Looks like contraception could be President Obama’s ticket to re-election.

Despite handing the Republicans an open goal with his despotic attempt to coerce religious institutions to pay for their employees’ birth control and abortions, the Republicans have contrived not only to miss the goal but also to shoot into their own net by getting mired in a debate about the rights and wrongs of contraception, instead of keeping that debate focused on freedom of religion and of conscience. And while scoring own goals, for good measure let’s throw the whole game away by questioning Obama’s theology, and even whether Obama is a Christian or a Muslim.

Rick Santorum has been the worst offender among the candidates. It’s just so foolish for a Presidential candidate to not only allow himself to get drawn so deeply into the contraception issue, but to deliberately keep it alive, and then to launch out on Obama’s “phony theology,” followed by unconvincing attempts to say he was only talking about his “green theology.” And to top it all off, Franklin Graham disgraces himself with his horribly unconvincing, defensive ramblings about the genuineness of Obama’s Christianity, climaxing with the “Son of Islam” nonsense – on breakfast TV!

This is not just miles “off message,” it’s inter-planetary. And it’s so small-minded in the face of such huge societal and economic problems. At this rate, President Obama can start writing his inaugural address.

Where, O where is the grand vision? And where is the candidate who can cast the vision with attractive, compelling, and persuasive words – without getting distracted by every gnat that buzzes in his ears.

That vision must have two simple parts – The Economy and Society. And it’s got to be ruthlessly focused, rousingly big, and relentlessly positive.

When the Republicans talk about the economy, all people actually hear is: “Cuts, cuts, cuts.” That’s so small, so expected, and so negative. It’s designed to appeal to the 50+1% who like to think that the cuts are going to fall on the other 49% or perhaps on the next generation.

Where is the Republican who can honestly and courageously articulate the benefits of proportionate shared sacrifice for huge long-term gain? Where is the Republican who can reach out to the poor (both “deserving” and “undeserving”), the “entitlement generation,” the takers, and persuade them that there’s a much better way for them and their families? Is there no one who can connect with them, motivate them, and unite them with the rest of society? Is no one even going to try?

And, of course, the economic problems cannot be solved without addressing societal problems, especially that of family breakdown.

But when the Republicans speak about society, all people hear is “Wrong, wrong, wrong.” Gay marriage? Wrong! Abortion? Wrong! Single motherhood? Wrong!

These things are wrong, but angry condemning never helped anyone. We need a Republican who can paint a much bigger and much more positive vision of a renewed and revitalized society built on the basic building block of the family and respect for precious life. Holier-than-thou tones and denunciatory attitudes won’t cut it.

Again, is there no Republican who can compassionately reach out to the tens of millions of broken homes and broken lives with care, concern, and constructive efforts to at least slow down the rate of failing families and murdered babies. Is there no one who can inspire a new generation of young people to live lives of purity, commitment, and loyalty. Sounding like a whiny Pharisee won’t cut it here either.

The present range of candidates look terribly small, undisciplined, blinkered, and short-sighted. Maybe one of them could still grow into the desperately needed, big-vision leader who will be ruthlessly yet positively focused on the economy and society. But the time is very short.

And the opposition is very great. There’s a huge political class with an intense personal interest in growing the numbers of the dependent poor in order to maintain their own demoralizing and divisive power.

  • http://www.thesolasystem.blogspot.com/ Adam K

    You wrote: “We need a Republican who can paint a much bigger and much more positive vision of a renewed and revitalized society built on the basic building block of the family and respect for precious life.”

    I’m quite certain that you are not suggesting that we build our society on the horizontal basis of the “second table”. As such, please understand the following comment as complementary rather than antagonistic to your post above.

    Until we build our society on the foundation of God and His Son Jesus Christ (i.e. the “first table”, the gospel, etc.), we cannot expect a “renewed” or “revitalized” society. Renewal and revitalization cannot be built on the “family” or on a generic “respect for precious life”. This is “second table” moralism and “first table” pluralism.

