What One Leader From Each The Political & Religious World Would You Trust During A Global Catastrophe?

Os Guinness once posed this question to a small group of six artists (me included) gathered in Franklin, TN at Porter’s Call for conversation.

The group contained a world renowned artist that counts President Bush and his family as intimate friends and another artist who is extremely close to Billy Graham and his family. So it seemed appropriate this conversation take place, especially after the tragedy of 9/11 still playing on repeat and haunting our memories…and our future.

The most intriguing aspect of the candid and private conversation was although a couple of religious leaders emerged after a lengthy discussion, there emerged no political figure that the cohort as a whole would trust to lead us through a global catastrophe.

The conversation soon turned to the question—Why is there such a dearth of trustworthy leaders in both religious and political fields?

Where are our religious and political leaders?

Where are men and women such as George Washington, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Phillis Wheatley, Martin Luther King and Billy Graham?

Why do we not have heroes any longer?

Could it be that the incessant leveling of the playing field, i.e., could this celebration and rewarding of mediocrity finally have caught up with our country?

Could the educational and governmental penalization of ambition, success and free enterprise have finally assassinated, exiled or laid to rest the great and mighty among us?

In the immortal and imperative words of Ayn Rand in her epic work Atlas Shrugged:

“Who is John Galt?”

So I ask YOU…

What One Leader From Each The Political & Religious World Would You Trust During A Global Catastrophe?

43 Responses to “What One Leader From Each The Political & Religious World Would You Trust During A Global Catastrophe?”

  1. Great question! I wonder if we were to have the benefit of 30-50 years later we might have a better view of who our true leaders were during our days. Time has a good way of revealing that.

    I would answer with political: Ronald Reagan religious: Wesley

  2. Francis Chan and MAYBE Ron Paul

  3. George W. and Billy Graham.

    • @Clay, I’m afraid Rev. Graham may be too old now. What do you think?

      • @Randy Elrod, he may be, although I keep hearing accounts of him visiting with people at his home. Otherwise, I would go with Johnny Hunt. He’s not the most famous, but one of the most gracious and trustworthy leaders I know of. Also, he’s got a little bit of fire to him, which isn’t always a bad thing.

  4. Since you asked LIVING TODAY I would say George W. Bush and Franklin Graham. Those two men have my utmost respect but it’s very slim pickings. I do believe Franklin would seek council from his father and siblings.

  5. I think i resonate with Matt Chandler on a lot of things, even though he is young, and he understands turmoil and catastrophe as he is going through cancer.

    As far as a politician, i really don’t trust or like ANY politicians. I really have typed and erased 15 names and can’t in good conscience say i would trust any American to lead. I would have to say Nelson Mandela, although i’m not truly confident in that decision either.

    • @Chuck Harris, I know, however, Nelson Mandela is not American, is he? I suppose you are thinking Global…

      • @Randy Elrod, yes, my statement was that i don’t think any Americans are qualified to lead in a global crisis, so i would go with Nelson Mandela. I went back and read it and it didn’t make sense. We then however with a global leader open ourselves up to the possiblities of a one world government.

        American politics is hard for me because i just can’t pick a party. too many shades of gray for me. it’s not donkey or elephant, and in America unfortunately those are the only “viable”choices. tow the party line is not something i’m interested in and there are things about both that i detest. it’s a shame that politics has become a career. it was intended that these men and women be statesmen and then return to the regular life after “serving”. then they got greedy and voted themselves into ad nauseum.

  6. i wonder if the great heroes of the past were seen as heroes by their contemporaries, or does time render their deeds great?

    • @Chuck Harris, Great question. I certainly think George Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr. would fit that bill. You?

      • @Randy Elrod, i would say yes. most war heroes i.e. Washington, Andrew Jackson, Dwight Eisenhower were elected on their heroic status. their military prowess proved their leadership. MLK stands in a class all his own. i think people are skeptical of the hero today. our “heroes” are those who speak to us, (musicians, athletes, actors) not those who do heroic things. the idea of the hero is almost mystical and imaginary. it’s why my children want to be Spiderman and Ironman for Halloween rather than Davey Crockett or Robin Hood like I wanted to be. the hero has become imagined rather than a reality.

