Crazy Faith Ministries
It took a while, but the religious right is starting to draw parallels between one’s political affiliation and one’s relationship with God.
Televangelist Pat Robertson said, “Left-wingers and progressives are trying to destroy America and are revolting against what God’s plan is for America.” He said opposition to the president is none less than “disobedience against God.”
I had been quietly noting all of the natural disasters that have happened since the president won the election. Sudden and deadly tornados, floods, fires … it seemed to me that there were a lot of disasters happening, and I wondered if God was trying to say something. Religious people do that kind of thing.
I wondered what would have been said had Hillary Clinton won the election; I was sure that the religious right would make some type of divine pronouncement. Remember, for example, that some in the religious right blamed Hurricane Katrina on the “sins of America,” including homosexuality and abortion.
Robertson and religious conservatives go to the Bible and quote scriptures to support their claims, and the cloud of divine displeasure hovers over situations that have already proven to be painful to many innocent people. Their views leave the impression that God is really one-sided in His determination of who and what is a sin, as only some situations, caused by some people, seem to earn this kind of divine wrath.
To assume that the racist, sexist, xenophobic, misogynistic, Islamophobic behavior of the current president is pleasing to God is problematic and troubling on a number of fronts, but the biggest stumbling block for many is that anyone would think that God, who is supposed to be of love and about love, would sanction what to many seems to be such hateful behavior.
At issue is the way two groups of people who believe in the same God and the same Bible interpret that same God and that same Bible. The God that I was taught, the God that Dr. Martin Luther King taught in his nonviolent movement, the God that he talked about in his book, Strength to Love, is a God that demands a love that is non-judgmental and which compels us to consider each other as spiritually related, regardless of our political views.
The God of the religious right seems to be all right with all of the “isms.” Their God seemingly created them and wants the world to be all right with them. The problem is that contradicts God’s command that we “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.” The two views of God seem incompatible, and frankly, the God of the religious right turns a lot of people away from God and away from even the idea of community.
What is startling and troubling is that so many people have aligned themselves to this judgmental God who sanctions discrimination of many sorts. They find precise ways of reading and interpreting words in the Bible that are diametrically opposed to the way I and many “progressives” think – and I am sure that many on the right are startled and troubled that those on the “left” do not and cannot agree with the way they see God.
Having one God that both oppressed and oppressor lean upon for strength, answers and justification is a problem, but it is maddening – for both sides – at a time like this, where there seems to be so little clarity about anything that is going on. It would be better if God, the interpretation, internalization and intervention of God, was more objective, like a math equation, leaving no room for human interpretation. As long as humans exercise the gift that God gave us all – the power to think and form our own opinions of things – there will be no bridge between oppressed and oppressor. Pronouncements about tragic things happening in life being the evidence of God’s wrath will continue, causing the continued pain in many cases of people who have suffered unduly for merely being non-White, non-male, and non-heterosexual.
God of the oppressed and the oppressor is silent in all of this, and religion – and God – continues to take hits because of the way some people describe God and God’s work and will.
At a time like this, we need something better.
Rev. Dr. Susan K Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries and a communications consultant for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Inc. She is available for preaching and teaching. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.