Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why God Hates The East Coast

Recently, Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachman felt compelled to address the natural disasters affecting the east coast during a campaign stop in Florida. Her remarks were as follows:

I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake, we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending.

The implication is that the Almighty author of Heaven and Earth decided that the best use of his time and omnipotence was to create a series of geographically-specific natural disasters in order to address incongruities in United States fiscal policy. This course of divine action (which directly led to at least forty deaths and untold destruction) was necessary because Jehovah could not possibly conceive of a more direct way to approach a specific country’s lack of economic conservatism. 
To be fair to Mrs. Bachmann, when asked to clarify the polarizing statement she replied, "Of course I was being humorous when I said that. It would be absurd to think it was anything else. I am a person who loves humor, I have a great sense of humor.”

As you all I know, I myself enjoy humorous anecdotes and far be it from me to pass judgment on a political candidate for dropping a few zingers about a deadly natural disaster, but the comments seem to be indicative of a frightening trend to evoke the name of God in political discourse. Plus, if you are going to joke about the demise of fellow Americans during a storm at least make it funny.

The media is now inundated with ministers and religious leaders who feel it necessary to endorse political candidates running for public office. I can honestly say that there is very little that angers me more. To invoke your authority as a Christian minister in order to influence the outcome of a secular election is inexcusable. I would defy any of them to find a single example of Jesus, through either word or action, attempting to influence the secular political process he existed under. If any audience in history had reason to feel betrayed, it would be the common laborers under non-democratic Roman rule he routinely addressed.

Ministers, like every other American, have a right to vote for whom they wish; but when they utilize their religious position to back a certain politician they have abandoned their primary function of leading people to Christ. And worse, the legitimacy of the church and its message is unfairly tethered to the actions of that particular candidate. If you want to take your shot at politics, feel free to leave the ministry to do so. Otherwise, I would rather not pay your salary to help me decide who to vote for; I can get that kind of unsolicited advice for free.

While I am at it, I wish people would stop attempting to translate natural disasters into divine endorsements for a particular viewpoint. I do not think an east coast earthquake means Michelle Bachmann’s ideas are right any more than I think a historic Texas drought and wildfire means Rick Perry’s ideas are wrong. You know what country did not have an earthquake or a typhoon this year? North Korea. Suck on that freedom.

Several years ago a tornado ripped through my town and devastated part of a Baptist university while leaving the nearby Arby’s practically unscathed. Was God trying to tell us something or should we just be thankful no one died and enjoy a delicious Big Beef N’ Cheddar? I tend to lean toward the latter.

I truly hope Mrs. Bachmann’s comments were simply made in jest and she does not actually believe God was sending a political message, but even if she doesn’t there are many out there who do. Every tornado, flood, and earthquake is God affirming whatever perspective they happen to adhere to. I do not believe my views on immigration, military spending, energy regulation, or healthcare are based anything other than my own limited understanding of our current socioeconomic climate. I would not dare defend them as “scriptural” or “divinely inspired” because when it comes to American politics, the Bible simply promises us that rain falls equally on the just, unjust, and the unjust’s South American mistresses.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone knows God is not even registered to vote !


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