Liberals such as CNNâ€™s Jack Cafferty (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/16/cafferty-obama-race-a-factor/) and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (http://iowaindependent.com/5627/sebelius-obamas-race-may-be-a-factor) â€“ each of whom has leveled a charge of racism against anyone not voting for Sen. Barack Obama â€“ are not the only ones who have elevated the race card in the 2008 presidential election.
Several â€œblack conservativesâ€ â€“ despite polar political differences between themselves and Obama â€“ have considered voting for Obama because he is black. The list (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/06/14/black-conservatives-weigh-voting-for-obama/) includes former Oklahoma congressman J.C. Watts, â€œThe Cosby Showâ€ actor Joseph C. Phillips, and conservative commentator Armstrong Williams who in a recent Washington Times column all but volunteered his services as a campaign advisor for Obama. (Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell says he is presently uncertain about whom he will vote for.)
Emphasizing racial identification rather than moral consideration is especially remarkable coming from conservatives. Such behavior would be deafeningly decried as white racism if done in favor of a white candidate.
Words from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Kingâ€™s â€œI Have a Dreamâ€ speech comprise the modern sentiment against prejudice and discrimination, but it was God Himself who first taught against judgment based on external characteristics, of which skin pigmentation â€“ â€œraceâ€ â€“ is one.
In 1 Samuel 8 (NKJV), the nation of Israel rejected Godâ€™s theocratic leadership and asked the prophet-priest-judge Samuel to give them a human king so they could be â€œlike all the nationsâ€ around them.Â
God, omnisciently knowing what kind of leader the people wanted, selected Saul, whom the Bible twice describes according to his physical impressiveness.
In 1 Samuel 9:2, Saul is described as â€œa choice and handsome young man. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.â€ In 10:23, the future king is again similarly described: â€œSo they ran and brought [Saul] from [where he was hiding]; and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward.â€
Despite starting out well and some early military success, the stately Saul soon manifested an inward character that was incongruous with his outward impressiveness. Consequently, God removed him from the throne and sent Samuel on a search for Saulâ€™s successor.
But even Samuel himself was not immune to judgment based on biology. As the prophet went to the house of Jesse (father of the next king, David) in 1 Samuel 16, Samuel too became caught up in the human inclination to link outward characteristics with inward goodness.
Samuel assumed that the tall, handsome, and stately Eliab would be Godâ€™s choice to succeed Saul. But Godâ€™s instruction was clear in 1 Samuel 16:7: â€œBut the LORD said to Samuel, â€˜Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have [rejected] him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.â€™â€
Ultimately, God chose David, who â€“ although also described in 1 Samuel 16:12 as â€œruddy, with bright eyes, and good-lookingâ€ â€“ would possess the added distinction of being called (also twice) â€œa man after [Godâ€™s] own heartâ€ (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).
Physical features can sometimes correlate with moral goodness. The Bibleâ€™s Queen Esther is an example of a woman of extraordinary physical beauty but whose use by God was because of her Godliness â€“ for which her physical features were merely a vehicle to secure the attention of the Persian king.
But consider the apostle Paul, whom some church traditions hold was short, bald, bow-legged, and whose eyebrows met in the middle of his forehead. And Jesus Himself, about whom the prophet Isaiah declared concerning His physical appearance (Isaiah 53:2): â€œHe has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty [lit. â€œappearanceâ€] that we should desire Him.â€ The unparalleled accomplishments of such men were rooted not in innate biology, but in their Godly morality.
Barack Obamaâ€™s consistent liberal Democrat positions on a spectrum of issues are neither reflective of Biblical morality nor a political basis for any conservative alignment whatsoever with him.
James T. Harris, a Milwaukee radio talk show host, summed it up best when he said: â€œ[Barack Obama and I] are of the same generation. Heâ€™s African American, and Iâ€™m an American of African descent. We both have lovely wives and beautiful children. Other than that, weâ€™ve got nothing in common. I hope he loses every state.â€
To support Obama merely because of his race â€“ irrespective of fundamental ideological differences â€“ smacks of exactly what blacks fought and died for to escape from whites having the same prejudiced mentality. It weakens the credibility of those whose conservatism lasts only until it causes them to collide with a â€œbrothaâ€™,â€ even a diametrically polar one.
For those interested in a truly color blind society, content of character must trump the color of the skin.
Dr. Walter Jones is a trained physician, award-winning educator, Bible teacher, and former state and national pro-family public policy analyst. His Web site and blog can be found at www.thebibleandtheculture.com.