The Reelection of President George W. Bush

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 12
1 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 3:11
The recent presidential election held in the United States was one of the closest in history, as evidenced by both popular and electoral college votes. Four years ago the election was so close over the Florida vote that the results were in doubt for several weeks. This time the outcome was more quickly known and Bush declared that he has a definite mandate to govern. Regardless of how one interprets the details, the election clearly manifests that the country is seriously divided.
A Country Divided
The country has been divided before. For example, in the election of 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was pitted against Stephen Douglas, Lincoln swept the north without difficulty, but so strong was the feeling against him in the south that he did not receive a single vote in nearly one-third of the states. As the moral issue of slavery divided the country then, so it is significant that it is on moral grounds that this latest election was decided. In fact, a significant percentage of those who voted for George Bush said that the moral issues facing the country were far more important to them than such things as the state of the economy or the war in Iraq.
Those who voted for John Kerry were equally adamant in their views, and many were bitter and frustrated when George Bush was finally declared to be the winner. The country has scarcely seen such strong feelings and emotional reactions since the days of the Civil War.
George Bush has made a definite profession of being a true Christian. In his first term, he clearly brought his Christianity into his administration, perhaps more than any other president within recent memory. Even Jimmy Carter, who was most forthright in his testimony as a Christian, did not bring his Christianity into such visibility as George Bush has done. For most believers, it seemed like a breath of fresh air after the repeated scandals that surfaced in Bill Clinton’s presidency. Evangelical Christians applauded Bush, and many who were disgusted at the increasing moral turpitude of America felt that finally they had a man at the top who was going to turn things around. Others of a more liberal inclination were angered at what they considered to be an improper merging of church and state, and they felt that their liberties were being curtailed. Such liberals even invoked their own version of morality, arguing that a God of love would point us toward more tolerance, even if that tolerance meant the giving up of real moral accountability. Now that George Bush has won a second term, the strong feelings have increased on both sides.
Facing Moral Issues
Certainly America is facing moral issues that are becoming increasingly complex as time goes on. In particular, the issues of abortion and same sex marriage have seriously polarized the country. Kerry, although a nominal Roman Catholic, has repeatedly taken an anti-Biblical stance on these and other issues. He favors abortion on demand and also would allow same sex marriage, although stating that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Bush, on the other hand, wants to curtail abortion as much as possible. He clearly wants the federal government, not the courts, to decide the marriage issue and to define marriage as being only between a man and a woman. Likewise, Bush favors the death penalty for murder and perhaps some other crimes, while Kerry is against it. Bush would like to see public prayer allowed in schools, while Kerry voted against it. If George Bush has brought his Christian moral values into his presidency in a very real way, John Kerry’s voting record on various issues has earned him the reputation of being one of the most liberal of all senators.
True Christians in the U.S.A. can be thankful that a man with Christian values and moral principles has again been elected to the presidency. Many prayed that the Lord would allow believers to continue to “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:2), and it appears that God has answered this prayer. We can be truly thankful that one who wants to rule in the fear of God has still been the choice of a majority (admittedly a slim one!) of Americans. We may well ask, however, in the light of the Word of God, what the future holds.
Scripture clearly tells us that “in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Tim. 3:1) and then follows with a description of the desperate moral degradation that will characterize the world, especially Christendom, in the last days. The Book of Jude also describes the moral decline that will occur and tells us that there will be “mockers in the last time, who  .  .  .  walk after their own ungodly lusts” (vs. 18). Likewise, Peter in his second epistle prophesies of the last days and how there will be those who “have known the way of righteousness” who will be again entangled in “the pollutions of the world” (2 Peter 2:2021). Earlier in the chapter he uses the example of Sodom and Gomorrah to warn “those that after should live ungodly” (vs. 6). No doubt this is a clear reference to Christendom, where the Word of God is known and preached and where the truth of God is available to all. The Book of Revelation describes the awful judgment of God on this world after the true believers are called home, and it particularly delineates the judgment of God on the part of the world that has known the gospel. Thus it is clear that, while we can be happy that there has been some respite from the moral decline in the U.S.A., we must recognize that the relief is temporary and that the downhill slide will continue.
On the one hand, we know that God instituted government in this world after the flood in Noah’s day (Gen. 9:56), and in the New Testament this is reinforced. Paul could say of rulers, “The powers that be are ordained of God” (Rom. 13:11Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)). In the same chapter he also says, “But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (vs. 4). On the other hand, a man who wants to govern by Christian principles will find that he faces increasing opposition and must compromise in order to manage the affairs of the country effectively. This difficulty then begs the question, “Should the Christian be involved in government?” If the believer wants to govern, he will find it difficult to enforce Christian principles, for in governing he must of necessity work with others in this world who are not believers. Since the unbeliever has no new life in Christ and thus cannot work with Christian principles, the believer can interact with the world only on its level. Rather than the world being elevated, it is the believer who will always be dragged down by such an arrangement. Although he might seem to do some temporary good, his testimony will eventually be ruined and his effectiveness as a witness for Christ curtailed. Indeed, this is what ruined the church’s testimony in the fourth century after Christ, when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, and believers were elevated to positions of prominence and authority. The end result was the Dark Ages, where the church ruled the world, but every kind of evil took place under the guise of religion.
The Heavenly Calling
It is far better for the believer to recognize his heavenly calling as being apart from this world. Let him recognize that he is in the world but not of it, and that his “commonwealth has its existence in the heavens” (Phil. 3:2020For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Philippians 3:20) JND). As such, he will be content to be an ambassador for Christ, representing God’s interests in this world, but taking no part in its politics or government. He will be far more effective for the Lord in this way and will not be found hindering the purposes of God. God has told us that the moral decline will occur, and while we should, no doubt, take a stand against this, let us do it as ambassadors for Christ rather than behaving like Lot, who took part in the government of Sodom in a vain effort to stem the tide of evil.
If the Lord leaves us here, it remains to be seen what will happen in the election of 2008. We can be sure that the liberal element will be doing all in its power to bring about a change, and believers in the U.S.A. may well shudder in thinking of the consequences. Let us hope that during the next little while, “He that shall come will come” (Heb. 10:3737For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:37)), and that we will be with the Lord before America faces another presidential election. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
W. J. Prost