Forty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, Barack Obama will become our 44th president. America has taken a huge step toward transcending race and letting go of racial barriers. For this, I join a nation truly grateful, hopeful and proud of the progress we have made.

There is much at stake in the years ahead. Beginning in January, the presidency and Congress will be dominated by those who campaigned to “transform America” — which includes attacking free speech, religious liberty, the sanctity of life, family, and marriage.

Abortion: the value of human life and the protection of our most vulnerable citizens. Obama repeatedly said, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.” That bill could wipe out every abortion restriction in state and federal law and result in an increase in abortions.

Marriage: He has pledged to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, forcing every state without a constitutional amendment or state law protecting traditional marriage to recognize same-sex marriages.

Religious liberty and free speech: Religious freedom will be damaged if the Hate Crimes and Employment Nondiscrimination Act becomes law. A veto threat is all that has stopped them before, and Obama has vowed to sign it.

Judges: Obama has repeatedly pledged to appoint politically “like-minded” judges to federal courts and the Supreme Court — judges who will act as an unelected “super legislature” to add and subtract from our constitution as they see fit.

Our incoming government will need wisdom and strength to lead our nation. I will be praying. As a Christian, my calling to Christian discipleship, loving my neighbors, hungering for God and his righteousness come first. The gospel and the cross, not the government, will be our salvation.

However, God is not only perfect love — but perfect truth, righteousness and justice. Therefore, like the Rev. King, I am compelled to confront the government where my conscience, guided by biblical and moral principles, requires me to do so.

George Washington warned, “The blessed religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best institution may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest purposes … No mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other” — draft of the first inaugural address, 1789.

— Timothy Conner,

Newton