A divided nation: Looking for the One, True God
SUSAN K. SMITH | 1/29/2017, 10:41 p.m.
Crazy Faith Ministries
On the evening of Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration of the new president, actor Jon Voight said that God “has answered our prayers,” and he added that Lincoln was smiling on the incoming president as well – the event was being held at the Lincoln Memorial.
On Inauguration Day, the Rev. Franklin Graham said, as rain started falling at the commencement of the speech the president delivered, “Rain is a sign of God’s blessing.” Graham went on to say that he wished God’s blessing on the new first family, the new administration and the country.
The words of these two White men struck me and raised a question with which I and many have grappled for generations, and that is, “Who is God, really?” Can the God of White supremacists be the same God of the oppressed? And if so, what is the role of the God of the oppressed in this time? What is the God of the oppressed doing if the God of White supremacists is blessing this incoming administration, which promises to take away many of the gains made by oppressed groups over the past 50 years?
The Rev. C.T. Vivian, who worked and walked with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Movement, said in his work back then and reiterated now, “You cannot be a racist and be a Christian.” Well, tell White Christians that. Historically, they have believed that God looked down on Christians getting involved in the fight of African Americans for their human and civil rights. Some pastors in the South and elsewhere actually preached that those who worked for civil rights stood in danger of losing their salvation.
They preached that message while clerics on “the other side” preached that the movement was necessary in order to “save the soul of America.”
These disparate views of God do not come close to meeting or intersecting. The God of Franklin Graham is not, I dare say, the God of a Rev. William Barber. While Barber and others preach a Gospel of inclusivity, Graham and other White supremacist pastors and preachers share that God indeed supports racism and racial purity, that God is not a God that is pro-integration and pro-civil rights.
So there we have it. One Gospel. One Christian Bible. One Jesus and one God … but a seriously schizophrenic understanding of who God is.
If there is no unity in churches, in theology and doctrine and dogma, can there be unity “out” in society?
It seems not. It seems that because we cannot find or identify or agree upon “the one true God,” that we will be at odds for a long time … with God, ironically at the center of it all, being pulled both ways at the same time.
Surely, we are in a conundrum.
Rev. Dr. Susan K Smith is available for preaching and speaking engagements. Contact her at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.