The Hansen Report: The Day After
Election day is here, but what will tomorrow bring?

The view of America from Manhattan was pretty bleak on the morning after November 2, 2004. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, typically a levelheaded observer of world affairs, watched America become "two nations under God."

"We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is," Friedman wrote about the "Christian fundamentalists" who helped propel President Bush to reelection against Sen. John Kerry. "Is it a country that does not intrude into people's sexual preferences and the marriage unions they want to make? Is it a country that allows a woman to have control over her body? Is it a country where the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate? Is it a country where religion doesn't trump science? And, most important, is it a country whose president mobilizes its deep moral energies to unite us - instead of dividing us from one another and from the world?"

The view north of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois, was even more ominous. Northwestern University adjunct history professor Garry Wills declared November 2, 2004, "the day the enlightenment went out." No longer did America take after France, Britain, Germany, Italy or Spain. No, Bush's America harbored "fundamentalist zeal, a rage at secularity, religious intolerance, fear of and hatred for modernity." In short, the new America shared more in common with Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Sunni loyalists. Christian fundamentalists, still fuming over the embarrassment of the Scopes trial in 1925, had finally enacted a jihad Wills dubbed "Bryan's revenge." Now these Christians would be able to impose their irrational, bigoted opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Thinkers like Wills could only ask: "Can a people that believes more fervently in the Virgin Birth than in evolution still be called an Enlightened nation?"

Four years later, perhaps Wills can answer this question more to his liking. If Sen. Barack Obama defeats Sen. John McCain on Tuesday, does that mean the Enlightenment's flame has been rekindled? Has science won the tug-of-war with religion? Would Friedman conclude that two Americas have become one again?

Elections make intelligent people say and do unintelligent things. But they also make faithful people talk and act as if they had little faith. Focus on the Family Action is circulating a hypothetical letter from 2012 that explains how the United States has changed in President Obama's first term. According to Focus on the Family Action, Obama rallied support from Democratic majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives to mandate same-sex marriage across the country, eliminate restrictions on abortion, and reinforce the wall that separates church from state. Each of these developments is plausible, given Obama's track record and campaign statements.

November 04, 2008

Displaying 1–10 of 24 comments


December 02, 2008  9:46am

It continues to amaze me how despite a pastor actually praying from the pulpit for the president and his administration, individual members of a congregation are hostile to doing so when it's not a Republican president. In fact many of them are now expressing that it's the end of the world, we are now facing the Antichrist, we're headed for Marxism, etc. Some didn't even acknowledge the newly elected president, as if what was one of the most historically important events in our country never happened. How can we expect non-believing people or marginal believers to BELIEVE IN JESUS when many intelligent believers are displaying in full force that they are being exactly what the skeptical call "CRAZY CHRISTIANS"?

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November 17, 2008  3:03pm

The interesting thing is that in Collin's post, no denial is actually made of the concerns raised by the Focus On The Family letter. I finally found a copy of it and though the presentation is made creatively in the form of a fictional futuristic letter, all of the concerns are documented and are very real. They are based on CURRENT legislation, CURRENT judicial rulings, and documented statements of our president-elect. Many of these things have already happened at the state level. Choosing to be naive about one's favorite politician is inexcusable. For you to say that, "... the letter stokes fear and encourages faith in government as the ultimate arena for advancing the gospel and promoting biblical morality." is disingenuous. You either know nothing of the ministry of Focus or you choose to ignore it. A favorite quip of the religious left, when defending one of their own, is to say, "but you're quoting him/her out of context". This seems to be what is happening here. After reading the 'letter' I see it as little different of the Biblical warnings of what was ahead of true Christians in Pauls day. Collin says, "No matter who becomes the next president, he won't be more hostile to the Christian faith than Emperor Nero, who ruled over the Roman Christians who received this letter. And yet the apostle Paul told them "he is God's servant for your good" (Rom. 13:4). Is this supposed to make us feel better? Here's a taste of what Nero did to Christians: Nero used all kinds of punishments against the Christians. He had some sewed up in the skins of wild beasts, and then turned savage dogs loose on them until they were chewed to pieces. Other Christians were dressed in shirts dipped in wax, tied to poles, and set on fire in Nero's garden. Many were shot with arrows, and many others were thrown into the arena, where they were killed by savage lions and other wild beasts. The implication is that since our new governing authorities don't have plans as bad as these we should just shut up and take it? The Christians in Nero's day didn't have the option to elect him to office. We have chosen our own destiny.

