April 13, 2006

Ok, this isn't helping

Chron.com | Big plans: DeLay's next mission is in God's hands: "DeLay recently told one of his pastors that God wanted him to leave Congress in part because He has bigger plans for DeLay.
That pastor, the Rev. Rick Scarborough, introduced DeLay to a Christian conference just last week, saying, 'This is a man, I believe, God has appointed ... to represent righteousness in government.'"

Yeah, I know. Everyone reading this knows the score. But it still annoys the hell out of me. DeLay is so deluded that he thinks that God took him out of Congress to bring righteousness to government. Like Clinton was ordained by god to return fidelity to marriage. Or Bush ordained to bring complete sentences to the White House.

Any Christian who doesn't wretch at Delay is more interested in political power than anything resembling Christ.

And since I am ranting, I heard more on the religious radio today. I had to run errands and need to be digging in the garden. But my options are limited, I tell you. I either listen to sports radio (where they were arguing about the NBA--snore), NPR (which is hit and miss in the afternoon), classic rock (puke) or religious radio (double puke). Anyway, there I was. Flipping and heard the ad from the National Day of Prayer Task Force about the 2006 National Day of Prayer.

Don't get me wrong. Prayer is a good thing. I think that focussing on other people and humbly respecting a force higher than yours is good for all of us to do. I also think praying for our country is a good thing. Especially when we have a President who seems to be directed by a God I don't even recognize. But I digress.

So, here is the National Day of Prayer Prayer for 2006. Remember, I have been just been teaching a course on the first half of American history, so the cynicism that will probably seep into my commentary is informed by that.

by Dr. Henry Blackaby
Oh Heavenly Father, You have made Yourself known to us as a nation by Your mighty works throughout our history.
I would love this line if it weren't so oblivious of the horrible ways that God's people have acted through our history. Indian removal, slavery, missionary activity among Indians being removed and Africans being enslaved. To say nothing of the numerous so called Founders who not only trafficked in human beings, but who's main goal was to enrich themselves by removing Indians and reselling the land.

From the beginning, You have been with us through many wars and conflicts;
Your right arm has saved us.
This reminds me of the great Dylan song "With God on our side." Amazingly, God seems to not have minded wars against Indian tribes for land, an invasion of Mexico for, wait for it, land, or our great late 19th century war against the Spanish to further the "White Man's burden." God's right arm seems oddly American in this reading.
We have been amazingly and graciously blessed.

Today, we confess our sin of not responding to Yourright to rule in our lives and our nation. Too often we have despised and rejected Your will while imposing our own, and we are now facing the consequences of our disobedience.
Couldn't agree more. We have combined religion and politics into an inseparable mare's nest that has led to an ill-advised invasion, countless lives lost, American divisions, and the further destruction of God's creation. But I doubt Dr. Henry meant it that way.
Draw us back to Yourself that we may return to Your ways once again.
Without You we can do nothing.
You have promised that if we honor You, You will once again honor this great nation."

Alternative version. Please continue to favor us over other, less worthy nations. Smite our enemies (muslims, Mexicans, liberals and European secularists) and please, please, please, God. Please ignore the fact that our most prominent religious leaders are idiots and con artists. Oh, and please look the other way while we ignore poverty and environmental destruction so we might focus our moral superiority on the sexual sins of homosexuality, sex outside marriage, aberrent sex inside marriage, nudity (public and private) and, of course, liberals. We are reminded that the Lord didn't really mean to love our enemies and certainly that line about "turning the other cheek" was an editorial decision made by a liberal pacifist weenie. And please, please, please God, if we pray publicly enough (even though the Bible discourages that) make us rich, rich, rich. Amen.



Trav the Okie Vegan said...

Sweet rant!

Bruce said...

Delay for President!!!!

just kidding.. but there is a precedent for electing men with god complexes to the presidency

Mary said...

You've got an "Amen!" over here....

Anonymous said...

I think you forfeit the moral right to rant about slavery. You would seem pleased as punch if the Iraqis are once again under the thumb of Saddam. Bush's foreign policy has already brought the first steps of democracy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and for the Palestinians. Other countries, such as Kuwait, which has extended the right to vote to women; Egypt, which had opened up the presidential election to the opposition; and Lebanon, have made additional steps toward a more developed democracy. As it stands, Saudi Arabian women live in virtual slavery. But that's seems to be OK with Dr. Streak. Why give democracy a chance in the Middle East? What does he care that brown people are denied a government of the people? "No blood for enslaved Arabs," he cries at the top of his lungs. No, you have no moral legitimacy.

