Analyzing the State of the Union. We are not stronger. We are facing implosion. And the President barely mentioned Israel, Iran, Syria or missile defense. What message does this send to tyrants?

SOTU-2013Last night, as somone who cares deeply about the future of our great country, I sat down with my wife and watched the State of the Union address.

Given the enormity of challenges America faces domestically and internationally, I pray for this President. Every day, my family and I ask the Lord to give wisdom to him and his advisors and to Congress to handle the severe threats we face. We’re commanded to do it, but we also want to do it. The Apostle Paul wrote, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

When I see this President take wise action on a range of different issues, I am grateful. He’s done a good job defending us from Radical Islamic terrorism. He took bold action to take out Osama bin Laden. He didn’t precipitously pull U.S. forces out of Iraq upon taking office as he had promised to do in the 2008 election, but gave them time to accomplish more, and they are out now. He supported a surge in Afghanistan. His relationship with Israeli leaders has been rocky at best and often frustrating, but he’s been right to fund the Iron Dome system. He was also right to oppose unilateral action by the Palestinians to create a state rather than have a negotiated peace agreement with Israel.  He’s set a good moral example as a husband and father in the White House. There were things he said last night (in defense of fathers and families, and on behalf of our military, and children struggling to get ahead, for example) that I appreciate very much.

When I see the President take unwise action on a range of other important issues, however, I am concerned, and I have to say I was deeply disappointed with last night’s speech.

“We can say with renewed confidence that the State of our Union is stronger,” the President declared in his opening remarks. [Read full text here]

Can we really? Is that accurate?

LIFE: How strong can our nation be when we have aborted more than 54 million children since 1973? Unless something changes soon, we will soon have killed 60 million children. Think about that number. That would be ten times the number of Jews that the Nazis killed during the Holocaust. We know the judgment God brought on Germany. Do we really expect God to do less to us unless we repent? The President spoke of being focused on “saving the world’s children from preventable deaths.” Isn’t abortion preventable? How much longer will Washington ignore this genocide and do nothing to stop it? I am disappointed the President isn’t committed to creating a culture of life and to helping us end this evil scourge of infanticade. I love this country, which is why I must speak out on this great moral issue of our time. I fear for our future if we don’t wake up and reverse course.

SPENDING & DEBT: “Ask not what your country will do for you. Ask why it spends and borrows so much to do it.” That’s what I wanted to hear addressed during the State of the Union address last night. It did not happen. President Obama did not provide a comprehensive and detailed plan to end annual deficits of $1 trillion and more. Why not?

The President did not lay out a plan to start paying down a $16 trillion national debt. Why not? The President did not lay out a serious plan to save and improve Medicare and other entitlement programs that will bankrupt our country unless they are fixed wisely and soon. Why not? Instead, the President proposed billions of dollars of new spending. He said these would be fully paid for, but with such an enormous deficit, I can no longer take such pronouncements seriously.

SYRIA: Meanwhile, beyond our shores, there are regimes out there (like Assad’s government in Syria) that are committing genocide. The death toll in Syria has now reached some 70,000 people. Yet the President barely mentioned the implosion of that country. He never mentioned Syria’s alliance with Iran. Nor did he mention the chemical and biological weapons Syria has and could potentially use against its own population, or give to terrorists, or lose control of, or use against Israel. Why not?

IRAN: There are other regimes out there (like the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad government in Iran) that is planning genocide, threatening to wipe Israel “off the map” and create a world without Israel or the United States. Iran continues to accelerate its bid for nuclear weapons. It could achieve break-out capacity this year. Israel is actively considering launching a massive preemptive military strike. The White House is pressuring the Netanyahu government not to do it. Iran could become the biggest issue in the President’s second term. It could provoke the most horrific war in the modern history of the Middle East. Yet all the President said last night on the subject was this:”The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.” That’s it? No new plan to decisively neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat before it’s too late? No new thinking whatsoever on such a vital issue? Why not?

ISRAEL: The State of Israel — our most faithful and important ally in the volatile Middle East — merited no more mention than Yemen or Mali or Somalia. Why not? Yes, the President is heading there next month. But don’t the American people deserve a preview of how the President intends to handle this important relationship? Don’t America’s enemies, and Israel’s, need to hear a full-throated defense of our ally in the President’s most important annual address?

MISSILE DEFENSE: There are still other regimes out there (like the one in North Korea) that are testing nuclear warheads and the ballistic missiles to deliver them. Yet the President did not propose a sweeping new plan to provide robust missile defense for the American people. He barely even mentioned the issue. Why not?

The challenges America faces domestically and internationally are real and serious and urgent. We need leaders who understand the times and know what America must do. We need leaders who realize that if we do not make fundamental, sweeping changes soon, we face not just decline, but implosion. Where are those leaders? Time is growing short.

>> The President’s going to Israel this year — so is the Secretary of State — how about you? Come with me and The Joshua Fund on a “Prayer & Vision Trip” to the Holy Land and to the 2013 Epicenter Conference this summer. For more details, and/or to register, please click here.

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