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November 12, 2008  12:09pm

I find this conversation very again is an example of Christianity in North America focused on two main subjects. We as church are focused abortion and gay rights/marriage. But when the issue of oppression, violence, and poverty arise or a change in our lifestyle the church "leadership" is silent. Our view of what God has called the church to focus and address as been narrow over the last decade. For 8 years we had a "Christian leader" who waged war and made life more difficult for those less fortunate in this country I didn't hear Dobson and other "Christian leaders" challenge the president. Rather they gave him a ringing endorsement. What's wrong with this picture? Rather than call people to pray for God's guidance in the selection of leadership we are telling people who to vote for or using scare tactics to sway voters. I hope and pray that God use Obama in might and powerful way so that farce of Christianity that exists in North America can be exposed for what it is and we can truly return to God responding to his call. We are more pharisaic and legalistic than we like to acknowledge. These are new times for the church and in as much as I respect my elders I will not blindly follow their lead. I will seek God's guidance and wisdom and not the wisdom of man.

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Stephen S Weaver

November 11, 2008  9:13pm

Democrat? Who's a Democrat? Not me. Focus is a public organization. It claims to speak for Christianity. It has "prophecied" with its "Letter from 2014." Scripture exhorts us to work out our salvation, and, test all prophecy to see if the prophecy accords with the Word. This kind of critique is not loveless; in fact it is motivated by love. I want to see Focus become a better organization. I want to see the Bride go from her tattered condition to become the river that Ezekiel talked about in chapter 47. Read Revelation 2 and 3. There are harsh words for those who call themselves Christ's and yet miss the mark. Our Lord continually raises the bar, because the world deserves nothing less. And, I ask nothing from anyone else that I don't ask from myself.

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November 11, 2008  7:51am

I hear many of you speak about the love we as Christians need to share, and how this love we all claim to have for each other should be first among the things by which we are represented. This article has seemingly caused a perceived need for stone-throwing and "mud-slinging," yet as I read in scripture, Jesus said "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." It was also our Savior who said that we are to love one another as we love ourselves, and as He loved us, which by the way was and still is a whole bunch! This is a very simplistic way to look at the situation at hand, yet all I read over and over was a lot of anger and back-biting, and not-so-good feelings for each other. I would imagine this breaks the heart of our Creator.

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November 09, 2008  1:35am

Is this a democrat only web site? You're all congratulating each other for group think!

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Stephen S Weaver

November 07, 2008  9:19pm

Thanks, Collin, for your insightful, biblical words. The testimony of Scripture is that the Body of Christ is a bright, salty city on a hill. Because the Body is the Bride of the Lamb, it doesn't need to be propped up by government. The Body will leaven and affect government, but it is not dependent upon it or thwarted by it. There is no need to recount here the many occasions in history when the Bride was the brightest in the midst of the worst despotism. I understand Focus' problem; they're fundamentally Constantiniastic in outlook and can't imagine a thriving Chrisitanity in a hostile world. We shouldn't be surprised at this. Jesus said the scarcest thing in the Last Days would be faith. Focus just lacks faith. Therefore, we should pray that they acquire more faith. This will result in a more perfect love that casts out all fear. Then, perhaps, they will have a more mature testimony in facing the age.

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November 07, 2008  3:23pm

I will always have a difficult time voting for someone who is pro-choice. I believe abortion is the human rights/civil rights issue of our day. As segregation was the civil rights issue of the 60s, I believe abortion is the issue today. "But you can't legislate morality." I have had several well-meaning Christian friends tell me the same thing when I vocalize my hesitancy to vote for a pro-choice candidate. My thought is this- were people crying the same thing when one Governor George Wallace ran for president in the 60s? I pray that Obama's heart would change on this issue of abortion and I am hoping for the best in the next 4 years. I join millions in prayer for our next president.

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November 06, 2008  4:44pm

Not having seen, or even heard about the Focus on The Family piece referred to here, I won't pass judgement on it. However BrandonK takes the continual Christian cop-out of saying, "you can't "legislate" morality". Well, all legislation is based on somebody's morality. Whose will it be? We all vote to legislate morality whether it's good or bad. Why would we vote to legislate bad morality?

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November 06, 2008  12:40am

This is to comment on the comments... I do not agree with Focus on the Family and their article. I think that it is to instill fear and shame in people that voted for Obama and it, in itself is shameful. I voted for McCain. I did not vote Obama, because of my personal beliefs about the person he really is. I do not pretend to like the choice that the American Populace chose for president; however I will support him because I am told to in the WORD. To point fingers is wrong. To be in disagreement is another thing. A friend told me that you can't "legislate" morality. I agree that this will never happen. I agree that abortion is wrong, but on the flip side it is a woman's choice. There is no way that I will push my beliefs on someone that wants to make that choice. I will do what I can to let them know where I stand on the issue and advise against it, however I will love them the same no matter what choice they make... THAT is being a Christian. Pushing "Gods Agenda" is not something that I want to be known for. I want to be known for showing Christ's love to ALL people and winning them through that love, not pushing legislation on what I THINK is right. God is an Out-of-the-box God. Don't think that for one second He can't and won't use our new president for good. Look at King Saul if you want a "Biblical Example" of how God uses people.

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