In his first press briefing as President, Barack Obama focused on the fiscal well being of the nation. With only days to the vote on Obama's version of the stimulus package in the Senate, it was a press conference whose motives could not be mistaken. Is he on the money or off the wall?
With a Democratically controlled House and Senate it seemed more of a perfunctory briefing than a call for the nation to get onboard Obama's economic tinker wagon.
With a pre-chosen list of reporter's names to call from the entire briefing was mechanical and not very friendly. The first question asked by AP's Jennifer Loven was met with a terse "No no no no, that's just not the way it is," and the tone was set.
It was hard to tell if Obama feared the press would ask him a question that would put him on the tilt or if the press was afraid of more rebuke like Loven endured. The rest of the briefing was just more of Obama telling the press the way it really is regardless of their questions. Standoff-ish, robotic and mechanical may be the softer description of the entire interchange.
The briefing may have been more of a strategy to make the president look a little more presidential and a little less weak or confused after the strong resistance he has seen even from a severely backwatered GOP.
Comedian Bob Hope often said that his definition of a bank was a place that would lend you money if you could prove that you didn't need it. Barack Obama said in his first press conference that the housing crisis and other fiscal problems in the U.S. were caused by banks that lent money to people without proving that they had the means to pay it back. Both of these views have something tacitly in common but neither is actually very funny.
After the expected albeit boring rhetorical blaming of the outgoing administration for all of our economic woes, the new Chief rambled on about the crisis as if the sky was falling even as he spoke. In a series of mini-speeches woven into other speeches he answered reporter's questions with answers that sounded like he was still on the campaign trail.
Following Obama's logic is often like posing a philosophical problem where the premise doesn't lead from A to B, but in the hands of the new White House chief it cancels the premise and its possible outcome altogether!
Obama told reporters that insolvent citizens caused the problem but now he wants to lend money to teetering and nearly insolvent companies that will fix the problem. He added new meaning to the term "six of one and a half dozen of the other."
He has summarily blamed those on whom the crisis is about to fall for creating it. "We the people" were to dumb to see that we were borrowing what we could not pay. Now the answer is to lend even more money to banks, institutions and corporations who also may not be able to pay. Our gamble is bad, although he was careful enough not to say that directly, but his gamble is rational and believable.
The incongruity of Obama's reasoning is becoming almost a hallmark for the President. In the area of morality the same incomprehensible and borderline sophomoric reasoning is applied almost every time he opens his mouth.
For example, after rescinding President Bush's executive order that banned the use of taxpayer's money for abortion he spoke at a pro-life prayer breakfast at the Washington Hilton and said "God wouldn't condone taking the life of an innocent human being." He went on to say, or brag as it may be, that he planned an office of faith based and neighborhood partnerships that would not favor one religious group over another.
The pro-life group would no doubt have been ecstatic if he had said he would favor the unborn and no doubt could care less about his views of religion. This incongruity is so remarkable that it would seem that that he has a touch of attention deficit disorder. God wouldn't but I would, might have been more honest and in view of his first act in office, more comprehensible.
When Barack Obama decided that the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality in the book of Romans was an "obscure" passage that needn't be taken too seriously he showed that he favors some religions over others especially if they are non-biblical or too liberal to take the Bible seriously. When he decided that the unborn that God says he knows even while they are in the womb may not be a life begun he reaffirmed his disfavor for at least one religion across the board, biblically based Christianity.
Those still waiting for the official copy of his birth certificate have also subpoenaed his school records but none of them have been requested from any schools of Divinity as far as anyone can tell. So where did he get this expert theological training in the exegesis of the Scriptures?
We have only to wonder if he would also say that the dozens of references throughout the Bible that say God alone gives wealth to an individual or nation is also obscure. "But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day." (De 8:18)
Not knowing this basic biblical teaching is only part of the problem. The most fundamental error is our President's inability to see the inextricable link between a nation's morality and its economy.
The truth is that when a nation decides to live in wholesale immorality God doesn't whimsically intervene with a slap on the wrist but rather he promises that that nation's wealth will be turned to dust.
Although I am an obscure man with no particular standing or fame (nor do I want any) I find myself in good company with true men of God in this day and the biblical prophets of old who all warned that no nation can flaunt their immorality forever and expect to continue in prosperity and wealth.
Over thirty years past I was assured that this country would undergo the worst economic downturn in its history. That economic collapse is directly tied to the rise in immorality and sexual perversion, violence and the slaughter of the innocents. It is now at the doors!
Perhaps the day is long past when kings resorted to prophets for their counsel. Maybe the day is almost gone when nations seek God together under the leadership of called men of God on a regular basis. But there is no doubt that God's word has not changed. Even though there is fewer and fewer who will risk being derided and scorned for proclaiming it. The process is sure and the outcome is known.
The process is that God sends messengers, evangelists, preachers and prophets. If they are heeded the outcome is positive and wealth is always part of that picture. If they are not heeded the power of the nation is broken along with its wealth.
It is not the so-called "separation of church and state" that we should be worried about but the separation of civil authority and prophetic authority. Ignoring this important distinction is done at our own peril.
In giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and giving to God the things that are God's we must not fail to see that conversely we must only take from Caesar the things that are Caesar's and take from God the things that are God's. While presidents and kings may give us economic plans it is prophetic utterance that tells the final disposition and future of a nation.
"Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." (2 Ch 20:20)
Copyright ©2009 Rev. Michael Bresciani