Just before the most recent presidential election, I was disturbed by the vitriol against President Obama coming from the mouths of some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I wrote a blog post about it, “Honor the President“, which elicited stronger response than my other posts.
Before we move on, here’s a summary of our need to honor and respect President Obama from the previous blog post:
“According to 1 Peter 2:17 those of us who love Jesus must honor President Obama, ‘Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.’ Respect is a great synonym with honor. As a Bible-believing Christian, I need to respect President Obama…”
With President Obama visiting Texas this week, the malicious attitudes of my brothers and sisters have reared their ugliness once again. Today, I posted the previous blog post to my Facebook page and once again heard strong push-back against it.
There are two objections to my earlier post, which I would like to address here.
1) 1 Peter 2:17 says “Emperor”, not President. Therefore, we don’t have to honor President Obama because he’s not an emperor.
First, this statement completely ignores the first part of the verse, “Honor Everyone”. Even if the objection to substituting President for Emperor was correct, one would still have to honor President Obama based on the first part of the verse.
Second, the fact that the Emperor was the executive authority of the Roman Empire, albeit with dictatorial powers, means that the best comparison in the US Government is with the President. It wouldn’t make sense to insist that “Honor the Emperor” equates to the Supreme Court Justices, House Representatives and Senators (although, they deserve honor too). The only sensible correlation is between the President and the Emperor.
Last, as Kevin Dodson pointed out, there is a sense of hypocrisy amongst my brothers and sisters, particularly those Republicans who were (rightly) upset by the pernicious disrespect shown President Bush. But once the Republican party was voted out of the Oval Office, they showed the same type of disrespect to President Obama.
On this note, I doubt that I would have received the same level of anger had I written this blog post when George W. Bush was President…
2) I can honor the office of the President without honoring President Obama.
From my experience, those who make this argument are looking for an excuse to be disrespectful. Honoring the office of the President, in their mind, gives them the excuse to dishonor President Obama.
I wonder if those who make this argument would allow their children to dishonor them? Is it possible to honor the office of parent without honoring the actual parent? Could my kids say ugly and disrespectful things about me and defend their actions by saying, “I can honor the office of parenting without honoring my actual parents”? Of course not.
We must honor the President. Even as we disagree with his policies.
Naturally, as I write this post I find a most disagreeable picture of President Obama. It will be hard for me, considering his hand gesture, but I still must honor President Obama.