Friday, February 1, 2013

God Is Not a Republican

Senator Rapert seemed out of sorts because, as he put it, President Obama could not “take the time to attend a national prayer breakfast,” but had “invited all the Muslims to come into the White House” for a Ramadan dinner. He went on to say that he “wonders what he [President Obama] stands for,” and then declared that the President does not “represent the country that I grew up with,” and that “we’re gonna try and take this country back for the Lord.”

And I want to say, well ... good luck with that.

In my humble opinion, Senator Rapert is on a fool’s errand with this one. First, Rapert's mission of “taking the country back” is based on a pretty shaky premise in my view—the idea that there was a time in American history when people were more moral than they are now—and that’s just not true. It is true that there was a time when most people could quote the bible and nobody admitted to believing that God doesn’t exist (even if there was disagreement about who God is),  however, there is no evidence that the essence of humankind has changed since we first walked the earth. In other words, we are as bad now as we ever were, and the world's history reflects that.

Second, I’m certain the bible makes it clear that the struggle between good and evil has already been fought, and God won. Why then, does Senator Rapert feel the need to continue fighting? And whom is he fighting? Ephesians 6:12 tells us “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places,” but somehow I’m getting the feeling that Senator Rapert is talking about something or someone a lot more tangible than what the bible describes.

I think there’s a difference between desiring to be salt and light and fighting an imaginary battle in which you envision that your side is the good side with all the good people and the other side is the bad side with all the bad people who have somehow “taken over” this "virtuous" country and made it a bad place.

I guess what I’m saying is that I believe Senator Rapert’s focus is misplaced. If he wants to talk about this sinful world’s need for salvation, great. I’m a Christian, and I’m down with that. But when he wants to start talking about Muslims in a contemptuous tone, like they aren’t deserving of God’s grace, along with some foolishness about taking the country “back” to a place it never was, well, I think he’s wasting his time. Worse, I think he’s slighting the very God on whose behalf he claims to speak by implying that the bible is wrong to declare that at the core of the struggle between good and evil is the world’s hostility to Jesus. Put another way, this struggle is not about liberals' hostility to conservatives, or vice versa. 

I listen to Senator Rapert and I think about these song lyrics by Gungor:

 “God is not a man/God is not an old man/and God does not belong to Republicans/God is not a flag/not even American/and God does not depend on the government/But God is good/and God is good/And he loves everyone …” 


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