I'm reviewing the top blog posts of 2012 by breaking down the common threads that were in the list. So far, we have looked at posts that were more personal, posts that dealt with facts, and the series on unhealthy Christian organizations.
One theme that showed up was pretty obvious, just because it was a national issue and everyone was talking about it. The US presidential election captures our attention every four years like little else, and this year was no exception. We had an incumbent president who was not supported by the majority of evangelicals, and an opponent who started a vigorous discussion about Mormonism. The dividing lines were sharp, and the debate was spirited. It was an intriguing election, to be sure.
I blogged some about issues in the days leading up to the election. I even posted interviews with representatives from both campaigns (you can see those here and here). But the posts that got the most readership were the ones that came after the results were in.
Shortly after it was declared that President Barack Obama had won a second term, I published a post that asked the question "What now?" for evangelical Christians, and then attempted to answer the question. That post was the 4th most-read post of 2012.
I gave five points for consideration. Here was one of them:
When our King returns, He won't be riding a donkey or elephant. For those of us who believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nothing has changed. The Gospel is still real, and we still serve a God who has declared victory over sin and death. Anything that we do through political means is not to hold back the darkness lest it will overtake us. Rather, the charge to the church is to advance a kingdom that has already prevailed. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, our King is still sitting on His throne.
This post was seen by a number of people, and I hope that it was helpful. You can read the rest of it, including the other four points, here.
The other post that got some attention went up a few days later, and addressed a sensitive issue in my world. It was titled "Politics, Pollsters, and Fox News: Don't Create a "Conservative" Set of Facts." It was number 15 on the list of top posts of the year. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Pollsters work very hard to get things right. They did so in this election. Contrary to the angry conspiracy theorists, pollsters do not generally seek to influence the election (at least the credible ones, and those are the ones you see on the news). We even have a code of ethics we all follow-- you can see what they asked, the sample methods, etc. And, to be honest, they all know they will be graded the day after the election.
Yet, some people were quite convinced that all the polls were lying. Furthermore, some made accusations about pollsters, including me for quoting them. That's not helpful and makes you look like you don't care about facts.
I don't have a problem with disagreement, but it appears that some have confused their faith with Fox News-- for some, to question the judgment of Fox News cannot be tolerated if you are an evangelical Christian. However, some on Fox News did not serve their viewers well by promoting the myth that polls were biased. I am not saying they are evil, but they were wrong-- and some are admitting it now.
The truth is that I enjoy Fox News. I've watched Huckabee for awhile, since spending some time with him a few years back. And, since O'Reilly and I grew up in the same hometown, I confess a certain appreciation for his banter. However, if you love Fox News more than you love facts, it undermines your credibility, and I think that is evident in the discussion all over the media today. I'm saddened that many Christians are being included in the groups that "create their own facts."
I get that CNN leans left (and MSNBC leans more left), but you have to recognize that Fox News leans right-- and consider their reporting in that light. This time, some "leaned" their facts as well, and that did not help anyone.
The question is not whether the networks are biased. I think they all are, on both sides, but polls are generally not, and facts should not be ignored because of a particular channel.
You can see the whole thing here. As you can imagine, some people liked it . . . and, well, others not so much. But I still think it was an important issue to discuss.
Interestingly, we just published some post-election research that indicates evangelical support for Fox News is now even stronger than it was before November 6. I found that surprising, but facts are our friends, and they help us to understand the landscape.
The election certainly presented fodder for discussion, and although the results caused concern for many, the advent season is a good reminder that elections are not ultimate. We serve a God who came into the world to save sinners, and that has made all the difference.
Next, we will look at posts that addressed one of the most difficult issues in the church: child abuse.