14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. 20 To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It is interesting to see the reaction from both the Left and the Right here in America to the announcement that Rick Warren is to pray at Barack Obama’s inauguration this coming January. From the Left, it’s understandable to see the dismay given Warren’s track record defending the pro-life and pro-traditional-marriage positions. But from the Right, it rankles me that people are getting their knickers in a knot over the idea of a so-called “conservative” Christian minister praying for the swearing-in of a liberal president. Now I’m not here to judge Obama’s faith, but given his stated positions on several issues which go against the grain of Biblical authority, I am certainly dismayed by his candidacy. However, we are told time and time again to pray for our enemies, and also to pray for those in political authority, by none other than the apostles Peter, Paul, and even Jesus himself. There is no verse — none! — that would back up the notion that “thou shalt boycott praying for a presidential candidate you disagree with”. If anything, such a leader desperately needs our prayers and blessings more than anyone!
As to the fear that Rick Warren is somehow endorsing Obama’s political ideas by attending his inauguration and praying for him, that is absurd. Warren is a prominent American church leader. Obama is going to become the 44th President of the Unites States of America. It is quite honorable and logical that Warren would be selected to join in the proceedings, and it is quite understandable that Warren would accept the invitation. To do otherwise would be to insult a huge swath of the American public as well as cast a negative shadow on the face of the Christian Church as once again skeptics behold the hypocrisy of leaders who put political agendas ahead of the New Testament mandate to, if possible, live peaceably with all.
Believe me, this is not an easy statement for me to make. I am staunchly in favor of outlawing abortion in this country just as slavery was outlawed in past times, and I am very much a supporter of the traditional nuclear family and covenant marriage between a man and a woman. I feel Obama will prove to be a major affront to these causes — yet I cannot and will not compromise my holistic understanding of Christian theology in the name of moral zealousness. Remember, it is ultimately not the devil who put Barack Obama in the seat of presidential power. It is God. I think we need to act as such.