Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Obama the Savior?

The Washington Post recently asked:

"Q: In the Weekly Standard, University of Virginia professor James. W. Ceaser argues that President Obama's approval ratings are suffering, in part, because Obama has been cast as a secular savior by people who are trying to "replace God with the Religion of Humanity." Ceaser writes: "Being the leader of humanity is incompatible with being the president of the United States. No man can serve two masters."

Do we expect our presidents to be spiritual leaders as well as political leaders? Can they be? Should they be?"

America's religion is constantly changing into what it was before. Since the inception of our country, America has been a country of agnostics: believing in some great power with some great plan, for some great purpose. We are "religious" in that we acknowledge faith as important, but as a whole, do nothing with that "religiosity" in our personal lives. "You don't have to go to church to be a Christian," one coworker recently told me. As new cultures and religions were added to the mix throughout American history, new ways of viewing God and religion were explored; eventually, coming to the same conclusion: there is some great power, with some great plan, for some great purpose.

Up until Watergate, we as Americans viewed our president to be the best version of us. The president was honest, moral, and of course, God-fearing. The president was expected to be about as religious as we were: pray during times of hardship, but not too much; then he'd just be crazy. Hence, Obama is not expected to be a spiritual leader, as much as he's expected to be spiritual.

As a leader, it's true that Obama is expected to be the secular prophet who leads us out of our dark times. In that sense, he's like a spiritual leader. He gave us "hope," in times of crises, and promises of a better tomorrow. For most Americans however, tomorrow is always a day away.

Obama's approval ratings are slipping because his supporters are getting impatient and want their miracle now. The economy is still a mess, we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the health care reform made good progress, but fell short of what was promised. People who view Obama as "the answer to our prayers" need to reread the religious book of their choice and remember that the Great Power who has a great plan for a great purpose always expects His followers to first have great patience with their great leader before they can have any great payoff.

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