CALIFORNIA, February 16, 2013 ― Many people had very low expectations for President Obama’s State of the Union Address. Many of us have rarely agreed with his major policy decisions or unilateral use of Executive powers to circumvent Congressional action.
But personal preferences are not the deciding factors in evaluating his speech; it’s what passes Constitutional and Biblical muster that really matter.
Consider government’s role in national security (strongly implied in Romans 13:3-4). There were perfunctory words of support for our ally Israel, also firmness towards threats like Iran and North Korea, and even lip service to increased border control. But smooth words are far less important than actions, and with virtually no action over the last four years, why would we expect the next four to be any different?
What about divisiveness in place of leadership? Though he presented a more conciliatory tone than during his inaugural address, Obama once more pitted the rich against the working class; gun rights advocates against victims of violence; pet federal spending interests against “special interests, tax loopholes and deductions”; Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security dependents against entitlement reformers (whom he calls “reckless”).
By playing to envy and victimhood, our President continues to create unnecessary hostility amongst Americans instead of inspiring unity. Scripture and common sense are very clear: Anyone who resorts to divisiveness in order to lead is both dangerous and unworthy to be followed (see Jude 18,19; Luke 11:17; Titus 3:10; Romans 16:17-18). In fact, it’s only a tactic to be used against ones enemies, not fellow citizens (for an interesting example of dividing enemies see Acts 23:6-11).
What about the massive trillion-dollar budget deficits, ballooning national debt, and intergenerational theft? Nowhere does the Constitution encourage our nation to bankrupt itself. Our government shouldn’t make promises it can’t keep, but when foolish, fiscally irresponsible promises are made, a principled leader will admit the obvious and make the difficult decisions needed to prevent catastrophe.
These decisions include shrinking government, not just making it smarter and more expansive in influence. It means reducing our tax burden to allow private investments to thrive. It means not borrowing money from our enemies to support government programs that will never be effective.
But true to form, our national sugar daddy promises more goodies and subsidies for education, science and innovation, manufacturing hubs, and to rebuild rundown neighborhoods. Where are the studies that prove private enterprise, open competition, innovators, and alternative school choice are ineffective until government throws money at them? Government handouts have always created more dependency, failure, and need for more money.
Instead of destroying our nation’s initiative and eating the fruits of our labors, our government should be planning and saving for the future. If a lowly ant knows this, why doesn’t Obama (Proverbs 6:6-8)?
And what about the future for our children? Proverbs 22:6 says that how we train children will dramatically shape their lives into adulthood. For government to continue as our proxy parent, it needs to influence our children as heavily, as early, and as long as possible. Over the last generation our government has been the major factor in creating economic hardships resulting in both parents entering the workforce. When this happens, government is all too eager to provide nurturing as early in a child’s life at possible.
Unfortunately, public schools across our country are programming our offspring to ignore traditional values of morality and hard work, building self-esteem instead of personal responsibility. It makes schools part of a grand social experiment instead of focusing on academic excellence, and encourages us forever to look to government as the real parent and caregiver. Replacing parents’ influence and responsibility is the ultimate betrayal of our nation and is reminiscent of absolutist governments in the past that despise any challenge to their authority. Obama’s stress on providing universal pre-schooling is just one more step down this path.
Finally, it was disheartening to see a condescending attitude towards the American people. Painting a rosy picture of a broken economy by cherry-picking facts is giving false hope to those who need to be encouraged. Even more appalling, proposing a “Fix-It-First” jobs program exactly like his bogus “Shovel Ready” projects four years ago shows disdain for millions of gullible people willing to believe whatever their hero says. Scripture is right in condemning those with itching ears that only hear what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
This speech didn’t complement the enduring idea of our nation. Instead, it was a protectionist approach to growing, furthering and protecting future generations of government instead of the people Obama is sworn to serve.
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