I want to extend my congratulations to Barack Obama, our new President-elect of the United States. Mr. Obama has made history as the first African-American president, as a candidate who energized unprecedented numbers of young people, and as a person who came to embody change at a troubled time.
I would like to suggest three areas in which his leadership is especially needed in the coming months. I hope Obama will make civility and reconciliation in the public arena a central focus and characteristic of his presidential leadership. In our increasingly fragile world, civility is needed in the conduct of our government, in our business and professional areas, as well as in our personal interactions. Obama can greatly encourage this by emphasizing unity and reconciliation, as he did so eloquently in his convention address in 2004 and most recently in his late-night acceptance speech before 240,000 people in Chicago’s Grant Park.
Second, I hope Obama continues to inspire young people with words as well as with actions. Few if any presidential candidates have been able to attract and connect with the younger generation the way Barack Obama has. We have all witnessed the throngs of youth crowding Obama’s speaking events across the country, and the numbers of young people who registered to vote.
Third, I hope Obama’s agenda will never lose sight of the issues which we Evangelicals call "gospel" values. These values know no political or geographical boundaries: family empowerment, caring for the poor and needy, stewardship of the environment, reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS, global economic development, urban development, and so on.
Regardless of our political views and votes, we Evangelicals can unite together in one very important action at this time of transition and change: We can all commit to praying faithfully for Barack Obama as he undertakes this daunting task of leadership. He, and we, need God’s guidance in our lives and our world.
Richard J. Mouw, President
Fuller Theological Seminary