The second inauguration of President Barack Obama is now history. The theme of his next term was framed by New York Senator Charles Schumer, “Faith in America’s Future.” The president’s address gave us a glimpse of his goals for the next four years and why we should unite as “one people” to advance his administration’s agenda.
We should definitely prepare for the coming agenda. Here’s what I believe we can expect:
- Increased Federal Debt. The president’s party has yet to approve a budget in the Senate nor shown any willingness to rein in runaway federal spending. In fact, this president increased debt per household more than the first 42 presidents combined.
- Expansion of Welfare Programs. Government spending on food stamps alone increased 100% in President Obama’s first term and there is no end in sight. The president and others in his party believe this boosts the economy.
- Immigration Reform. Since the demographics of immigrating populations favor the Democratic Party, expect a strong push for amnesty and more relaxed rules for naturalization and citizenship.
- Increased Taxes. With bias against the wealthy, new initiatives will seek to increase federal revenue, but only with token reductions in spending. While the rhetoric will call for some to pay their “fair share,” half will continue to pay nothing.
- Climate Change Legislation. The president believes that man is responsible for global warming, thus we will see even more regulation of manufacturing and new taxes to reduce carbon emissions.
- Growing Polarization between Liberals and Conservatives. The administration is operating under the assumption it has a “mandate” to implement as much of its agenda as possible. With control of the Senate and a fawning media, opposition will be painted as “obstructionist” and skirted as often as possible.
- Contempt for Traditional Values. With a view that “tolerance” doesn’t allow for some Christians to offer the benediction at the Presidential Inauguration, we should not expect the president’s second term to advance social, moral or fiscal policy that reflects the traditional values Americans once held dear. Unity will be sought to the exclusion of those viewed as out of touch with “modern” values.
- Increased Efforts to Limit Gun Ownership. The administration knows it faces an uphill battle in Congress over new gun control laws. Nonetheless, it will try to weaken the Second Amendment that protects our right to bear arms any way it can. What the president can’t get through Congress, he will seek to implement through executive order, as he did 23 times last week.
- Increased Sanctions of Same Sex Marriage. Last year, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to support gay marriage. Also, the States of Washington and Maryland became the first to approve gay marriage by referendum. The issue will receive increased pressure and attention in the next four years.
- Increased Tensions with Conservative States. A number of conservative states will attempt to resist the overreach of the federal government regarding health care, gun ownership and gay marriage.
The president’s re-election campaign motto was “Forward.” I tried to think of anything in the agenda behind the motto that warrants optimism. There are a few potential bright spots:
- Economic Growth. Although long-term prospects aren’t promising, expect to see the economy stabilize and even expand somewhat with continued massive federal spending and credit manipulation.
- Job Growth. As the economy stabilizes, private sector job growth will follow, grudgingly. The job market will improve, but experts doubt we’ll ever again see the low levels of unemployment enjoyed by past generations.
- Backlash. Essentially all of the president’s agenda items mentioned above have negative consequences that will result in moral, social and financial pain. When Americans begin to feel that pain in their homes and workplaces, there may be a great outcry against the foolish policies of our elected officials. Voters may begin to reject this agenda in 2014 or 2016. That is, if there’s an alternative at the polls.
- Revival. The personal trials created by these policies could spark a fire of revival—a Third Great Awakening. A restored faith in Christ will bring repentance for our personal and national sins and a cultural change at the grassroots level of our country. We should never abandon this hope.
Throughout the Bible, there are many accounts of God’s people living in hostile lands, navigating the challenges imposed by an unrighteous culture. We have the greatest guidebook on how to survive and influence the cultural changes we are witnessing in America. Two thousand years ago, Jude wrote about keeping faith in troubled times:
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” (Jude 1:3 NIV).
Faith in America’s future is misplaced if we depend on politicians to lead us. True faith is firmly placing our lives under the control and direction of the Lord Jesus Christ and trusting Him for our future.
On Monday, we also celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was through the power of his faith in God Almighty that he led a much needed cultural revolution at the cost of his own life. His “I Have a Dream” speech will continue to inspire us for generations. He made us a better people and we should never forget the example of his peaceful resistance and passionate pleas for freedom.
We may lose influence in the political arena, but we must never lose our faith in the Almighty One. We follow His agenda. Do not fear. Stand firm. Resist evil. Be patient. Submit to authority. Trust God when you suffer, and always seek to advance the kingdom of God.
Our future is securely in His hands.