Al Mohler, the outspoken president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written about the controversy surrounding President Barack Obama's address to school children today. Normally Out of Ur doesn't venture into the political fray, but in this case Mohler models a thoughtful and moderate response–one that might be helpful to other church leaders struggling to communicate with their congregations about the matter.
Here's an excerpt:
Much of the controversy is reckless, baseless, and plainly irrational. Some have called the speech an effort to recruit America's children into socialism. Others have argued that any presidential speech piped into classrooms is illegitimate. But a presidential speech to students is hardly unprecedented. This speech by this president has led to an unprecedented uproar.
At this level, the controversy is a national embarrassment. Conservatives must avoid jumping on every conspiracy theory and labeling every action by the Obama administration as sinister or socialist...
Furthermore, this controversy smacks of disrespect for the President and, by extension, disrespect for the presidency itself. Both fly in the face of Christian responsibility to pray for those in authority.
After reading President Obama's entire speech, Dr. Mohler concludes: "This message should be welcomed by America's parents, both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives."
However, Mohler doesn't place all of the blame for the controversy on conservatives. He believes the Obama administration's maneuvering and its stoking of Obama's iconic cultural power have led to the paranoia. Read Mohler's entire post on his blog.
In the end Mohler says:
Barack Obama is President of the United States. Christians must be the first to pray for this president and to model respect for the presidency, even when we must disagree with the President's policies and proposals. Given what this president intends to say tomorrow to America's students, count me as one who hopes many are listening. If even a few young hearts are encouraged, those moments will be worth all the controversy.
What do you think of the controversy? And how should pastors and church leaders direct their flocks?