  7. President Obama – a true leader with vision – and global influence – also Jimmy Carter – who has proven to be a selfless champion for people all over the world.

  8. I tend to trust both because they don’t seem terribly concerned with popular opinion, take risks based on what they believe, and appear to be individuals of deep conviction. I admire and respect that immensely.

  9. I have three picks for myself the following.

    Condoleezza Rice
    Tom Ridge.
    T.D Jakes.

  10. Your thoughts that maybe our “leveling of the playing field” has caught up with us might have some truth to it … but I’m really thinking that time has a way of making great people into heros. I don’t know, but I assume that not everyone living when George Washington and Martin Luther King did would have called them heros at that time. Guess we need to ask some historians about that.

    As for a political leader I’d trust … it has to be someone that can lead and that also has the power/authority to do something, so in that sense I would say Obama (I think he might lead better in a crisis than in daily leadership issues)

    For a religious leader, in the Christian world, I’d go with Phillip Yancey (though I doubt that all Christians would rally around him, then again there is no one on planet earth that all Christians would rally around!) But Yancey is wise and recently he’s been traveling all over the world, so he’d have more of a global perspective than some other Christian leaders.

    And I’m not sure there is a religious leader that could lead all religions through a crisis because religions are too divided right now. Gosh, I wish there was one … someone that is peace loving and that allows people to be themselves in whatever religion works for them … hmm, have to think about that for awhile.

    • @Janet Oberholtzer, Great thoughts, Janet.

      According to historians (I am an avid reader of history) both Gorge Washington and Martin Luther King were considered heroes during their lives.

      For me, It’s sort of that “Why take flowers to people when they are dead?” Why not celebrate heroes while they are alive?

      Harold Bloom in his book Genius articulates well the level playing field rendered by politics and education.

      I am an acquaintance of Yancey and would agree he would be a very wise leader.

      I also agree that it will be almost impossible to find one religious leader to rally around.

      Also, your thought is very intriguing that President Obama would be a better leader in crisis than in daily issues.

      You have made my mind spin in a very good way. Thanks again!

  11. Pol: Ron Paul
    Rel: Tony Campolo

  12. without question Benjamin Franklin.

    In his Autobiography it charts young Ben’s rise as the youngest boy of seventeen children, with less than 2 years formal education, who at the age of 10 years old began working in his father’s business cutting lengths of wax for candles. He ‘ran away’ from home at 17 years old with just a few cents in his pocket and his precious books, on which he spent most of his free time and money. Franklin showed amazing resilience to overcome many obstacles, and later became one of the founding fathers of America (as a co-drafter of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution). He was a diplomat, also said by many to be the foremost scientist of his day. John Adams wrote that Franklin’s reputation was: “more universal than that of Newton.” A remarkable financier and business manager, a leading newspaper and magazine publisher, an author whose work has a fixed place among the higher classics, a philosopher who ranked alongside Voltaire and Leibnitz, as Kant articulated it: “the Prometheus of modern days.”

    Franklin put his achievements down to:

    “Industry, temperance, and frugality which lead by gradual but sure steps to the attainment of wealth and happiness.”

    In the introduction to the 1912 edition of his Autobiography Frank Woodworth Pine writes: “He is undoubtedly, in the versatility of his genius and achievements, the greatest of our self-made men. The simple yet graphic story in the Autobiography of his steady rise from humble boyhood in a tallow-chandler shop, by industry, economy, and perseverance in self-improvement, to eminence, is the most remarkable of all the remarkable histories of our self-made men.”

    Franklin regularly networked with other young intellectuals. At age 21, he established Junto, a society of young men who met on Friday evenings for self-improvement, study and socialising. It was from the Junto that many of Franklin’s ideas and civic projects arose. This included support for the use of printed currency and the establishment of a public library, fire brigade, fire insurance, the postal service and more. He was a supreme connector, greatly liked by many. When he died more than 20,000 people attended his funeral.

  13. How about Sen. Bob Corker and Rick Warren? I would trust them to make quick, thoughtful, ethical and moral decisions, and to communicate effectively…

  14. Oh and of course Margaret Thatcher…..

  15. Currently I would take Donald Trump [though he’s not formally in politics..yet…] and Francis Chan.
    My secondary options would be Bill Clinton and Tony Campolo…

Created by Randy Elrod

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