Monday, November 3, 2008

Christian Right prayers will give win to Obama

The prayer warriors are busy tonight. They've been busy for months and they'll be even busier tomorrow, pleading with their god that he/she do the "right" thing in this election, i.e., intervene so that Obama goes down to defeat and those two god-fearing paragons of righteousness, McCain and Palin, ascend to the house of White in the land of the lobbyists.

Most of these deluded religionists will try to avoid asking god directly to elect McCain and Palin - not all, of course, but most - for that would be presumptuous. God might get pissed. But, they "know," down deep in their wee little hearts, that god prefers the GOP ticket.

So, they'll pray something like this:

"Dear god, we stand at a crossroads for our nation, which you have so richly blessed because you like Americans better than any other people in the world, and we are afraid of the direction our nation will take under a bad, bad leader like the man whose last name starts with "O." We are afraid, O Lord, that he will lead the nation down the path of wickedness where unwanted babies are tossed from windows, and men will marry goats and women will marry horses. We're afraid for our families and for your vision of true marriage, O Lord.

"We've done all we can and it looks like it wasn't enough, so we are praying mightily, and we need you to hear our prayers, O Lord, so that our nation can continue in righteousness and we can invade other countries that our godly leaders tells us are part of the Axis of Evil. We can even invade countries outside of that Axis, O Lord, if it is your will and if you so instruct our godly leaders.

"We're also afraid, O Lord, that the bad, bad man whose last name starts with "O" will raise our taxes and then how will we tithe to our thousands of churches that carry out your work in the world? This bad, bad man will also want to provide health care to the poor, the elderly, the young, O Lord. You know how something like that can wreck a budget. And he'll no doubt want to regulate our free markets, O Lord. You know this last financial crisis was just a glitch and regulation is communistic and therefore a sin.

"O Lord, this bad, bad man will no doubt make our corporations pay more in taxes and cut emissions at a terrible cost and the trickle down effect will stutter to a halt and the poor will no longer get those measly drops of welfare they have become used to. He'll tax the small businessman, O Lord; your own Ms. Palin said so. The worst, of course, is that the billions we give in corporate welfare will be cut back. What will the rich, do, O Lord?

"Oh my god, he'll want to stop the righteous war in Iraq and bring our soldiers back which will mean that the entire Middle East - your land, O Lord - will be taken over by the Islamists who defy your name. Worse, O Lord, they might want to keep their own oil, and you know how that would hurt your favorite country. And the bad, bad man who would be president won't let us drill in the pristine Arctic, O Lord, like Ms. Palin says we should; he talks about alternative energy sources, O Lord, but you know that's because he hates powerful companies who invest their wealth to make more wealth for themselves.

"Dear Lord, hear our prayer. We are mightily afraid. It is even possible, O Lord, that our brother James, last name Dobson, O Lord - in case you forgot - won't be able to call up the White House and give instructions to our leaders if that bad, bad man is elected.

"So we pray that you hear our prayers for we know that you are the righteous one and you hear the prayers of your righteous followers. We pray that your will be done, O Lord. So, intervene, O Lord. Make the election process null and void. Flip those ballots, O Lord, that vote for the bad, bad man. Your will be done, O Lord."

The people who are doing all this praying contend that they are following the will of god as laid out in the Bible, the infallible, inerrant word of god. The problem is that it isn't that difficult to make, even an "infallible" and "inerrant" Bible say pretty much whatever one wants it to say. So, the anti-gay folks on the Christian right, take one verse out of the "Old Testament" in which they believe god condemns homosexuality. But they ignore hundreds of other "laws" or "commandments" of god.

Here are a few verses they always" seem to miss.

From Micah, the prophet:

"He [God] has told you, O man, what is good,
And what the Lord requires of you:
Only to do justice
And to love goodness,
And to walk modestly with your God;
Then you will achieve wisdom." [Micah 6:8 - The Jewish Study Bible]

From Jesus, the rabbi:

"How blest are those who show mercy;
mercy shall be shown to them. ...

How blest are the peacemakers;
God shall call them his sons." [Matthew 5:7, 9]

"Do not suppose that I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to complete. I tell you this: so long as heaven and earth endure, not a letter, not a stroke, will disappear from the Law until all that must happen has happened." [Matthew 5:17 - 18]

"Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors; only so can you be children of your heavenly Father, who makes his sun rise on good and bad alike, and sends the rain on the honest and the dishonest. ... There must be no limit to your goodness ...

"Be careful not to make a show of your religion before men; if you do, no reward awaits you in your Father's house in heaven ...

"Again, when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogue [church] and at the street corners, for everyone to see them. I tell you this: they have their reward already. But when you pray, go into a room by yourself, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is there in the secret place ..." [Matthew 5:43-48; 6:1-6]

Then, this - especially appropriate for those who preach a "prosperity" gospel and the rich:

A young man asks: "...Good Master, what must I do to win eternal life? Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: "Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not give false evidence; do not defraud; honour your mother an father."' 'But, Master,' he replied, 'I have kept all these things since I was a boy.' Jesus looked straight at him; his heart warmed to him, and he said, 'One thing you lack: go, sell everything you have, and give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; and come, follow me.' At these words his face fell and he went away with a heavy heart; for he was a man of great wealth.'"

But what do we do with Paul's command in Romans 13?

"Every person must submit to the supreme authorities. There is no authority but by act of God, and the existing authorities are instituted by him; consequently anyone who rebels against authority is resisting a divine institution ... For government, a terror to crime, has no terrors for good behaviour. You wish to have no fear of the authorities? Then continue to do right and you will have their approval, for they are God's agents working for your good. ... That is why you are obliged to submit. It is an obligation imposed not merely by fear of retribution but by conscience. That is also why you pay taxes. The authorities are in God's service and to these duties they devote their energies. ...

"Discharge your obligations to all men; pay tax and toll, reverence and respect, to those to whom they are due. Leave no claim outstanding against you, except that of mutual love. He who loves his neighbour has satisfied every claim of the law. ..."

Very few, if any of us, believe that Paul was right about blind obedience to the authorities. In fact, if our beloved Founding Fathers followed Paul, we would still be bowing and scraping before an English king or queen! And Paul would have considered our Constitution an abomination! Was he wrong about paying taxes, too? And if not, why all the carping about paying taxes amongst the McCain/Palin followers?

The point, my friends, [to quote Mr. McCain] is that when push comes to shove [to cite a well-worn cliche], those on the Christian Right pick and choose (just like everyone else) those verses in the Bible that best confirm their theological prejudices.

And the Christian rightists of our time ignore, for the most part, the teachings of Jesus.

Nowhere has that been clearer than during this election. There's a reason why they ignore the Jesus we read of in the Gospels. That Jesus sits in judgment upon, not only their distorted and hateful theology, but on their politics, which is driven, of course, by their distorted and hate-filled theology.

Which means that if god picks up on their prayers and if "his will be done," Obama's a lock for the presidency.

Praise God!

[All New Testament quotations are from The New English Bible]

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