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November 5, 2008

Obama Election Heals Memories from 1976

In the fall of 1976, I was in the sixth grade in Shreveport, Louisiana, at Claiborne Elementary, a school that had an all-white student population just three years before. By the mid-1970s, the enrollment was half-black.

In that fall’s presidential election, President Ford was running against Jimmy Carter. Our teacher, Mr. Stewart, asked his sixth-graders to write what we thought should be the qualifications to be president of the United States. I wrote something and waited for everybody else to finish.

Sitting at the desk next to me was a black kid. I happened to glance at his paper. He wrote that the president of the United States should be white.

Blacks and whites didn't mix at my school or in my neighborhood except in fighting and insulting each other. Claiborne Elementary wasn’t Shreveport’s only angry place. Shreveport was in the throes of busing and desegregation, and the animosity spilled into the city’s churches. In a large white Baptist congregation not far from my neighborhood, one Sunday morning deacons escorted from the sanctuary some black Christians who had come to worship.

But even as an 11-year-old white girl in this Deep South environment steeped in racism, this black boy’s answer deeply troubled me. Why did he believe the country’s president had to be white?

On November 4, 2008, the world saw that the president doesn't have to be. (In now predominantly black Shreveport, change had come one year before the 2008 general election. On November 7, 2007, my Caddo Parish Magnet High School classmate Cedric Glover became the city’s first black mayor.)

Maybe you're like a lot of white evangelicals who didn't vote for President-elect Obama. That's fine because Senator McCain is still going to be a force to contend with in the US Senate.

But for me, this election has begun to heal some memories and, for all of us, it changes the possibilities.

Comments

I appreciate your positive feelings but I don't understand how any Christian can look at this election as anything but sad. I am sad for the millions of babies (of all races but disproportionately black) that will die thanks to Obama's support for pro-abortion policies. He is no friend of the unborn and the judges he will appoint will ensure that the unborn continue to be slaughtered at will.

Please don't infer that this is a "white" thing as you suggest ("maybe you are like a lot of white evangelicals") this is a human thing and humanity took a hit on Tuesday.

Amen.

Just curious...why is it that if I , being a "white evangelical" did not vote for Obama that it must be because of racial predjudices rather than the possibility that I don't feel he is qualified to be president regardless of his "color"? Pesonally, I don't care what ethnic background an invidual has. Ethnicity or gender does not qualify/disqualify anyone for any position of leadership. In my opinion character, integrity, experience etc. are more important qualifiers. I don't think that this is a "white evangelical" view.

"A man should not be judged by the color of his skin but by the content of his character." Obama didn't pass the character test so I passed on voting for him. I have a difficult time understanding why a Christian would vote for someone who will encourage abortion and gay marriage. A child's life is much more important than the economy or health care. Obama will do a great deal of damage to our country.

That is a powerful story, thanks for sharing it. I heard from a black friend who is a college student on Wednesday. Although he didn't vote for Obama, on Wednesday morning he said he felt like he had won something. Indeed he had.

Beautifully said, Deann.

Yeah...Obama going to be healing those unborn babies too...and promoting gay marriage...Wow...great healing!

Seriously, where is CT finding these people to write articles?? This sounds more like it should be in the liberal NY Times instead of an alleged Christian magazine???

I voted for Sen. McCain primarily because of the issues and my belief in less federal government interference in our lives, as well as his stand on energy and right to life.

President-elect Obama is a great historic choice, and God's choice for this era in our lives as Americans. God is in control and there is no king, etc. in power except that God allowed him to be there! I will keep him in my prayers as the leader of our nation and wish him great success. I think he instills a new sense of dignity and pride in the black citizens of our country and a new role model for black men.

We as followers of Christ don't have to fear. Romans 8:31 tells us, if Christ is for us, who can be against us. Also, God DOES care and always will. Matthew 5:45 tells us that He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and that He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Dear Nobody,

I can see that you're having a crisis of faith. Please remember that every breath you take is a gift from the Lord.

The democrats pulled out all the stops this time and unfortunately came away big winners. Obama's team and the liberal media knew what it would take to win. Hopefully, next four years will show those Americans willing to think for themselves that appearances can be deceiving and that actions speak louder than words.

We are servants of the Almighty God, the heirs of a 6,000 year legacy. Our path has been bumpy before and we are prone to losing our way. But our holy word tells us to be courageous and that our Father will never abandon us. No President-Elect, world leader or government office can undo what God wills done. Take heart and get some rest. Matthew tells us that the rain falls on the just as the unjust but the sun rises over us all.

It is sad that anyone would think that an Obama Presidency is the END of the world. I trust in God not the Church. I don't believe in a God that only helps the right inner circle. I believe in a God that is greater than any election. I believe in a God that is full of grace and truth. I believe in a God who heals physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. Although I did not vote for President-Elect Obama, I thank God for the racial reconciliation his election has given our country. Now that he is our elected leader and we may agree or disagree with his policies, scripture directs us to pray for him. And pray for him I will.

Our new President-Elect will need our prayers, everyday. Just as we have done for President Bush, we must pray and it is our duty to pray for "Our Leaders".
Have a blessed day everyone

I can hardly believe that anyone sees this election as the end of the world. I didn't vote for Senator, now President-elect Obama. This doesn't mean that I can't pray for him; and the country that he will lead in a couple of months.

My trust is in the God of Scripture who came to a much more horrible political situation than we will be in under an Obama White House.

My prayer for those who are in despair is that they will be touched by the real Biblical Jesus. rg

The first post is scary. Please America pray against Christian Idiots who like this guy who believed J.F.K, Martin Luther King, Ronald Regan and now Barack Obama are enemies of America. John Hickley thought he heard from God, but, he actually heard from a Satan....To the man or woman in the first post you need Counseling Now...don't allow the enemy to speak lies into your mind....God chose Barack, so celebrate it and move on.....And get rid of your gun..And to all the fooooolish pastors stop spewing lies and hatred; believe it or not you are being used by Satan.

This election is only historical for those stuck in the civil rights movment, on both sides. It's only "historical" for other minorities is maybe breaking the barrier, which Sarah Palin would have done for them. Most immigrants just want opportunity, not reparations. Opportunity is what America is about. We live in Interesting times!

I do agree that we need to pray for our President, but I wouldn't yet celebrate him nor condemn until I see what policies he implements. I am sure there will be some I applaud and some I am discouraged by personally. But as far as what God's purpose for him is, I am not sure. Perhaps God has him as a healer for the nation as some have proclaimed, or perhaps he is going to take our country more quickly to that one world government. Key supporters of this idea see America with its liberties based in its Godly heritage as an obstacle. God's will shall be done, but I am not one to say what it is at this point. It would have been nice though to see folks give and make such conciliatory messages for President Bush rather than the vitriol his opponents heaped upon him with very few speaking out against that behavior.