Be Not Afraid

By Jim Wallis 10-30-2008

In the final days of this election campaign, a new message has emerged. For the entire political year, the overriding theme has been change-with each candidate competing to be the real champion for a new direction. With 80 percent of Americans unhappy with our country's current direction, it seemed that no other theme could break through.

A new message has, and it is this: "Be Afraid- Be Very Afraid." Most of that fear is directed at Barack Obama, the leading candidate with just days to go before November 4. Instead of being content to offer a competing policy vision to Obama's, the Right has now focused on the man himself in an attempt to stir the fears of the electorate that "he" is not really like "them." "Do we really know who Barack Obama is?" has been the refrain of partisan peddlers. A parallel and ugly national innuendo campaign stokes the fear. Is he a Muslim? An Arab? A pal of terrorists? Or maybe even a closet Socialist? Where did he grow up? Why such a funny middle name? Doesn't his support come from those parts of the country (and those people) that deep down inside are anti-American? And, of course, what has quickly become a campaign classic-guilt by association.

The fact that Barack Obama is the first black nominee of a major party for president gives all the fear a decidedly racial undertone. YouTube has quickly become populated with video after video of the dark underbelly of American fear and racism. The innuendos and rumors have brought to the surface latent fears and thinly veiled biases that many had hoped were gone from our country. The message of fear is the same: Obama may look okay on the surface, but we don't know what might lie beneath.

Regardless of whether one favors Obama or McCain, this development should be of concern to all Americans, and especially people of faith. There is now a new spiritual dimension to this election, and it is decidedly evil. Christians believe that "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear

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