President Barack Obama’s re-election is receiving diverse reactions both domestically and from around the world from prominent Christians. Mr. Obama won key swing states, receiving 303 electoral votes to 206 for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Obama also narrowly won the popular vote.
However, roughly 10 million fewer people voted for Barack Obama’s re-election than voted for him four years ago. While Obama received the votes of approximately half of the 2012 electorate, an exit poll found that more than half of those surveyed still feel that the America he led for the past four years is headed in the wrong direction.
Some conclude his dwindled support indicates that the 2012 election was far from a mandate for the Obama administration’s second term.
“I have a very heavy heart right now, knowing that what we believe in was not in line with enough of our fellow citizens on election night,” said Hughey Newsome of the Project 21 black leadership network. “Some believe that a second Obama term will be the end of the country as we know it. Let me offer this: Our country has always depended on people that put cause ahead of self to become the great nation that it is and will continue to be.”
Early in the primary season, noted evangelical leaders criticized Romney’s Mormon faith, warning Christian voters not to support the former Massachusetts governor. First Baptist Church of Dallas senior pastor Robert Jeffress called Mormonism a “cult.” When Romney secured the GOP nomination, however, Jeffress implored Christians to vote for Romney to prevent the nation from going over a “moral cliff.”
Romney eventually met with respected evangelist Billy Graham. The day following their meeting, the Billy Graham Association removed Mormonism from its list of cults on its website. Despite the on-again, off-again support, reports indicate Christians didn’t stay at home.
Exit polling released through CNN revealed Protestant Christians (including evangelicals and mainliners of all races), who made up 53 percent of the electorate, voted 42 percent for President Obama and 57 percent for Gov. Romney. Catholics represented 25 percent of the electorate, voting 50 percent for Obama and 48 percent for Romney.
A second national poll of those who cast ballots Tuesday, commissioned by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, reports that white evangelicals voted approximately 78 percent for Romney compared to 21 percent for Obama. Romney’s performance among evangelicals represented a net increase of 10 percent over John McCain’s presidential race in 2008. It also reports that voter turnout for white evangelicals composed 27 percent of the vote.
Catholic voters who regularly attend Mass broke 67 percent for Romney to 32 percent for Obama, representing a swing of 35 percent in the direction of the GOP since 2008. Romney also won white Catholics by a margin of 59 percent to 40 percent. Obama narrowly won the Catholic vote driven largely by over performing among Hispanic Catholics.
“Whatever the reasons for the election’s final result, it seemingly was not due to lack of active concern from tens of millions of evangelicals and traditional Catholics,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
Tooley also maintains despite hopes for liberal inroads among church groups, especially evangelicals, it appears that evangelicals and traditional Catholics voted strongly along conservative lines.
“Undoubtedly they were motivated at least partly by issues such as marriage, abortion and religious freedom, especially the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate on religious groups,” said Tooley.
According to Israel Today magazine, many Israeli officials expressed disappointment with Obama’s re-election. Deputy Knesset speaker Danny Danon, a rising start in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, offered his congratulations to Obama, but said it was important to remember the incumbent American president had not been good to Israel during his first term.
"It is my hope, and that of many Israelis, that the president resets his course relating to Israel and our region for the next four years," Danon said. "Rather than dictating ill-advised policies that endanger the well-being of America's only true ally in the Middle East, now is the time for President Obama to return to the wise and time-honored policy of 'zero daylight' between our respective nations."
Social media outlets like Twitter were lit up with chatter about the election.
Former Saturday Night Live star Victoria Jackson tweeted that “America had died” and that she “couldn’t stop crying.” She also expressed anger at the Christian community’s lack of involvement during the election: “Thanks a lot Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me.”
Donald Trump, American business entrepreneur, author and television personality, launched his own post-election tirade.
“Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble... like never before,” tweeted Trump.
“We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided,” said in another tweet.
Max Lucado, author and preacher at Oak Hills Church, tweeted: “Lord, may you bless the Romney family with strength and President Obama with skill. Unite. Strengthen. Appoint and anoint. Amen.”
Dallas pastor Dr. Freddy Haynes tweeted: “Brilliant and moving acceptance speech. Now WE must walk it like he talked it! This is no time to rest. WE have work to do!”
But Nashville-based Christian recording artist Regie Hamm expressed his frustration a different way. On his Facebook page, in a post entitled "7 in 10 Hispanics and 9 in 10 Blacks voted for Obama," he wrote:
Dear Great GrandPa:
The world I (your great grandson) live in is diverse and open to so many things, but your legacy still reverberates. Because of you, black people voted almost unanimously to re-elect a man that has given 14.5 percent unemployment to their community. Because of you, every time a black person hears the phrase "take our country back" they think it refers to going back to a world where you control the power structure. Because of you, when people criticize this president harshly, they are labeled "racists" and are dismissed out of hand.
Because of you, it may be impossible for this country to ever really judge a person on the content of their character. Because of you, an entire section of this country thinks only someone who looks like them will understand them and work with their interests in mind. Because of you, a president who should've been voted out of office handily was swept back into power. Why? Because women, young people and minorities still believe people who look like me are only going to take advantage of them and keep them down. Because of you, this is all still a confusing caldron we can't cool and an honest conversation we can't have.
Great grandpa, I don't hate you. If I hated you I would be lowering myself to your level. I just thought you should know that trying to keep an entire race of people down had the exact opposite effect.”
Call to Prayer
While many Christian leaders reported to be greatly concerned about President Obama’s re-election, most are consistent in their call to pray.
“I call upon all elected leaders to seek to lead us in ways that will restore both moral and economic health in our nation. I call upon all Christians and other people of faith to heed the biblical admonition to pray for all those in authority and to communicate their concerns to their elected representatives,” said Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Russ Jones is a 25-year award-winning journalist and correspondent. He is co-publisher of various Christian news sites such as ChristianPress.com, OxfordFamily.com and a media consultant to a number of political and cause-oriented campaigns. He is also a freelance correspondent for the American Family Radio Network, a regular contributor for ReligionToday.com, Crosswalk.com and various Christian TV networks. He has been a guest on such programs as the Mike Gallagher Show, the Dennis Prager Show and Sandy Rios in the Morning. Jones holds degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and St. Paul School of Theology. Russ is married to Jackie and together they have four children. He may be reached at [email protected] or Facebook.com/russjones.
Publication date: November 8, 2012