For Such A Time As This

“O God, we are in a battle that is raging for the soul of this nation. You, O God, have raised up Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin for such a time as this … Help them, O God, to strengthen our economy, to keep our taxes and spending low … and grant them the privilege of being elected the next president and vice president.”

–Minister leading the “opening prayer” for a McCain/Palin rally in Bethlehem, PA on 10/8/08

Are you serious? I mean, really? Okay, now I see a little more clearly why Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers wanted to keep some distance between religion and politics. O little town of Bethlehem, please, for the love of God and humanity, take a Xanax.

So, if you had a nearly 20-year-old son voting for the first time and a newspaper column assignment, what would you write “for such a time as this?”

Check back Sunday and find out the way I decided to handle it. No more “Mr. Chicken Soup For The Soul.” No siree. If this one doesn’t earn me at least one angry “He’s a Yankee Communist Infidel Terrorist” letter to the editor, I don’t know what will.

By the way, I wonder how many of the folks who carelessly tossed these verbal Molotov cocktails bowed their heads when it came time to pray?

Finally, I’d like to offer up a shout out to 19th Century Church of Christ ministers James Harding and David Lipscomb, who both felt that politics was such a soul-compromising affair that brought out our worst angels, that Christians should just avoid civil participation altogether.

I think you guys may have been on to something.

  1. mmlace

    As always, I look forward to reading your Sunday column, Dr. Eyeguy! Thanks for sharing!

    And just thanks for blogging in general…you’re one of my favorites, and I really appreciate the combination of humor and insight that I find here. Have a great weekend! Much love!

  2. Hal

    You’re not implying that the Republican ticket has a monopoly on prayers to the Creator requesting victory for their side in the upcoming election are you? I would be shocked if that were so.

    Harding and Lipscomb “both felt that Christians should just avoid politics altogether.” Hmmm. I think it would be disastrous if all Christians avoided politics. We would have no Chritians in any elected office.

    In any case, I look forward to reading your Sunday column. I always enjoy reading your blogs and columns, even if I don’t entirely agree.

  3. Mike the Eyeguy

    What amazes me though, Hal, is how successful was the spread of Christianity during its first 3 centuries prior to its followers having any access whatsoever to political or civil power.

    I think you’ll see come Sunday that I’m somewhere between David Lipscomb and the preacher at the rally in Bethlehem. Just call me “coolly ambivalent.”

    And thanks for sticking with me. I’ve lost several readers and friends this year, which just goes to show you how far civil discourse in this country has deteriorated and how divided we can become over things that ultimately don’t (or shouldn’t) matter.

  4. cg

    “…I’ve lost several readers and friends this year… over things that ultimately don’t (or shouldn’t) matter. ”

    Even though I believe that electing Obama could become one of the worst things to happen to this country, you haven’t lost me yet 🙂

    After all, BCS Bowls, KU hoops, and eventually March Madness are on the horizon. But it’s a little early to talk about that… more important things prevail at the moment.

  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    Thanks, cg, I appreciate that. Yes, let us unite around the “things that really matter!” 🙂

  6. cg

    BTW, I noticed you have Patrick Mead listed on your blogroll. He has a great post about politics today.

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    I’ve read and enjoyed Patrick’s stuff for years and have him on my Google reader. I always appreciate his thoughts and insights even in those cases when I don’t agree with him.

    I’m jealous of any Church of Christ that has the courage to host a political forum like that and allow their members to speak and hear things from a different perspective. That would probably never happen in the Deep South.

  8. Hal

    I have an old friend with whom I recently went backpacking for 4 days in the Sierras of California. We hadn’t seen each other in 17 years, and we discovered quickly that our political and religious views were considerably different. We had some great discussions while we hiked those 4 days and neither of us got upset with the other because we disagreed. I can’t imagine losing such a good friend over a political viewpoint.

    I would also disagree that civil discourse has deteriorated that much recently. Consider the bitter feud that Adams and Jefferson had. They were great friends, and didn’t speak to one another for years over divergent political beliefs and a dirty political campaign. See also Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton. There really is nothing new under the sun.

