Mar 302015 3 Responses

It’s Not Racist to Disagree with the President

Disagreeing with America’s first black President is not racism; it’s democracy. One of the great joys of America is the ability to passionately vocalize one’s opposition to our country’s leader.

Social media makes this freedom even more powerful. Our voices aren’t just heard by those in our houses or offices. They are also heard by anyone who follows us on Twitter or friends us on Facebook.

It’s a privilege to disagree with power and most Americans are good at seizing that privilege.

Yet we are naive if we think all disagreement with President Obama is simply American politics. Much of it is racism.

The difficulty is that it’s not always easy to tell the two apart. (See: Why I Discourage Christians From Politics)

I can’t imagine being a person of color in America. How do you know if you didn’t get a promotion because of a boss’ choice or because of their bias? How do you know if a police officer pulled you over because of legal suspicion or illegal profiling? How can you tell if someone doesn’t like you because of you or if they do not like you because of your heritage?

My guess is that individual situations are difficult to predict, but a series of situations become much more obvious.

In the last fifty years, America’s race problem has greatly improved. My six-year-old assumes the next President has to be black. (How great is that? He knows nothing other than a black President.)

However, a negative consequence of America’s improvement is that racism is still present, but it is more hidden. Instead of the hate being expressed in overt signs of prejudice, it makes itself known in subtle ways which are easily denied or ignored.

Doubt this? (See: Jesus Isn’t as Conservative or Liberal as You Think)


Most of my white friends believe racism is not a major issue.

Every one of my black friends (EVERY SINGLE ONE) believe it is still a prevalent issue.

Racism is still a problem.

While many people disagree with the President’s policies, many other dislike his skin color. They may cloak their disagreement in politics, but it’s actually a long-held bias.

Democracy looks like this: (See: The Number One Rule of Disagreement)

I disagree with issue X.

I believe he is wrong because of Y.

I think he is failing to understand Z.

Racism looks like this:

He isn’t American.

He is Muslim.

He isn’t like us.

He doesn’t love his country like the rest of us.

He didn’t grow up like we did.

Notice the difference. Democracy says he is wrong about the issues; racism says something is different about him.

It is not racism to dislike the President. Most politicians are disliked by people. But it is racism to make President Obama out to be someone who is different or “other.” (See: Why We Can’t Say Racism Is a Thing of the Past)

Questioning the President’s faith might be the best example. While the President claims to be a Christian, many have assumed he is Muslim. Of course we can all disagree over what is or what isn’t a Christian. Doubting the sincerity of a politician’s faith isn’t just an American pastime, it’s probably a wise course of action.

However, calling the President Muslim is a different tactic. The faith of every President of my lifetime has been questioned, but I can’t imagine accusing a white man of being Muslim. And even the label of “Muslim” is not meant as a description of most Muslims of America—peaceful, kind people who worship differently than I do. The label is meant that he is a radical—a terrorist.

Forget the fact that he tops the list of those ISIS would like to assassinate.

Forget the fact that a Muslim could never find it acceptable to pretend to be a Christian.

Forget the fact that President Obama has ordered the death of many Muslims through military strikes and drones.

Instead, some simply say “he is one of them” and cannot fathom a different scenario.

It is racism. (See: What a White Man Knows About Racism)

Here is a simple test to see if disagreement is one of policy or one of racism:

When disagreeing with a politician of a different race, find another politician who holds the same view as your opponent but looks more like you.

Do you attack them with the same venom with which you attack the politician of a different skin color?

Do you think Joe Biden is a Muslim?

Do you believe Nancy Pelosi hates America?

Do you say Hillary Clinton isn’t like us?

As a conservative, evangelical pastor, it is probably no surprise that I disagree with the President on many issues (maybe on nearly every issue that receives media attention). Yet I do not think he is evil, un-American, or unlike me. I simply think he is wrong.

It’s okay to think the President is wrong, just make sure you disagree over his politics and not his skin color.

3 Responses to It’s Not Racist to Disagree with the President

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.