    Apart from an explicitly Christian and Scriptural foundation, we will be left with nothing but a choice between antinomians (i.e. Democrats) and moralistic, self-interested (and, as you say, “winy”) pharisees (i.e. Republicans).

    How can we expect God to grant us relief from family problems, economic problems, and moral problems when we continue (as a nation) to spurn the authority of Christ and the Scriptures? According to Romans 1, all of the problems listed above are God’s judgment for our failing to acknowledge and worship Him. According to Psalm 2, Christ is inclined to dash our leaders to pieces “like a potter’s vessel” for not “kissing the Son”. Until we address that issue, we are likely to “perish in the way”, making it is naive for us to expect any national progress on other issues without national repentance.


    • http://dominion-designs.com Michael Davenport

      Well said, Adam…

    • David Murray

      You’re right Adam, your comment is not antagonistic. I suppose I maybe would be more positive than you about God blessing our society if we even get just the second table right. In the absence of any candidate calling the nation to repentance and faith in Christ (is that a politician’s job anyway?) I still think its worthwhile engaging the political process to get the best economic and social conditions possible.

  • Larry

    His name’s Ron Paul.

  • Stewart

    It is not the job of the gov’t. to fix these social ills (so-called “Gay marriage”, contraception, welfare, etc.), but only to insure a safe, free environment in which the Church and families can operate to fulfill their respective duties under God. With that in view, Ron Paul most closely fits the model of what a President should be.

    • David Murray

      Stuart and Larry: I agree that on paper many of Ron Paul’s policies are the most biblical ( apart from a few weird hobby-horses). However, IMHO he does a very poor job in communicating and reaching out in a compelling and persuasive manner. I get the impression that he’s not very interested in persuading more than his core 12-15%. That to me is a serious failure of leadership. I don’t think he wants the presidency. A platform maybe, but not the presidency.

  • Heidi Pronk

    I share your lament about the lack of candidates with a positive vision. All of them, to one degree or another, sound negative (including Ron Paul who often sounds like a cranky old man.) We win more with honey than with vinegar. However, there is also a concerted effort on the part of the secular media to ensure that conservative candidates are portrayed in a negative way. A good example of that is giving hours of air time to a comment Santorum made about Satan 4 years ago. Often the trap gets set and we step into it. I think that’s what happened with Franklin Graham. Ultimately, these men are more in need of our prayers for wisdom than our criticism. Is there anything more difficult than for a fallen sinner to faithfully represent Christ in the public sphere?
    The religious freedom issue is one that seems to be largely escaping the Protestant community. This is not just about Catholic hospitals and contraception; it affects every Christian school, pregnancy resource center, and religious organization. I’m helping to organize this event next week to educate Christians about this issue: http://www.acallforreligiousfreedom.com/ We must stand firm on this!

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      I agree with you, Heidi, about the media. The problem is, as you say, they set the trap and the candidates walk into it every time.

  • barry

    Thank you David & thank you Adam~

  • http://www.thesolasystem.blogspot.com Adam Kuehner

    Michael: Say hi to your parents for me :)

    Dr. Murray: Thanks for your response. To clarify, I didn’t say anything about politicians calling the nation to repentance. (As a preacher, I’m calling THEM to repentance.) My comment simply asserted that politicians must THEMSELVES repent, embrace Christ as the “King of Kings”, and openly acknowledge the Scriptures as morally authoritative.

    I truly covet your optimism :) However, I’m not aware of any nation that God has enabled to “get the second table right” while spurning the first table (Rom. 1). In the U.S., we’ve been trying that approach since 1789 and today there isn’t much “second table” left to speak of!

  • http://www.thesolasystem.blogspot.com Adam Kuehner

    In other words, ministers must call the nation to repentance, but politicians (as representatives of the nation) must respond to this call by “Kissing the Son” (Ps. 2). The call to repentance is ministerial or prophetic, but the repentance itself is the common duty of all magistrates and their subjects.

    Sorry if that wasn’t clear in my first post. Probably I’m just nervous posting here b/c of how much your preaching ministry has served to correct & redefine my own over the last few years! Keep up the good work!

