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Sunday, August 31, 2008

God and politics and nature

I'll admit, it's so ironic you have to wonder if there's some karma at work here.

A few weeks ago one of James Dobson's cronies made a video and posted it on the Focus on the Family website. In the clip Stuart Shepard, who does a lot of multimedia production for the "ministry", asks Christians to pray for "abundant rain, torrential rain... flood-advisory rain" in the Denver area on the night of Barack Obama's open-air acceptance speech at the Democrat National Convention.

Here's Shepard's video, which he claimed was done for humor (but I can't find anything funny about it at all)...

As anyone who caught his speech will know, Obama enjoyed terrific weather for his address, which aired to what some are saying is one of the record highs for political speeches before a televised audience.

But if Shepard's cry to Heaven was echoed by his fellow evangelicals, they're about to get an answer. Maybe not just the way they'd wanted. With Hurricane Gustav now threatening to wreck more havoc on New Orleans than Katrina did (if that's even conceivable) in 2005, the Republicans are being ominously overshadowed for their own convention by the forces of nature. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have canceled plans to speak there (one Republican friend has told me that a lot in his party are considering this to be a good thing) and now there's mention that John McCain himself may not show up, instead delivering his acceptance via satellite.

(Incidentally, McCain and Sarah Palin have already announced that they're going to be visiting the area that's being threatened by Gustav. Obama is supposedly going there too. I wish they would all steer clear of the place. Those people have enough to worry about right now than to also have some politicians coming in for a photo op, with all the logistics of personnel and security that it entails.)

I've no doubt that many professing evangelicals took Shepard at his word and prayed for rain on the Democrats: a few even told me that they did. What then do we make of Gustav and now Hanna, which one Democrat official and filmmaker Michael Moore are now gloating are proof that God favors the Democrats?

They're wrong. All of them. "Conservative Christians" like Stuart Shepard and "liberal Democrats" like Michael Moore, they are equally in grave error so far as God and politics goes.

God is no more a Republican than He is a Democrat. Things like temporal politics don't interest Him. Yes, we are told many times in scripture that He causes nations to rise and then collapse, and that He brings up rulers and brings them down again. But nowhere are we told that He ever has grace for one political faction and contempt for another concerning their vying for control of a country.

Here's how it is, folks: God doesn't answer our prayers for "divine intervention" against our political enemies. Especially not here in America. And it does no good to pray regarding the outcome of an election, either. Praying about an election violates everything that we know about how God grants us free will in whether or not we choose to follow Him. He can't make us want to seek after Him: we have to want that on our own. So how can He ever make someone else's mind be swayed to our own political proclivity?

Or maybe He does answer those prayers, just as He's now apparently answering the one that many Christians had for rain during a political convention. I am now hearing many among the evangelicals declare that Sarah Palin is a "gift from God". But if that is the case, then the same people had better be prepared to accept that all the damage that George W. Bush has done to this country is also God's will, since they were just as quick to claim that Bush was "anointed", and they darned well were praying for him to get a second term.

Perhaps these same Christians would do better to heed the words of Proverbs 3:5, where we are taught to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Our ways are not His ways, and we tempt disaster to suggest that they are.

And so far as the weather is concerned...

"...for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

-- Matthew 5:45

America is in a lot of trouble, and it's time for the Christians of this land to own up to their responsibility in the mess. We have assumed wisdom, when we should have come to God broken and willing to admit that we don't have wisdom at all on our own. We have sinned in our pride, and if Gustav and now Hanna might be the result of appealing to Heaven, I cannot but now believe that it is because God is trying to humble this nation. If we are smart, we will recognize that now is not the time to turn that opportunity into an occasion for arrogance.


Kevin Bussey said...


Moores was even worse and I'm writing about it tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Republican National Convention has been postponed for one day because of Gustav. Focus on the Family's prayer backfired!

Anonymous said...

Superstition and the invisable Santa Claus in the sky.
People generally fear powerful individuals who can hurt them, especially those individuals who have proven that they will readily hurt others for unjust reasons. The Christian God has threatened (if you believe in the Bible) to send you to a Hell to be tortured for eternity if you fail to believe a certain supernatural event happened in palestine 2000 years ago. It doesn't matter if you've been charitable, kind, and compassionate all your life, it doesn't matter if you've been a saint. If you happen to believe in another God, or you happen to believe there is not nearly enough evidence to believe the Christian story actually happened, this God will roast you forever right alongside Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, and Einstein. Such a God would strike me as being the worst kind of evil dictator imaginable, so only a fool would not fear such a being if he exists. Thankfully, the evidence that he does is horrible.