Obama v. Romney: God’s Hands or Our Hands?

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“Well, it’s in God’s hands.”

I’ve heard that expression a lot lately. I’m hearing it from Christians extremely worried about this presidential election. They pepper me with questions on polls, voter turnout, media bias, independents and moderates, evangelical and Catholic voters. They are deeply concerned. “Well,” they sigh, “I guess it’s in God’s hands.”

But is it? I think it’s in our hands. I think God has left it in our hands. Just as God has given us free will, the power to choose right over wrong, good instead of bad, and even to accept or reject God, so, too, I imagine, God wants to see how we choose in November 2012.

Consider this:

President Ronald Reagan’s favorite Bible verse was 2nd Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

This verse was so significant to Reagan that he literally had his hand on that verse at his inaugural ceremony in January 1981. The Bible he used was his mother’s. Next to the verse, his mother had scribbled: “A wonderful verse for the healing of a nation.”

Reagan committed himself to helping advance a spiritual renewal in an America that had declined so precipitously in the 1960s and 1970s. Reagan believed that America was truly a blessed nation, that God had shed his grace on thee. He feared what might happen to such a nation that turned its back on that generous God. Those Americans had a choice. If they chose wrongly, then they earned whatever lack of graces or protections God might provide.

This November 2012, it will be left to Americans, not to God, to vote for so-called “gay marriage,” for taxpayer funding of abortion and Planned Parenthood and embryo destruction, for violations of their own religious liberty, and much more.

This election isn’t in God’s hands; it’s in our hands.

For Catholic Exchange dot com and Ave Maria Radio, I’m Paul Kengor.

Dr. Paul Kengor

By

Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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  • Poppiexno

    I always enjoy Dr. Kengor’s articles and this is no exception. The verse favored by Ronald Reagan brings to mind a comparison of modern America with the ancient Israelites – one that liberals would scoff at. Just as the Israelites wandered from God’s path, so too has modern secular America. The Israelites eventually gained God’s favor by turning to God. Sadly, I’m not sure America is ready to do likewise. The fundamental issue at stake in November is not the economy, or jobs, or the national debt – important as they are. The fundamental issue is moral. Are we going to sacrifice our liberty to the seductive golden calf of liberalism with it’s false promises and endure the deliberate dismantling of our society? Or are we going to reject the Son of Lies who now occupies the oval office? Dr. Kengor is correct. It is in our hands to decide. May God help us.

  • Howard

    I find it disingenous that Catholics would vote Romney for religious reasons while ignoring the bishops’ condemnation of the Republican budget as violating decades of Catholic social teaching. If you hate Obama, that’s fine, but please don’t claim the church told you to. If you truly believed Catholic social teaching, you’d be disgusted by Romney’s comments on the 47% of Americans who don’t pay income tax, including the elderly and the disabled.

    I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a victim dependent on
    government who refuses to take control of his own life, but there’s no
    way that during the worst economy since the great depression that I am
    going to vote for a man who promises to eliminate the same social
    safety net that people need in such dire times to survive, let alone
    get back on their feet again.

    It’s insane to think that the same party which caused this economic
    crisis is going to fix it by reinstating the same policies that drove
    us off the cliff in the first place. According to Clinton at the DNC,
    more jobs have actually been created under Democratic presidents than
    Republican ones. If you don’t believe the claim, fact check it. Obama
    created more private sector net job growth in two years than Bush did
    in eight years.

  • Cheryl Dickow

    Howard,

    As Catholics we are called to defend innocent life in the womb. Plain and simple. While social justice issues are very significant ones, there is a scale on which we are to weigh on all things. First and foremost is the defense of innocent life. Romney is the clear choice here. No one is saying he is perfect, as he most certainly is not. But he puts us on the right road of defending life in the womb.

    This Scripture quote of Reagan’s seems particularly significant right now because while we may want to use Romney’s comments as a reason to vote against him, it is best we don’t allow the bias of media coverage to blind us to the whole picture of this election.

    If we follow Mother Church, abortion is intrinsically evil and voting against it is what we should do. As Dr. Kengor says in this article, it is in our hands right now.

