Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
“I know that when things don’t go well they like to blame the Presidents, and that is one of the things which Presidents are paid for.” (John F. Kennedy)
According to the Gallup Poll, President Barack Obama’s job approval rating reached its high point (67%) in January 2009, and its low point (38%) September 2nd 2014. His most recent weekly average (September 15-21) was 43%.
Gallup historical comparisons indicate the average for U.S. presidents between 1938-2014 was 53%. Other presidents in the second September after re-election had the following ratings: George W. Bush (42%), Bill Clinton (64%), Ronald Reagan (62%), Lyndon Johnson (46%), Dwight Eisenhower (56%), Harry Truman (35%).
We can only imagine the weight of the burdens our president carries on his shoulders, and the intensity of the decision-making responsibilities he experiences in his mind. Degrading and destroying ISIS in order to protect America has become one of his top priorities, and may bring him nightmares. Concerns about continuing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria occupy his days. Halting the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, building a coalition to combat radical terrorist groups, addressing worrisome national economic issues, and a thousand other problems constantly demand his attention. Dwight Eisenhower remarked, “no easy problems ever come to the President of the United States; if they are easy to solve, somebody else has solved them.”
In an interview on last night’s CBS “60 Minutes”, President Obama acknowledged that he had underestimated the strength of ISIS and overestimated the fighting ability of Iraqi troops. He will take flak for that, just like he did for stating a couple of weeks ago that he did not have a strategy for fighting ISIS (which he obviously quickly remedied).
How can the President possibly please all the people of America? Obviously, he cannot. Human approval is as changeable as the weather. Approval ratings are a roller-coaster, volatile as the Stock Market. Adlai Stevenson said, “You know how it is in an election year; they pick a president and then for four years they pick on him.”
We may not always approve of our president, but it is not appropriate to be disrespectful. Scripture reminds us that all governing authority comes from God, that those in positions of authority have been providentially placed, and to rebel against authority is tantamount to rebelling against God (Romans 13:1-2).
We may not always approve of our president, but we should not be dismissive because we didn’t vote for him. We may not like his policies, but he is still President.
We may not always approve of our president, but we should not make derogatory remarks about him.
However we rate our president, we should pray for him—that he would seek to please God, not be driven by political ambition (Colossians 3:23); that he would seek divine wisdom to govern properly, knowing and doing what is right (1 Kings 3:7-9); that he would govern with integrity whatever the approval ratings; that God would protect him and his family from all harm; that he would be strengthened by grace to persevere in his role as the leader of this nation where we are privileged to breathe deeply the sweet air of freedom.
“Pray this way (ask God to help him, intercede on his behalf, give thanks for him) for all who are in authority so we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT)
Johnny R. Almond
Christian preacher and writer
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity