Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The God Primary

David Frum- former Bush speechwriter and self-outed coiner of the "axis of evil" phrase- wrote recently:
"let's say that while the President's opponents have made much sport of the idea that God called George Bush to the presidency, it's becoming increasingy difficult to doubt that God wants President Bush re-elected."
I've always had trouble with the entire notion that God gives a damn about the US presidency. Or any post of world leadership for that matter.

Sure, maybe he does. But then shouldn't those who trumpet the Bush as endorsed by God line also hold that Clinton was endorsed by God. Or should we believe that God only "gets involved" in certain elections (and would that make 2000 and/or 2004 the Second Coming?).

The standard for the Christian God is all good, all powerful, all knowing. God could not have been opposed to Clinton and still be all powerful (upset of the century?). And he couldn't sit the Clinton years out knowing that such bad would bring "the chosen son" to power- that hardly seems in line with all good. To do so requires the "one step backwards, two steps forward" logic employed by Nader and company (admittedly with a stacked deck of "all knowing and all powerful" on his side) which is an argument for the "greater good," something substantively different from "all good." In a word, permitting Clinton to enable Bush is strategic- which is the province of neither the all good nor the all powerful. It would seem then that God either wanted Clinton to be President or he sat out a couple of elections. (And a similar line of thought exists for all of history's worst leaders- God somewhere between wanted them there and didn't care enough to involve himself but did not actively want them ousted during their reigns.) That is, if he's (or she's, or gender neutral possessive) inclined to ever pick sides.

But back to giving a damn. Does God? About earthly elections and leaders? Is there any evidence he gives two bits for the "kingdom on earth"? My impression has always been a strong indifference to a mild hostility to the kingdom on earth on his (or her, or gender neutral term) part. The religious history of the Christian God is one of a God who speaks to and acts through the ordinary- your Jobs, your son (sorta) of a carpenter, your tax collectors and other salt of the earth types and the sons of power (say, Moses) were on the outs with the powers that be. But not for the purpose of enacting tax cuts or any other earthly concern. The organized celebration of religion has broken down over similar lines throughout history. Among the central reasons for the Protestant split- the Catholic church hierarchy had come to give a damn about its kingdom on earth to the detriment of its focus on the eternal. The idea is that God and those concerned with godliness have bigger fish to fry. The breaks from that represent corruption. Right?


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