    And I often wonder if we make the choice to defend life, will we become the great nation, once again, that President Reagan believed in? Will God’s blessings abound when we defend innocent life in the womb? I believe that is the case and am willing to take a leap of faith and vote pro-life as I am called to do as a Catholic.

    http://catholicexchange.com/the-catholic-woman-voter/

  • MDJ

    Howard,
    It would do us well to listen to our brave Bishops, like the one quoted here:
    “In 1992 Presidential candidate Bill Clinton famously said that abortion should
    be “safe, legal and rare.” That was the party’s official position until 2008.
    Apparently “rare” is so last century that it had to be dropped, because now the
    Democratic Party Platform says that abortion should be “safe and legal.”
    Moreover the Democratic Party Platform supports the right to abortion
    “regardless of the ability to pay.” Well, there are only three ways for that to
    happen: either taxpayers will be required to fund abortion, or insurance
    companies will be required to pay for them (as they are now required to pay for
    contraception), or hospitals will be forced to perform them for
    free.

    Moreover, the Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage,
    recognizes that “gay rights are human rights,” and calls for the repeal of the
    Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996
    that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.

    Now, why am I mentioning these matters in the Democratic Party
    Platform? There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party
    Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils.
    My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote.
    But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this
    duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding “political” and didn’t say
    anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform
    positions that promote serious sins. I know that the Democratic Party’s official
    “unequivocal” support for abortion is deeply troubling to pro-life
    Democrats.So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and
    there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious
    sin. …”
    The Good Bishop continues,
    “Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or
    against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully
    about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who
    promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful
    makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in
    serious jeopardy.

    I pray that God will give you the wisdom and guidance to make the morally
    right choices.

    May God give us this grace. Amen.” ~
    Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
    We all need to wake up! May Our Good Lord have Mercy on us!!

  • Cthemfly25

    Oh Howard—most unfortunately there is little one can charitably say to help you. Fact check it.

  • Matt

    The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Whether Kings or Presidents, God gives us the leaders we deserve. It’s in our hands? Faithful Catholics and Christians are in the minority now. We do not have control. I think it’s very important for us to understand this new reality.

  • Howard

    Right now, Obama is either winning the Catholic vote or having an equal share of it with Romney. If you claim that you are not a true Catholic for voting Democrat, you are then insulting half the Catholic faithful, including our vice president. Since Roe vs. Wade, Republicans have used abortion as a wedge issue to win elections, making only cosmetic changes to abortion laws once in office. In the Gospels, Jesus never mentions abortion but he does have a lot to say about how we treat the least among us. I would like to see a credible Catholic scholar defend Romney’s remarks about the 47% using traditional Catholic teaching. If you can’t provide it, then why not?

  • Howard

    And about Reagan, don’t forget his policies favorable to abortion while Governor of California. It’s like the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

  • Howard

    And about Romney, don’t forget how he was openly pro-choice until running for president.

  • Howard

    And about Romney and Reagan, don’t forget that both were pro-choice before running for president. What were Reagan’s policies on abortion while Governor of California? It’s like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

  • Poppiexno

    Once again into the fray. Folks, please consider carefully: 1. What Reagan did or didn’t do in Callifornia is of no consequence in this election 2. The Bishops’ teaching on social justice is subordinate to the Bishops’ condemnation of abortion. You cannot use the former to justify ignoring the latter. 3. Whether the Republican party is using the issue of abortion as a “wedge” is also of no consequence. The Supreme Court has upheld Roe vs Wade. We, who oppose abortion, have to live with that fact. Overturning Roe vs Wade will be exceedingly difficult and we have to do (and are doing) what we can in other ways to combat this evil. 4. We are blessed to live in a country with a strong democratic tradition. But the Catholic Church is not a democracy. Many Catholics fail to understand that distinction. You may not like it, but you don’t get to vote on what is right or wrong. I can’t answer for “Catholics” who will vote for Obama, but in my view the term pro-choice Catholic is an oxymoron. You are either one or the other. As I wrote previously, the most significant issue at stake in this election is a moral one. Vote for Obama and you will vote for an advocate of abortion. That is paramount and takes precedence over everything else. Everything!

