The audience’s reaction to Jamie Foxx’s recent Soul Train Award dedication illustrates a dangerous trend among America’s populace. To loud applause, the actor thanked “God and his Lord and Savior Barack Obama … (more cheering, so he repeated again) … Barack Obama!”
Leaving aside the tasteless nature of the actor’s remarks, the overwhelmingly positive reaction of the crowd demonstrates a peculiar and slavish adoration of the president that is becoming commonplace among the political left. This month, a painting depicting Obama as the crucified messiah is on display in a college art gallery in Boston.
There is something patently un-American about politician worship. I state that with confidence because our Founders went so far as to expressly forbid in the Constitution that any “title of nobility shall be granted by the United States.” We are neither North Koreans brainwashed into ascribing deity to our Dear Leader nor are we Stalin-era Soviets faking subservience to avoid being sent to the Gulag as enemies of the state.
Americans are supposed to be sovereign citizens, not subjects. Our government of the people, by the people, and for the people serves the citizens, and not vice versa. Unlike Deity, it derives its just powers from the consent of the governed and requires that we remain vigilant to prevent it from becoming our tyrant. Those who worship their leaders become blind to their faults and ultimately will be reluctant to hold their politicians accountable to the very law they have sworn to uphold.
Elections, like our last one, are usually a choice between the lesser of two evils (in this case a charismatic socialist versus a flip-flopping capitalist). The best we can hope to elect will still be all-too-human representatives of ourselves, hampered by the same failings that plague the rest of mankind. Unfortunately, the oath of office will not change their fallen human nature.
I voted for George W. Bush twice, but never had any delusions that he was a messiah. He did inspire me from the rubble of Ground Zero, but I was routinely disappointed by his unwillingness to restrain his own Republican Congress from racking up debt. In the end he seemed like a genuinely nice guy who was committed to waging war on external threats to our security but unable to tackle the existential financial threats from within.
Even the greatest leaders of the past century like Churchill, Reagan, or Thatcher were unworthy of worship, and today’s leaders are no different. I might admire the courage of a Benjamin Netanyahu standing tall in the face of overwhelming opposition, but adoration is out of the question.
Worship is every bit as dangerous to the politician receiving it as it is to those who offer the praise. Back in the first century, King Herod once gave an oration that so impressed a huge crowd that they repeatedly shouted, “This is the voice of a god and not of a man!” The Bible states that immediately he was struck dead by an angel of God and died because he accepted the worship of men rather than giving glory to the Creator.
There is one Lord and Savior, but he doesn’t live in the White House. And His first two commandments make it very clear that He will not share the altar with anyone.
Craig Ziemba is a pilot who lives in Meridian. His newest book, A Lily in the Harem, will be released this winter.