Streak said...

Interesting. Where did I say that I preferred Saddam's rule? Or is it just that you assume that anyone who doesn't like Bush prefers Saddam?

Nice rhetoric. How Sean Hannity-like. Anyone who criticizes Bush automatically likes terrorism, tyranny, and the exploitation of women. Never mind that many of us, despite our misgivings about the war, hoped fervently that Bush would actually bring the resources to do the job right. Nevermind that many of us supported the Afghanistan war and then watched in horror as Bush switched focus to Iraq. Never mind that Bush has cooked the intelligence, misled the American people, and used this war to further divide us.

But it is I who lacks moral authority. Right. Got you.

u.b.u.b. said...

Anonymous has confused me, although admittedly my reading comprehensions skills may not be what they once were. I see nothing expressing support for Saddam nor anything indicating interest in oppressing the Iraqi people. I find nothing expressing approval for the "virtual slavery" of Kuwaiti women. I also see nothing expressing contempt for "brown people," Arab or otherwise.

I do see strawmen a-plenty, though. And demogoguery.

I would also like to examine one particular claim. A. wrote:

"Bush's foreign policy has already brought the first steps of democracy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and for the Palestinians."

To give but one example, we know that first steps toward democracy have led the United States to warmly embrace Hamas, the party chosen to rule by the free people of Palestine. Right? Therefore, we proudly proclaim the success of democracy in the Middle East. Right? Mission Accomplished, right? Wrong on all counts.

What we see is the U.S. asserting for itself veto power over self-determination in the Middle East by second guessing the legitimacy of those elected in those "brown democracies." Look at recent history in Central America for several examples. Those same U.S. leaders who put tyrants like Pinochet in power and illegally backed the contras are the very same leaders who propped up Saddam to begin with.

Note that this is not to defend death squads, whether they are hired by legally elected governments or illegally hired by groups organized by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Bruce said...

hmm, anon seems to be upset with the hard to find "librul" of the right wing talk show fame, which I am convinced only lives in their imaginations. Somyimes I listen to people like anon speak and I wonder if they have ever met this creature that they seem to describe in great detail.

Bootleg Blogger said...

I love your take on the "prayer". Reminds me of a bible study I was in a few weeks ago in which a lady much my senior passionately spoke about how if you look at the events leading to George Washington's victories over the British, there's just no way that it couldn't have been God's hand at work. I was new in the group and wasn't sure how to proceed. I quickly picked up that the rest of the group routinely allows her to comment and then promply move on. It definitely was an uncomfortable moment for me. There wasn't much room in her thinking for any other explanations of the outcome, such as military tactics, weather, indigenous vs mercenary troups, etc... Of course, the sad corollary to this attitude is that whatever comes along with the victory and establishment of the new nation is also in line with "God's blessing" regardless of all of the ills you describe. Westward expansion was "manifest destiny", especially in light of the fact that people like Washington and Franklin had purchased large amounts of land in the unsettled (by whites) regions. We always assume that our view of success is equated with God's blessing. We forget that there are numerous examples of the "evil" kingdoms (Babylon, Assyria, Rome, etc...) prospering for long periods of time during which the scripture promises relief to those they are oppressing. We are incapable of considering that we might be prospering because of numerous rationally explainable factors such as distance from Europe, a history of natural resources, manpower, technology, military advancement, and the aggressive use of force much like the aforementioned empires in their heydays. Americans always assume that the prophets' words of deliverance are directed at us, the "chosen people". We would never consider that we could be the "kingdom" that has risen to power based on our own vanity and disregard for God's principles. Before I'm accused of being anti-American, let me say that longing for some accuracy, humility, and justice in our approach to our history and our current place in the world doesn't make me anti-American. In fact, I believe it's the only way we can have a sustainable, healthy future. Since I have American children this is very important to me.

Lastly, Streak, I'll end my novel by saying that I found really good text on the subject of US history. You are probably already familiar with it or at least the contents. It's Dangerous Memories: Invasion and Resistance Since 1492: Michael McConnell,Peggy Mueller,Renny Golden. It's an excellent read for anyone interested in our history from the perspective of the conquered.