Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some Thoughts on the "Under God" Controversy.

Since the beginning of democratic national convention I’ve been approached by numerous Christians who are concerned about the “Under God” controversy.  Now on the surface, this seems like a legitimate concern, but it really begs the question: when politicians, both republican and democrat, invoke “God” language are they addressing “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” or are they invoking a god of their own liking whether that’s prosperity, the free market, security, or some sort of tribal deity that really likes America?
  Although I can’t judge the hearts of individual politicians, through their collective actions it seems that often when they invoke “God” they’re looking towards the “god” of American democracy and not the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Greg Boyd writes:
The religion of American democracy… like all religions… has its own distinctive, theologized, revisionist history (for instance, the “manifest destiny” doctrine whereby God destined the Europeans to conquer the land).  It has its own distinctive message of salvation (political freedom), it’s own “set apart” people group (America and its allies), its own creed (‘we hold these truths to be self-evident’), its own distinctive enemies (all who resist freedom and fight against America), its own distinctive symbol (the flag), and its own distinctive god (the national deity we are “under” who favors our causes and helps us win our battles).[i]
Simply put, to my Christian brothers and sisters I say this: if you are going to get angry about the fact that the democrats thought of dropping “Under God,” you should be just as angry that both parties have consistently dragged God’s name in the mud by invoking it for their own purposes (In case you’re not aware of it, God is not too big of a fan of having his name profaned… Exodus 20:7 & Ezekiel 36:20).  More than this you should be just as outraged at the fact that both democrats and republicans have actively followed a god different from the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” while still claiming to follow him.  This is important because as Martin Luther writes, “to seek God apart from Jesus Christ—that is the devil.”  Lastly, to my republican brothers and sisters in Christ, you have no high ground to stand on with the democratic party for the “Under God” controversy when your own party has nominated a man who professes belief in a different god and whose religion actively undermines the core tenants of the Christian faith.  I’m not saying that Romney’s Mormon faith makes him unfit to be President, but rather it exposes some inconsistency in the Christian Right’s outrage over the “Under God” issue.  Because from a Christian perspective, when Romney says “Under God” he is not invoking the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” but according to Luther he’s invoking the devil.   

[i] As quoted in “Jesus for President” pg 174.  I personally don’t agree with everything in this work, but it sure has some interesting inquiries.

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