Is President Biden worse than Nero?
Anyone acquainted with history might think this question is ludicrous, but it is a point of confusion in Christendom today. Many feel it is acceptable to indulge in hearing and spreading rumors about someone, or to deride them, or otherwise rail against them, provided that it is a political leader they disagree with.
Far from defending this practice, the Bible shows reasons why we should treat President Biden with respect, most of which are also true for other elected officials.
1) He is a ruler of our country.
Although there seems to be a trend not to recognize anyone you have not voted for, the Biblical perspective is that if someone has authority, they have been 'set up' in that position by God. This setting up is not limited to means that we personally approve of; whether the president was 'duly elected' seems moot when we recall that several Biblical rulers who were acknowledged as legitimate came to power through conquest or assassination!
1 Peter 2 says to 'honor the king'. This was likely written in reference to the Roman emperor. It is unqualified, and in context, the statement to respect someone who tradition tells us was responsible for leading a great persecution and executing Peter himself removes from us any kind of excuse. If we find this difficult to practice, it is more difficult to argue that the president is responsible for more evil-doing than either the Roman emperors generally or Nero in particular, and that his rule is an extenuating circumstance.
If nothing else, the Biblical mandate to pray for our rulers, and the spirit of that mandate, opposes the attitude behind this manner of speech.
2) He is aged.
Many use this as a jumping-off point for further dishonoring the president. However, the Bible states in Leviticus 19 that the elderly are due respect, without qualification:
"Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD."
3) He is a person.
One of the best reasons to refrain from these kinds of comments about the president is that it is wrong to habitually talk about anyone in this manner, whatever their status in life.
It is one thing to criticize the administration's policies, or to note when the president has done something wrong in his office as a political leader, whether it is immoral or merely imprudent. Even in this case, I would err on the side of silence, in the sense that dwelling on someone's faults is not expedient, but I acknowledge there is an occasional need for discussion of the conduct of our government.
However, most conversation about political leaders consists of emotionally charged rhetoric, abusive language, and personal attacks. If you would not put up with hearing someone speak this way about you - or your family member, or your friend, or acquaintance - why should a stranger be any different, whatever their position? They are all humans made in God's image.
I'm reluctant to write it out, but this point must be made. I've heard someone in the past thoughtlessly say that they wished for the president's death. I wonder how many times we have entertained such ideas without understanding what is meant by it. If you say this, what you mean (intentionally or not) is that your disapproval of the president is so great that you, believing him to be a sinner, prefer him to immediately face the consequences of those sins, rather than repent. I hardly believe that Christians want this when they speak about someone, but if they don't, they should pick a new manner of speaking.
Ultimately the president is a man like any other man. If we claim to be concerned about the salvation of the lost, the president and other political leaders are in as much a need of it as anyone else. We should not harshly reject and condemn someone whom God has not.
4) The speech is un-Christian in any case.
"Oh, so you're a Christian? I never would have guessed."
It is an understatement to note that someone who seems habitually angry is not modeling Christ. Reviling is no better than profanity or obscenities; the three often go together. Moreover, people judge you not only by how you treat them, but by how you treat others. Although love, grace and peace are misunderstood nowadays, people can recognize that something is amiss when someone claims to possess these traits and yet is constantly offensive (in both senses of the word). If you can persuade a stranger that you hate a third person, you are well on your way to convincing them that you can't love them either.
In conclusion, according to Scripture, the president of our country is due our respect, as are other public officials. You do not have to agree with or support someone's decisions to extend them Christian love, much more the common courtesies that are ordinarily extended between strangers. While the media wants to make us feel we are 'familiar' with these people we have never met, we cannot in good conscience let that supposed familiarity breed bitterness and contempt. If we do, we will have to account for it someday.