Scary Email

I received an anonymous forwarded email the other day that combined a bit of good spiritual advice with a lot of classic Republico-Christian fear-mongering. Actually, it wasn’t totally anonymous. It was signed (several senders back) by “Carolyn”.

This is the scariest election WE as Christians have ever faced.

I know what SHE thinks are the reasons. Americans seem to be ready to vote for a black Muslim Democrat. How could things be more frightening? (Obama is not a Muslim, but the other two charges are true.)

What she SHOULD mean is that many Americans are still supporting government by cliche, diplomacy by temper tantrum, continuing dishonesty about abortion and “moral values,” and the continued destruction of the economy and especially of the working classes of this country.

From the looks of the polls, the Christians aren’t voting Christian values.

Again, SHE thinks that means many Christians are thinking of voting for a pro-choice candidate who wants to kill lots of babies, to raise taxes so the wealthy are penalized for their good honest Christian hard work and risk on behalf of their ungrateful workers, and to turn the government of this country over to Bin Laden.

What she SHOULD mean is that many Christians are determined to vote for

• unjust war under false pretenses,
• torture,
• dismantling of the Constitution,
• extremely activist right-wing judges,
• abuse of veterans,
• slaughter of innocent civilians in foreign countries,
• bankrupting of the US for the sake of that unjust, dishonestly promoted war,
• despising and bankrupting “the least of these” for the sake of those who worship both God and Mammon, but especially Mammon,
• continued high abortion and infant mortality rates (with lots of posturing against the former),
• declining educational achievement

– oh this list could go on and on. Doesn’t that make you sad?

But she is clearly frightened, and eager to scare all the rest of us. Let us now exalt FEAR! What a potent god – able to make us get involved in all kinds of self- and other-destructive behaviors.

Jesus said, “Fear not” – but then that was a long time ago.

Responsibility

… scripture gives us, as Christians, ownership of this land …

She should have said instead that God will hold us responsible for what goes on in our name and with our support. He will hold “us, as Christians” accountable for the evils (see the above list) our current administration is propagating in this land and in the world WITH strong support from the most vocal Christians. And that is not a pretty responsibility to hold.

WE are the ones who need to do some repenting if we are to have any legitimate hope of influencing American history in a positive way in the early 21st Century.

Let Us Pray

She did, however promote one unobjectionable idea.

If you would like to participate: each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, 8:00 PM Central , 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific, stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying
for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens,
for peace in the world,
for wisdom and courage for our leaders,
the up-coming election,
and that the Bible will remain the basis for the laws governing our land
and that Christianity will grow in the U.S.

Well, I should have said, “one mostly unobjectionable idea.”

I’m all for spending at least one minute a day praying for our country and its role in the world. We are indeed in perilous times. And prayer is a wonderful gift to us from God.

But it seems to me this leaves out much of what the Bible encourages prayer for. Especially in the Gospels and the letters of Paul prayer often focuses on the spiritual and moral development of the people praying and being prayed for.

What the Founding Fathers Were Concerned About

It is also important to remind ourselves of this: the Bible never was “the basis for the laws governing our land.” The Bible did exercise some influence on the Founders. But so did Cicero and other ancient Romans, the ancient Greeks, John Locke and other English and European thinkers, etc. The Founders were very attentive to such sources.

They were also, of course, quite familiar with the Bible. And one key Biblical teaching they very much honored was the idea that the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. No one heart can be trusted with absolute power. Not even – shocking fact! – if that heart resides in a high-level Republican politician! Not even if it resides in a Christian leader prominent as a fully devoted servant of the Republican party (or of the Democratic party, for that matter). The heart is still deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

We REALLY need to have the checks and balances of the Constitution fully functioning to protect us from the evil in every human heart.

That is a Biblical teaching our current Republican Biblicists don’t much want to emphasize, and that our current Administration hopes can be completely forgotten. To them it’s “them” – Muslims, Democrats and Liberals who are evil. It is certainly not “us” – our own hearts.

But they are wrong about that. They – we all – have dangerous tendencies of heart.

Conclusion

So, as the lady says, it IS a good idea to pray.

Pray for “peace in the world,” and while we pray, let’s remember that Bush spreads war and McCain thinks another 100 years in Iraq is no big deal.

Pray for “wisdom and courage for our leaders” to know how to stand against the strong tides of evil and self-serving corruption sloshing back and forth through American politics. media, and religion these days.

So at least she was somewhat right.