Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Taking the Name in Vain

Brother Dave recently sent the text of this editorial, in which Ray McGovern compares the current impulse to say that God smiles on the Presidency of Busch, and all he does, to the same impulse in Rome, Nazi Germany, etc.

An excellent example of this comes courtesy Pat Robertson, who apparently has joined Oral Roberts in the "private conversations with God" department. Here's my favorite quote
"The Lord has just blessed him,'' Robertson said of Bush.  "I mean, he could make terrible mistakes and comes out of it.  It doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad, God picks him up because he's a man of prayer and God's blessing him.''
Well, gosh, who needs more than that?

I know people who believe God is intimately involved in human affairs, and that nothing happens without it being part of God's will. I do not count myself among them. I don't believe the Holocaust was God's will. I don't believe God sent terrorists into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers to teach America a lesson about abortion and homosexuality.

That image of God reflects an Old Testament view. God is either sending the Israelites to smite some neighboring tribe, or God is using some nation to whomp up on Israel because it has been apostate. It's a fairly petty image of God, and not one I can buy into.

God did not jerry-rig the Florida election; Jeb and his election board did that all on their own. God did not put Busch into the president's chair; the Supreme Court did that, in an action that resembled deus ex machina. God did not send troops in Afganistan or Iraq. Georgie-Porgie needed no help in those ill-considered actions.

We have freedom of choice. We can choose to continue as we are, or we can help choose a new direction by electing someone else. Just as we daily having the option of choosing good or evil, we have a choice what direction our country will go for the next four years.

Good may be brought out of evil, with God's help. But it is up to each one of us to ask for that help. And frankly, I suspect God is a little more concerned with each of us as an individual than as nations. In general, I suppose God watches the folk who think they are in charge, and has a good, long laugh.

Which reminds me of the comment I heard lately, that God created humanity because s/he was bored. In otherwords, we're God's sit-com, soap opera, and Survivor program, all rolled up in one.

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