This is not an easy election for me. My decision is charged with an emotional component I have never before had in picking a presidential candidate. Having grown up in a family that supported the struggle for civil rights, I felt the election of a president with African-American background was vitally important for our nation. Of course, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama last time—because his position on abortion was so very wrong—but, none-the-less, I was relieved and even grateful that the country chose a man of color in 2008. It was a milestone for our culture and one we needed to achieve.
The election of Barack Obama in 2008 yielded this great accomplishment for the United States: It broke the barrier of skin color and ethnicity when it comes to the highest office in our land. That was critically important to our culture and remains so. No one will ever assume again that a black person can never be president. But if this is the fulfillment of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream, we must remember that dream in its totality. King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” It’s on this point that my current decision for president turns.
President Obama has a serious character issue. He remains staunchly pro-abortion. He once referred to pregnancy and childbirth as a form of “punishment” for teenage sexual indiscretion. Surely the conception, development, and birth of a child are never, by definition, a form of punishment. Babies are blessings, not curses. Life is precious and sacred; and every human person, regardless of his or her history, circumstance, or condition of dependency, shares the same supreme value and dignity endowed by their Creator. To not see, understand, or champion the most fundamental human right to life indicates a serious character flaw.
President Obama and his administration have pushed abortion on the domestic and international spheres, made Planned Parenthood (the world’s biggest abortion business) a showcase political ally, promoted same-sex “marriage,” and marginalized a stable and democratic Israel in favor of unstable dictatorships. The most egregious violation of the Obama Administration, though, occurred when the President ordered religious institutions to violate their own teachings and consciences through compliance with the HHS mandate on health insurance policies.
It is clear that President Obama does not understand his own limitations—or, the limitations of government itself. There are bright lines of separation between the church and the state. The church has its God-given boundaries—and the government has the same. The government is not limitless. Parameters are set around government by God, by human history and experience, and even by the Constitution of the United States. These limitations indicate that government is not the ultimate source for the needs of human beings. President Obama has repeatedly promoted government as a solution to nearly all that ills humankind. This is simply not the case. God—not government—is our ultimate source and the one in whom we must place our trust. We remind ourselves of this as a nation when, in the Pledge of Allegiance, we say “one nation under God,” and when we read the National Motto, “In God We Trust,” and when all of our public officials swear the oath of office with, “So help me God.” God comes before and is set above government. President Obama does not share this concept. His is ultimately an anthropocentric, or humanistic worldview. He places humankind at the pinnacle of all things, and uses human prowess and human development as the measure of all things. This is a distinctly non-theistic worldview and it has enormous implications for the way President Obama governs.
And this is where I turn from why I will not vote for Barack Obama, but I will vote for Mitt Romney.
I’ll begin by saying I don’t agree with Mitt Romney on everything. In fact, I’m sure I will never know a presidential candidate with whom I will agree on everything. It just won’t ever happen. I see choosing a president like I choose employees for my organization: I don’t look for the perfect—just the best. I believe Mitt Romney is the best prepared to be president at this time in our nation’s life and I will tell you why.
First, Mitt Romney has the proven skill set to attack and resolve the most immediate and vexing problems for our country—which are economic and security related. No one can ignore the serious financial crisis we are in. Our staggering debt has undermined the strength, stability, and security of the American people. It’s effect on the average American—from the loss of jobs and benefits such as health insurance and retirement—to the crushing tax burden that keeps shrinking take home pay—have caused widespread hardship and even despair for many, many people. These in turn bring conflict into marital relationships, family life, and communities. We are in urgent need of a chief executive who understands how the free market system works, how budgets are balanced, and how jobs are created and sustained. Mitt Romney has a proven track record of success in all these areas.
Second, Mitt Romney has demonstrated that he can work effectively across party lines to successfully resolve problems. He did it as a Republican in heavily Democrat Massachusetts. In the eighteen years I’ve been Washington, DC, I have never seen the extreme polarization and gridlock that currently exist not only between Democrats and Republicans, or just between the House and the Senate, but even between the three branches of the federal government: the executive, legislative, and judicial. The country desperately needs a real statesman that can reach across party lines and congenially bring people together and get them to cooperate in the interest of the country. Regrettably, Barack Obama’s ideological activism only polarizes people further. I’m convinced Mitt Romney, as an experienced chief executive in both the public and private sectors, prepares him to meet this challenge.
Thirdly, Mitt Romney has the right worldview. I may differ with Mr. Romney on the details of his theology, but his worldview is a theocentric one. In other words, for Mitt Romney, God is the measure of all things. Mr. Romney has a sense of ultimate accountability and a transcendent morality. He holds to a code of right and wrong. Barack Obama has the opposite: an anthropocentric worldview, in which man is the measure of all things and there are no moral absolutes. For Barack Obama, nothing is ever truly right or truly wrong; everything is in a constant state of flux and evolution. In my opinion, this worldview not only doesn’t serve us well as a civilization in the present, it opens a door for enormous evils to take hold in the near future. Mitt Romney understands this. His worldview informs him that human beings can commit terrible evils and that these evils must be met with the strongest response. I’ve traveled the world enough to know that respect for a country and its government is earned with strength, and that weakness only garners the contempt of enemies. That’s the way the real world works. Mitt Romney gets this and will act accordingly.
