Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Commander In Chief—Yes. Chief Principal—No

It is an extreme rarity that I include something on my blog with even a whiff of politics. God won my heart and soul years ago, so I am given to sharing the gospel of God's grace to us in Christ in as many ways as I can. Because of His grace to me, I cannot help it.

And while I am a patriot and a conservative, all too often the discussion of those personal attributes proves incendiary and counter-productive to the message of my life. I am fantastically opinionated and overwhelmingly passionate about God, which sometimes brews conflict and fiery debate amongst others. Although conflict is certainly not my goal, I don't shy away from it because I believe God and the gospel are worth a good discussion, even a fight.

Not surprisingly, I have lesser beliefs and lesser passions. I think college athletics are better than professional, and that USC is the best college. I think ale is better than lager or pilsner, red wine is better than white, mountains are slightly better than beaches (I sometimes waffle on that one), steak is better than chicken, rock ‘n roll is better than rap, blue is better than yellow, automobiles are meant to be fun and pleasurable, not appliances to get us from A to B, fly fishing develops character, ice cream and brownies should have nuts or something crunchy in them, and conservatism and capitalism give a people the best chance at freedom, progress and prosperity.

Oh. And I’m correct concerning all of the above. Right?

There are those who would argue with me about sports and beer and mountains vs. beaches, but the heat of those arguments would hardly be felt in comparison to the heat generated by political debate. I have discussed which college football team is better (USC vs. Ohio State = USC) while listening to pop music and enjoying a beer without much fire. But throw politics into the mix, and we’re soon experiencing our own version of climate change. Icy or hot, take your pick.

So it is with caution that I offer my opinion concerning President Obama’s address to the schools of America this coming Tuesday, September 8. I much prefer that my Ellen and Emma be learning about mathematics and Spanish and world history than listening to a political figure, no matter his message. Repeat: no matter his message.

There’s a reason beyond technological ability that no President has ever directly addressed our nations’ school population during class time: he was not elected to do it. While he is the Commander In Chief, he is not the Chief Principal, and has no business instructing or inspiring a captive child audience. To see that this is out-of-bounds one has only to wonder what would have happened if President George Bush had sought to instruct our nations’ school children in a similar manner eight years ago.

FYI, I would have been opposed to it. Next Tuesday, I will protest this President’s desire to access and instruct my children in an arena he should not be in.

I suspect there will be a loud outcry against the President’s plan to speak—it’s understandable. I, for one, will keep it as simple as I can so as to not add fuel to the fire. In my postings I won’t be addressing his plans for our country, I won’t be posting about those he is appointing as czars and officials, I won’t be writing about his politics. I have opinions—to be sure—but I’m keeping them subject to my greatest and most important opinion—Jesus Christ. Who He was, what He did, and what He is doing today. It’s incredibly fantastic news, and I get fired-up about it.

And that’s a fire I want to burn bright and hot.


  1. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Thumbs up, Ralph!

  2. Anonymous5:26 PM

    Ralph, I think you handled this beautifully. I too agree on many of the things that you wrote...with the exception of USC. This is going to be the Ducks year!
    David Borum

  3. Anonymous5:26 PM

    Very cool.
    Herb Sims

  4. Anonymous9:30 PM

    Hey Ralph!
    I have some rabid conservatives (obama is the anti-Christ) in church sprinkled with a few liberals among several those who are intentionally detached (Laurie). Sooo, I avoid politics altogether. Not enough words to waste talking other than Jesus. But it doesn't mean some of this is not just getting silly. I thought you shared some great perspectives in your blog. By the way...your blog is a great ministry to me. Thanks.

  5. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Ralph, Keep in mind, you are a tax paying adult that supports that public shool and you have the right and ability to dismiss your kids from school for the hour or day, as I intend to do if the 3 schools my kids attend, plan to televise his speech. If you are worried about the girls missing "education" there are so many free educational opportunities in this great state. The point to this... pick your battles, one person CAN change the mind of school adminstrators, but usually takes years in the court system.
    meant with love, Lisa