Friday, November 7, 2008


Back in 1960, I was a fairly young believer and attending what I regarded then as a Bible-preaching church. It was an election year, my first in which I’d get to vote for president. The Democrat candidate, Senator John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic was running against Richard M. Nixon, a Quaker and well-known Communist hunter.

Meetings were held at various churches, fundamentalist and others, including the one I attended, denouncing the evils of Catholicism and foretelling the horrible dangers that would befall our Protestant nation if Kennedy were elected. Not only was He Catholic, but also a liberal!

Rumors were circulated by mail and tract (I wonder what would have happened if we’d had the Internet).

Well, of course, all of us true believers voted against this horrible evil, but to no avail. Kennedy won! Fear struck our hearts! America was doomed! But few, if any, of our fears were realized.

When Barack Obama was campaigning for election, rumors were spread, only now we have the Internet.
-- He’s a secret Muslim.
-- He’s an Arab.
-- He “pals around with terrorists.”
-- He’s not even an American.
-- He’s going to promote gay marriage.
-- He’s going to take our guns away.
-- And, of course, he’s the anti-Christ!

And a few truths:
-- He’s a liberal (so were the signers of our Declaration of Independence).
-- He’s black (actually, he’s mixed-race)!
-- His middle name is Hussein.

The evening that Obama gave his acceptance speech huge crowds gathered in cities across the nation. Uni and I were moved to tears when we saw the images on our TV screen. Blacks and whites embracing; tears rolling down the cheeks of older black people.

A half-century after the Civil Rights Movement, after the demise of Jim Crow (our American version of apartheid), an African-American was elected President of the USA. We felt it was a great moment in the history of our nation, a demonstration that “all men (really) are created equal.” It was truly historical. Here was a moment all Americans, whether Democrat or Republican, whether black or white, no matter whom they’d voted for, could celebrate.

But such was not the case. Instead, we were told by our Christian friends (and others) that the reactions we witnessed were the same sort of reactions that the anti-Christ will get when he appears; that America may no longer be a “Christian nation” (whatever that is!). A friend of mine was told that the second coming must be near because of this.

This strange mixture of fear, eschatological zeal, far-right politics, and I believe, down-right racism is unbecoming to those who name the name of Christ.

And even those who claim that they are not afraid say something like, “Well, we have to remember, God is still on the throne.” Apparently though in their thinking, the throne is wobbling and God is barely hanging on!

Our God is Sovereign! He reigns! He sets up rulers and takes them down. He has a purpose in setting up Barack Obama. Perhaps the church through this will learn a little more tolerance, as some of us did 48 years ago.

Bill Ball


c said...

Amen. He is still on the throne and the throne is not shaky, but sometimes we are (I am). I was recently reminded of HIs sovereignty in several ways and I know He orchestrated those revelations (re-revelations?) for my benefit. To know that He is in control of everything, from making sure I know He's on the throne and in control to the presidential elections in the US to the whole universe gazillions of light years from here, makes me feel big in one way and very very small in another. My favorite radio preacher, Alistair Begg, had a recent podcast on the correlation between anxiety and humility - and guess what? It's a negative correlation. Once we realize He's in control we can relax and not be anxious, instead casting our cares on Him, and be humbled by the prospect of His complete sovereignty and our complete dependence on Him. Sorry that was so long!

Mike said...

Has it been 48 years since Kennedy was elected? That is hard to fathom. As a little tike, I remember my Dad taking me to the airport to see JFK when he landed at the Muskegon County airport during the campaign.

I must say that I have conflicting emotions about this election. My guy lost, which was really a disappointment. On the other hand, this is truly an historical election. It was hard for me to be upbeat the night of the election, but I've come to grips with the reality of things since then.

It is an exciting time to be alive and to be an American. I have only best wishes for our new president. Where I don't agree with his policies, I'll say so; but I think the potential is there for him to do great things for a great country.

The predictions of doom and gloom are all part of party politics from both sides, but they have never—at least in my lifetime—come to fruition in the aftermath an election regardless of which party secured the white house.

Presidents generally rise to the office, act responsibly, and ultimately act in what they truly believe to be the best interest of the country. May God guide and bless our President Obama.

Sherry Ball Schoenfeldt said...

Dad this one cracked me up!

I agree with C that the enormity of God's sovereignty makes me feel both important and terribly insignificant.

As you know, my guy won so it's easy for me to see God is at work. But it was a little harder to see during the last eight years! As I often do, I thought, "yeah. He's at work. He's got a plan. I just wish He'd let me know what it is!!"

God is good. All the time.

Preach said...

That sir was one of the finest pieces of journalism that I have ever been blessed to partake in! A true sermon from a pure convicted Christian heart, and I praise God for you, and His inspiration through you! Thank you!

Bill Ball said...

Preach, thank you! It came from my heart.