. Hence he teaches us here the end for which magistrates are instituted by the Lord; the happy effects of which would always appear, were not so noble and salutary an institution marred through our fault. At the same time, princes do never so far abuse their power, by harassing the good and innocent, that they do not retain in their tyranny some kind of just government: there can then be no tyranny which does not in some respects assist in consolidating the society of men.
Nonetheless, I think it is appropriate to lament what the Obama election means for the abortion issue, both in terms of the policies that are likely to be implemented and in terms of what it indicates about where American culture is at on the issue. Abortion is a travesty against human life, and by no means should we stop caring about the issue. As long as we have the ability to vote for our leaders and influence government action, we can continue to work against legalized abortion. However, with culture seemingly shifting to support abortion rights—or at least not oppose them so strongly—we must take a "both/and" approach to working against abortion. The goverment is not the only means to oppose this moral evil, so let's not throw in the towel just yet. Russell Moore of SBTS, as an example, argues that Christians can work to promote life by developing a thoroughly pro-life counter-culture in our churches. Scott Klusendorf of the Life Training Institute (also previously at Stand to Reason) also provides some direction for how pro-life advocates can continue their work in the Obama era.
My own prediction: Obama will do OK. I think the charges of inexperience are correct, though I think he is a smart man and will choose good advisers. He campaigned by telling people what they want to hear, even if it contradicted other things that he had said to other people; this works for speeches but not for policy. I don't think Congress will play dead, and they may even take advantage of his inexperience to press their own agenda. He is likely to take us backward on abortion, but I don't expect that it will be as bad as it could be. In my opinion, his statement about FOCA to an abortion-rights advocacy group is more likely to turn out to be a political expediency than a true statement of purpose. America is not yet fully committed to abortion rights and abortion-on-demand, so I don't expect the government to forge far ahead of us on the issue.