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Thanks Adam. Your points are good and challenging. I hope and pray also for the day when politicians themselves will bow to King Jesus. When I look back over the last 100 years in the UK, as far as I know we have had no Prime Minister who bowed the knee to Christ. However, when policies were enacted that were in accordance with the Word of God, the nation did prosper. I don’t think that was a coincidence.

  • Ben Manring

    I think you’re mistaken to suppose that Rick Santorum has welcomed the attention focussed by the media on his personal religious beliefs regarding contraception. He shakes his head whenever it comes up (which is often lately), and even Newt Gingrich excoriated CNN on Wednesday for trying to make something of this, while they will not say a word about the President’s support for infanticide (he was instrumental, while in the Illinois legislature, in defeating a bill which would have spared the lives of babies born alive during an abortion).

    You ask, “Where is the Republican who can honestly and courageously articulate the benefits of proportionate shared sacrifice for huge long-term gain?” If you replace the word “Republican” with that of “Democrat,” the answer is easy: Barack Obama. Shared sacrifice, imposed by the government, is called socialism, and is not a Republican ideal, nor does it ever result in huge long-term gain. It’s hard to know where you’re going with this, because perhaps you’re not suggesting a government program, maybe just a fatherly word of encouragement and an example. But then why are you criticizing the entire panel of candidates? Some of them have been very generous with their personal charity and have been outstanding examples of men (Santorum, Romney, Huntsman), and women (Bachman), taking care of their families.

    At the same time you seem to dislike the emphasis that has been placed on so-called social issues like abortion and gay marriage. Now these are within the proper purview of government (Rom 13:3; Ps 82:3; the many laws dealing with marriage imply a government interest–contra Stewart) and it has been a long tradition in American politics for us to care about a man’s faith, the credibility of his profession of it, and how we expect that faith to be worked out in his stand for the correspondence of our laws with biblical values.

    It is the view of many that in no election have the social issues been more important than the one that will take place this November. This is because of the unprecedented and relentless attack taking place on marriage, and the indefatigable efforts of our Christ professing President to destroy it. He’s not alone. There is one Republican candidate who is on board with the agenda, the only one, as it happens, who has gotten positive press in the comments of yourself and others succeeding your blog: Ron Paul.

    John Stossel: “Homosexuality. Should gays be allowed to marry?”
    Ron Paul: “Sure.”

    Anonymous Interviewer: “So your position on issues like gay marriage, you would be supportive of that?”
    Ron Paul: “I am supportive of all voluntary associations and people can call it whatever they want.”

    “There should essentially be no limits to the voluntary definition of marriage,” Ron Paul’s Book, Liberty Defined

    Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage: “Would you support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman?”
    Ron Paul: “No.”

  • max

    Concerning Paul:
    1. In the last debate he said the greatest misconception about him is that people think he can’t win. He repeatedly said that he’s in it to win it. The problem about him communicating the ideas is that he usually isn’t given the time to do that. When he’s given a little more time it’s just to respond to stupid allegations. The media tries to marginalize him. Go to ronpaulflix.com and watch some of his longer speeches. I’m sure you will be impressed.

    2. When Paul says that he’s supportive of all voluntary associations he doesn’t mean that he’s supporting gay marriage. What he wants is the government to get out of the marriage business and let the people do what they want. Of course that would allow gay people to “marry” (something that’s not avoidable anyways because the culture is bad), but on the other hand there wouldn’t be this big official redefinition of marriage, like we see in more and more states. The same is true for abortion. If you take the authority away from the federal government to decide for all the states whether or not it’s legal, you can fight it on a more local level. Otherwise the next liberal government will just overturn it again.

    3. Paul is the only one who takes the economy seriously, the only one who understands the FED and the only one who will really cut spending. All the others will INCREASE spending according to their own published plans! Unfortunately most people are prejudiced and don’t take the time to really listen to what he says. Ron Paul is the only one who’s written books about the crisis we have now long before it happened. People are just not aware of all the things he’s said and written – the problem is with the media.