The campaign to elect the next President of the United States is about to begin in earnest. Barack Obama has now defeated Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side of the equation and John McCain has had the Republican nomination in the bag for some weeks. It should be interesting and, from my point of view, tremendously significant for the future of America.

One thing is certain: this is a momentous election season. For the first time in our nation’s history, an African American is at the top of the ticket. Regardless of one’s view of the candidate, we should rejoice that the political ground is finally level. The prejudices that have kept the preamble to the constitution from becoming reality now seem to have taken another giant step toward actuality-all of us are created equal. I hope that the color of one’s skin will never again be an issue for a political candidate.

Not only will an African American lead a national party ticket, but John McCain will be, to date, the oldest candidate ever to run for President. These facts give rise to many opportunities for the political process to degenerate into racism and ageism. I am confident the candidates themselves will reject this kind of prejudicial politics, but no doubt there will be some on both sides who will seek to build up their candidate by denigrating the other.

The theme of “change” will rule. Whether it is Obama sounding his mantra or McCain declaring his differences with President Bush, the theme will be the same-change! What each of us must do is use these months before the election to determine which candidate provides the kind of change we are looking for. This task will not be easy; it will require diligent effort to distinguish the candidates’ true character and each one’s actual agenda for America.

Either way, we will undoubtedly have a President who is to the left of Bush. Obama is the most liberal Democrat to lead his party since George McGovern. His stand on moral issues such as abortion, homosexuality, environment and other matters dear to every follower of Christ is far left of biblical truth. John McCain is certainly more moderate on moral issues than President Bush.

Aren’t their stands on the war and the economy more important to our future than their positions on moral issues? My response is a resounding NO! We have proven our nation can overcome war, and America has faced many economic crises throughout our history. However, when a nation loses its moral moorings, it is on a slippery slope to oblivion. Take time to read the history of the great Roman Empire and you will be struck by ominous similarities. Moral decay destroyed Rome when armies could not, and it will destroy America. America can unite against economic challenges and against enemies in times of war, but we will dissipate into the abyss of the great failed nations of history when our moral foundations give way.

This election, in the end, is not about choosing an African American or a man of age. It is about electing a man who has the will and commitment to stay the course against the moral degeneration facing this great nation. The next President will make appointments to the Supreme Court, sign executive orders and deal with legislation that will have major impact on our moral foundations. For this reason, we cannot be enamored by race or age. We must look seriously at each man’s stand in regard to moral truth as revealed in Scripture.

Some will say, “I am a Democrat,” or “I am a Republican,” and will vote for their party’s candidate. I will say, “I am a follower of Jesus Christ and hold the Bible as my guide for life. I will decide for whom I will vote based upon the candidates’ positions on the great moral issues before us.

Gentlemen, start your engines! Let the race begin.