We often criticize the media, print and broadcast, due
to what we as Conservatives perceive as a very strong
bias against our views and for the Liberal positions. And
those criticisms are clearly justified – even admitted as
being true by the media themselves.

Now that the Iowa circus – ooops, caucus – is finally
over, a word of commendation is due the media, mostly
to the TV programs, network and cable, for making an
almost meaningless political event into an around the
clock, seemingly never ending spectacle. It is estimated
that something just short of $100 million advertising
dollars were spent to influence the opinions of the
participants in the caucus meetings.

We should have learned that polls are meaningless,
and perhaps never more so than last week in Iowa. Both
Democrats and Republicans saw all poll predictions
scrapped and new winners emerge. Obama, Edwards
and Clinton, in that order for the Democrats, and
Huckabee, Romney and Thompson for the Republicans.

The reaction of the media was as overwhelming as the
news coverage had been, as seen in these next day’s
news headlines: "Huckabee, Obama Win in Historic
Iowa Vote" ... "An Earthquake in the Midwest" ...
"Value Voters Win Big in Iowa" ... "Washington is
Reeling from Last Night’s Iowa Caucuses" ... "White
House a win away, says Barack Obama."

But just a minute. "Earthquake in the Midwest?" ...
"Historic Vote?" ... "Washington Reeling?" ..."White
House a win away?" Not really. This was not even a
Primary vote. It was just an expression of the opinion
of only 15% of Iowa’s eligible voters.

Here is a comment from overseas – Janet Daley,
writing in the London Telegraph on January 7, "It
has been hugely entertaining listening to jaundiced
BBC commentators trying to decide whether
American politics is quaintly naive or stirringly
robust." The British commentators do not describe
the results of the Iowa Caucuses in quite the glowing
terminology that the American media employs.

David Broder of The Washington Post, writing in an
editorial under the headline using the words: "Iowa’s
Unrepresentative Caucuses," seems to have described
the Iowa effort quite accurately. "Unrepresentative."

So the attention shifted to New Hampshire, with
more of the same round-the-clock saturation coverage
by the news media. The inevitable polls, right up to
yesterday’s actual voting, kept the races focused on
the Democrats: Obama, Clinton and Edwards, in that
order, and on the Republican side, McCain, Romney
and Huckabee, in that order.

And the polls were almost half right, which is about
as accurate as they ever are. On the Republican side
the polls predicted the outcome correctly: McCain,
Romney and Huckabee, in that order.

On the Democrat side, however, right up to almost
the time of casting the first vote, the polls predicted a
solid win for Barack Obama, and rumors were rampant
that Bill Clinton’s team was going to come in and take
over Hillary Clinton’s failing campaign. But as is so
often the case, the polls were wrong – Clinton won,
Obama was second, and Edwards a distant third.

But do not draw a hasty conclusion. This is only
January 9. The election is 10 months away. These
first two events are just blips on the radar screen of
the American election process. There are a series of
individual primary elections – New Hampshire was
only the first -- and then on February 5, the so-called
"Super Tuesday," 24 states will hold Primaries or
Caucuses, including the two largest states, California
and New York. It is very likely that the nominees will
be decided on that date, and then the longest election
campaign in this nation’s history will begin.

Money will pay an important part in this election, and
will be the major reason why some of the presently
remaining candidates may shortly drop out. Follow
the ongoing campaign here where thorough research
rather than following unreliable polls will interpret
important future news from an Evangelical viewpoint.

But beyond the effect of the almost unbelievable
expenditures for campaign advertising there should
be a serious consideration from a Christian viewpoint
as to which candidates most closely represent the
moral values we consider to be important in the final
choice of the next president of the United States.

That principle is important, as is this statement
from Abraham Lincoln at an earlier time when this
nation faced serious problems: "This nation can never
be conquered from without. If it is ever to fall it will
be from within."

Afterthoughts . . .

While our attention is focused on the election
here in America, let us never forget the persecuted
church elsewhere in the world. This quote from a
message from Voice of the Martyrs summarizes the
situation well: "The persecution of Christians around
the world is a tragic reality. Our brothers and sisters
are beaten and tortured simply for their faith in Jesus
Christ. And some pay the ultimate price." VOM now
lists 52 countries in the world which are characterized
either as a Restricted Nation or a Hostile Area. Those
countries run alphabetically from Afghanistan to
Yemen; 14 are rated as Hostile, with the remaining 38
enforcing Restrictions on Christians. In addition to
prayers for our nation during this election year, do not
neglect our fellow believers around the world who do
not have the freedom to worship which we take for
granted here in America.

A continuing issue for Conservatives which can
not be ignored. Dr. Joel C. Hunter, pastor of a unique
church in Central Florida whose 12,000 members meet
both as a regular congregation and on-line, has just
stepped down from his recent election as president of
the Christian Coalition of America. His reason for not
serving as president? The organization resisted his
efforts to broaden its agenda to include fighting AIDS,
reducing poverty, and supporting the concept of Global
Warming. His action helps focus attention on the
shift of many so-called Evangelical organizations in
placing those social needs ahead of the proclamation of
the Gospel. It does not have to be an "either-or" choice.
Our obeying the Great Commission of Jesus Christ will
result in a Christian army spiritually equipped to serve
the needs of our fellow men.
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