  • Howard

    If you so choose, you can repeat over and over again that Catholics are obligated to vote for Romney, the pro-choice governor of Massachusetts, because he, like Reagan, had a “change of heart” to win your vote. Just please don’t claim that anyone who sees through the smokescreen and votes against a man who shows such contempt for half the American people, including the elderly and the disabled, is somehow not a true Catholic.

  • Howard

    If you so choose, you can repeat over and over again that Catholics are
    obligated to vote for Romney, the pro-choice governor of Massachusetts,
    because he, like Reagan, had a “change of heart” to win your vote. Just
    please don’t claim that anyone who sees through the smokescreen and
    votes against a man who shows such contempt for half the American
    people, including the elderly and the disabled, is somehow not a true
    Catholic. I am not going to convince you how to vote and there is really nothing more for me to say on this topic except that only God can judge how true a Christian a man really is, regardless of how he votes this year.

  • Howard

    If you so choose, you can repeat over and over again that Catholics are
    obligated to vote for Romney, the pro-choice governor of Massachusetts,
    because he, like Reagan, had a “change of heart” to win your vote. Just
    please don’t claim that anyone who sees through the smokescreen and
    votes against a man who shows such contempt for half the American
    people, including the elderly and the disabled, is somehow not a true
    Catholic. I am not going to convince you how to vote, just please don’t accuse me and half the faithful of not being truly Catholic for disagreeing with you.

  • Howard

    What I would politely like to find out is if
    there’s any credible Catholic scholar who has defended Romney’s remarks
    in light of Catholic social teaching.
    I don’t want to tell anyone
    how to vote, but Romney’s remarks cut into the narrative that no one
    who votes for Obama can be a true Catholic. In fact, Romney was
    pro-choice before running for president, so what reason is there to
    assume that he just suddenly had a change of heart? If Romney doesn’t
    believe that poor pregnant mothers should receive prenatal care and give
    birth in a hospital, and that her child shouldn’t go without food and
    healthcare, how pro-life really is he?

  • Howard

    What I would politely like to find out is if
    there’s any credible Catholic scholar who has defended Romney’s remarks
    in light of Catholic social teaching. I don’t want to tell anyone
    how to vote, but Romney’s remarks cut into the narrative that no one
    who votes for Obama can be a true Catholic. In fact, Romney was
    pro-choice before running for president, so what reason is there to
    assume that he just suddenly had a change of heart? If Romney doesn’t
    believe that poor pregnant mothers should receive prenatal care and give
    birth in a hospital, and that her child shouldn’t go without food and
    healthcare, how pro-life really is he? Did anyone see EWTN’s interview with Democrats for Life?

  • Howard

    What I would politely like to find out is if
    there’s any credible Catholic scholar who has defended Romney’s remarks
    in light of Catholic social teaching. I don’t want to tell anyone
    how to vote, but Romney’s remarks cut into the narrative that no one
    who votes for Obama can be a true Catholic. In fact, Romney was
    pro-choice before running for president, so what reason is there to
    assume that he just suddenly had a change of heart? If Romney doesn’t
    believe that poor pregnant mothers should receive prenatal care and give
    birth in a hospital, and that her child shouldn’t go without food and
    healthcare, how pro-life really is he?

    Is it fair to force mothers to keep their children while refusing to provide them any help?

  • Howard

    What I would politely like to find out is if
    there’s any credible Catholic scholar who has defended Romney’s remarks
    in light of Catholic social teaching. I don’t want to tell anyone
    how to vote, but Romney’s remarks cut into the narrative that no one
    who votes for Obama can be a true Catholic. In fact, Romney was
    pro-choice before running for president, so what reason is there to
    assume that he just suddenly had a change of heart? If Romney doesn’t
    believe that poor pregnant mothers should receive prenatal care and give
    birth in a hospital, and that her child shouldn’t go without food and
    healthcare, how pro-life really is he?

    Is it fair to force mothers to keep their children while refusing to provide them with any help once they’re born?

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