Finally, Mitt Romney really gets how things work overall—from the fundamental importance of religious faith in everything we do—to why investors will pour capital into companies so they can grow, produce jobs, expand the economy, and generate capital that turns into lending so people can buy homes and cars and educate their kids.
We will, as a people, continue to struggle with our demons and our failings. Human progress will never be finished until the end of time. God is leading us all on a journey and teaching us great lessons along the way. Our salvation will never be found in politics, politicians, or government. Our salvation is found only in God the Redeemer. We mustn’t let guilt over the past paralyze us in the present. What we must do is address our real, current troubles in the most effective and in the most certain way we can so we can move forward again. I endorsed Mitt Romney very early on because I was convinced then—and I remain convinced now—that Mitt Romney is the best prepared, the best experienced, and the most proven leader to get us to the next milestone in American history. These are the reasons I am voting for Mitt Romney for president.
Rev. Rob Schenck (pronounced Shank), who speaks here only as a private citizen and a registered Independent, and in no official capacities, has been an ordained evangelical minister since 1982. He is chairman of the Evangelical Church Alliance, one of America’s oldest associations of evangelical clergy, and is president of the National Clergy Council in Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in religion, an M.A. in Christian Ministry, and the Doctor of Ministry in Strategic Leadership. He and his wife Cheryl, an occupational and family therapist, live in Washington, DC.
“Supra,” of course, means “above”–and, on this eve of Super Tuesday, there are issues above and beyond the crass political calculations being made by pundits, party operatives, and even the campaigns themselves. The one “supra-concern” I’m thinking of is “calling.” I’ll explain:
I’ve long been an advocate of spiritual gift “matches.” What I mean is the need for all of us to be matched in our God-given gifts, talents, and skills with our calling, or what some term our “vocation.”
The reason a lot of people fail in their personal and professional lives is because they are mismatched with their vocations; their jobs don’t reflect the gifts God has given to them, or their natural abilities, and / or acquired skills.
In my “other role” as a board member of the Evangelical Church Alliance, I see this all the time with ministers. Pastors who fail to connect with their own churches often do so because they’re mismatched to their congregation’s needs. Maybe a minister has the gift of evangelist, or teacher, or administrator, and that isn’t what a particular church needs. I also see this on Capitol Hill where I serve as a missionary to elected and appointed officials. Often a politician will fail because he or she isn’t properly matched to the office he or she occupies.
I’m thinking about all of this in the discussions surrounding the prospective Republican presidential nominees–especially as tomorrow’s huge slate of states prepares to vote. When it comes to the office of President, a candidate must be properly matched to the position–with just the right spiritual gifts, natural abilities, and acquired skills.
This brings me to the many e-mails I’ve received about my personal choice of Mitt Romney. I based my decision on what I perceive to be his match of gifts, abilities, and skills with the office of Chief Executive.
This doesn’t mean I don’t respect and appreciate Rick Santorum; I do–very highly–but I don’t think his particular gifts, talents, and life experience match the presidency–at least for this time in our nation’s life–as much as Mitt’s do.
I’m convinced God placed Rick Santorum in the United States Senate just when he was needed. Back then, we were in the throes of a debate over one of the most heinous sins this nation has ever committed: partial-birth abortion. More than once I prayed with then Senator Santorum in his office as he wrestled with his call to confront this sin. I remember vividly sitting in the Senate chamber on the day Rick called partial-birth abortion what it is, “Murder!” Immediately after, a baby’s cry echoed through the hall. I had never heard a baby cry in the chamber before and I have never heard one since. It was as if it were a heavenly approbation. But Rick later lost his seat in the Senate–badly. I don’t believe God was surprised by that outcome. It was in His plan. Rick had done what he was called to do and God released him.
I do believe Rick has a genuine and important call from God to confront our nation and its culture with moral truth, but that isn’t necessarily what’s needed now in the presidency. The crises we are facing are lack of leadership and lack of economic wisdom. I’ve been with Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney. I’ve prayed with both men. I’ve met their families. I’ve asked them hard questions. I’ve observed the way they operate. All of this has left me with the firm conclusion that Mitt’s gifts, abilities, and skills match the challenge of our times better than Rick’s.
You’ll draw your own conclusions of course, but as you evaluate your choice, ask, “What are the gifts, abilities, and skills needed for a chief executive in this time?” As a citizen and co-owner of this great enterprise called The United States of America, you need to make a decision on the next CEO for our country. What kind of resume will you look for?
That’s the challenge we all face. May God grant us wisdom to find just the right match!