  9. Mike the Eyeguy

    I get your point, but the folks at that Bethlehem rally who spewed all that venom in the video are no Adams and Jefferson.

    Good Lord! The seed of William F. Buckley just announced he’s voting for a Democrat (click here)!

    Who’s next? George Will? Nancy Reagan?

    (Apparently all the traffic to that link has slowed the server. Be patient, it’s worth the read)

  10. Hal

    Well, OK. I don’t like the substance of the prayer you mention above either. Neither do I really care for the republican candidate in the race. If I wasn’t so stubbornly pro-life I might just join the seed of WFB myself.

  11. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hal, Google Doug Kmiec. You might be interested in some of the things he’s written this year.

    This one, especially.

  12. Mike the Eyeguy

    Oh, and Hal, I know that as a good Presbyterian you remember Francis Schaeffer and his son Frank.

    Check out Frank now (click here).

    And by the way, Frank’s son is in the Marines and has served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I thought I would just throw that one in there for free.

  13. Hal

    Those are both very good essays. I will certainly grant Schaeffer’s point that the Republicans have not fostered a culture of life either. I have read that the Democratic Party added reducing the number of abortions and supporting adoptions to their platform. I think that’s a great start. I wish they would also add eliminating, or at least reducing, government funded abortions to the platform as well. I know, I know…it’s not on the republican platform either.

    I wish I could trust the campaign promises I read about in the articles linked above.

  14. JRB

    Sorry, late to the game.

    One of my new favorite writers is Ta-Nahisi Coates on the Atlantic site. He wrote yesterday to the effect that the McC campaign and contemporary GOP have no concept of the powers they unleash when they flirt on the fringes of racism and fear-baiting, cloaking covert racism and other-fear under the guise of unanswerable questions like, “Can we really know he’s not Muslim, a terrorist, a socialist, a radical?” Then smiling as the mob starts to shout, “Terrorist! Off with his head!” in a tactic approval of the effect they have stoked.

    Then to pray over it all seems to me a bit unseemly.

    I prayed for Barack Obama today, at my desk at about 11:00, praying that the Good Lord protect the man and his family from those whose hate might just be on the verge of violence, with a wink and a nod from the keynote speaker.

  15. Mike the Eyeguy

    I’m fairly sure that you can’t trust the campaign promises that either side is making. I think the best that we could hope for from whichever candidate who wins is that he gets in there, figures things out in a hurry and leads well.

  16. Mike the Eyeguy

    JRB, I have a “liberal Southern law professor” comment filter on my blog and your last one got held up a little. Sorry about that.

    It now appears that Senator McCain is having second thoughts about this last week’s tactics (click here). He missed an opportunity to nip this stuff in the bud earlier this week when he very clearly heard the word “terrorist” during that speech, frowned (I think deep down that offended him), but then decided in a fateful split second not to correct the man.

    Better late than never, but they have really unleashed the dogs now. I have prayed for all 4 candidates the past 2 weeks, that they will watch their words and not compromise their souls–or the soul of the nation.

    I have told several people recently that Senator McCain will eventually apologize for the things that have happened since the RNC. Perhaps this is a start.

    Like I said above, politics can be a soul-compromising affair.

  17. doublevision

    If you have lost friends over your political views then they were not truly friends to begin with. Many miss out by not having a civil discourse about what is going on in the world today. I am a bit tired of the narrow mindedness of the left and the right.

    It is also amazing how many impose their views of the world, religion, politics and life upon God and make them His. It is a form of idolatry.

    Politics and religion do matter in the world and perhaps that is why they are taboo in public.

    The whole world and it’s various religious views and political views will require civil discourse for us to progress with any form of lasting peace in the future. Keep up your writing, no matter what they say.

  18. Mike the Eyeguy

    ‘preciate the encouragement, dv. Amen on the idolatry. I often say these days, “I believe in God more than ever. I just don’t believe all the things people say about him.”

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