Did Andy Stanley Really Mean Obama Is 'Pastor in Chief'?
Anyone who has respect for our nation or the presidency would have done what Louie did, because at the end of the day, it was the inauguration of the President of the United States. Why would anyone want to do anything to detract from that? That was the honorable thing to do. The group that called Louie out on the message did the very opposite. Whatever you feel about their views, they leveraged their views to detract from the inauguration. They're saying, "Mr. President, how could you invite someone who doesn't believe like we do?" So I just have the utmost respect for Louie's decision. I just hate that it happened the way that it did.
Is there even theoretically in your mind a line a President could cross that would preclude you from attending a service in his honor or a service that he's going to attend?
That's a good question. If it was the signing of a bill that I was absolutely against and his people said, "Would you come pray before the signing of the bill?"—no. I think at that point, I am endorsing a specific policy or a specific bill. I think there's definitely a line there.
But to be invited to preach? I have people in my congregation who have far more disturbing views than he does. I preach to them every week!
In general, what is the Christian's public responsibility during the presidency of someone whose policies he or she finds especially troublesome?
First I would say this: We get to choose our President. So the reason President Obama is the President is because America chose him. There's really no reason to be upset with President Obama. He is who he claimed to be, and he believes what he told us all along he believes. Fifty-one percent of the American people elected him. I think he takes the blame for what the majority of our nation decided was the right thing to do. So [the criticism] is misdirected.
The fact that we have a President who has views or policies that contradict what we believe as Christians—that should drive us to our knees as a nation, not focus attention on an individual who personifies things we disagree with. That's not helpful. It's not going to make any difference. It doesn't do any good.
So you're saying, in one sense, that to be consistent, these Christians should be angry at the 51 percent who voted for him.
Exactly. But I'm not going to argue that we should be angry at anyone—but that's the issue.
I tell leaders, "Never give away influence unnecessarily." There's a time. There's a hill to die on. But for the most part, you never unnecessarily give away influence.
For the people who tweeted all those hateful things—I won't even mention names—well, I don't know why they did it. I thought, Okay, you just gave away influence.
What do you mean by that?
If I work for you, and I'm in that meeting with you and you have an idea, I don't embarrass you or criticize your idea there. Then if I come to you privately and ask you questions, you're going to listen to me. If I embarrass you in front of the whole group, I've lost leverage with you. Now, again, there are lines. There are things that you don't cross. I'm not abandoning theology.
Again, I tell leaders, "Make a difference. Don't be satisfied with making a point." It's easy to make a point. If you have a computer, a blog, a Twitter account, you can make a point. But you're not going to make a difference. We have been called to be difference makers.