The President’s inaugural address and the Republican response signal a second term of full-contact partisan clashes. The faith community should advance civility and respect as the foundations of vigorous political debate.
To this end, I speak to my own people, conservative evangelicals: Whether or not we agree with President Obama’s policies, we are commanded to show him respect and honor. We’re also commanded to willingly pay our taxes:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves…6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:1-2, 6-7
If we bristled when people referred to our last President as “W” or implied that he was unintelligent, we must resist the temptation to be similarly disrespectful to President Obama. He’s not a foreigner, a Muslim, a socialist, or an anti-American Constitution-burner. He’s the duly elected President of the United States of America. We’re commanded by God to respect and honor him, even when we disagree with his leadership.