God’s side

The prophetic tradition in Judeo-Christian theology urges that we measure social policy against a standard of justice, that we seek God’s will.  It’s easy to transition from that principle to invoking God’s blessing on something we’ve already decided.  The ABC News interview called Sarah Palin to task for claiming the Iraq war was “God’s plan,” but she was on safer ground in her actual comments, urging it would seem for congregants to pray that it was God’s plan.  The implication that God is on the U.S. side, however, is seen in the widespread tendency for political figures to ask for prayers only for U.S. troops.  Earlier she slipped back to the more ego-centric view of God, urging that “God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that.”  The exchange shows how difficult it is for journalists to handle theological expression from candidates, even while that expression is becoming more widespread.  (we will discuss other issues of journalism and religion later in the semester).

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10 Responses to “God’s side”

  1. Ashlyn Says:

    It is natural for a person, especially a politician, to assume that God is on their side. However, I think the divisions between countries and cultures go against the true point of Christianity and most other religions, for that matter.

  2. jordan yeh Says:

    Its not really a safe thing to say that the iraq war is God’s plan. And you cant really say whose side God is on, so this seems to be a difficult situation for journalists to deal with both objective information as well as religion.
    It definitely is true that politicians are constantly referring to “God” in their speeches and comments. They keep mentioning that God bless us and God bless this and that, and obviously they would say God bless America rather than blessing any enemy country. All of these references to God put the journalists into a tight situation where its difficult to express anything regarding God’s will and political speech. It would be up to the people to decide what they shall pray for.

  3. jordan yeh Says:

    It is tough for journalists to report on politicians and God’s will. It is not certain and for any particular person to decide. So it is completely up to the people to decide who to pray for and who they think God is siding with.

  4. Laura Says:

    I think that too often people use religion as an excuse or guise for their actions, instead of directly addressing the issue at hand. “It’s God’s will” is a lot easier of an answer to provide than a real explanation, which would require significantly more thought and reflection upon consequences brought about by human decisions.

    Theological beliefs have a meaningful place for millions of people, but is it really in excuse-making? Even as a Protestant Christian, I don’t at all like to see this blending of political explanation and religion. A potential vice presidential or presidential candidate should be a spokesperson for Americans on the whole, and not all of them are Christian or religious. Not by a long shot.

    And how does Sarah Palin argue that she knows the will of God? Who died and made her Pope?

  5. Ben Freed Says:

    When I see things like this I am reminded of the terrific line in the movie “Head of State” with Chris Rock.

    The person running against Chris Rock likes to say: “G-d bless America, and nobody else.” but Chris Rock, running on a platform of “that ain’t right” changes it to “G-d bless America, and everybody else.”

    Any body else think Chris Rock has a point?

  6. Alexandria Walters Says:

    I think that maybe we need more of our leaders to believe in God, for that is what this country was founded on. This country was founded on Christian morals. I think it is a good thing that she has said these things.

  7. Jesse Says:

    The issue of religion and spiritual beliefs should be completely seperate from our politics and any action our country takes. Otherwise this excuse of “Gods Will,” can be an excuse for essentially any decision made by our leaders. It is the publics duty to hold our political leaders accountable for their actions, and statements is their attempt to pass any blame to a higher power.

    The idea that religion is important to the background of any politician is a backward notion. We need to stop worrying about religious values, it is up to the individual what they want to believe, and the only time that becomes an issue is when they try to impose their beliefs on someone else.

    I also wanted to point out that Sarah Palin used to be a Pentecostal when she was younger, something that many people tend to not pay attention to. However, I remember that Obama was under fire for a notion that he was Muslim. Why is this double standard happening among our politics? Does it say anything about the tactics of each political side?

  8. Brandon Greenspan Says:

    Wow, it sounds so simple. If we want something good to happen, all we have to do is pray. I totally agree with Laura. Religion is a cover-up for logic and reason when it comes to politics. When was the last time you heard someone straight out admit that the reason they are against gay marriage because they are f***ing homophobic bigots? You never do hear that, it’s always the same BS about it being the sanctity of marriage. I believe that the bible also says no pork, yet ham is a quite popular dish for Christmas. Also, in terms of sanctity, many people using that argument are also the ones caught f***ing young boys. Tell me how that protects the sanctity of marriage. I may seem extremely bias, but gay marriage is an issue where the opposition just pisses me off and has not given a good reason for their standpoint.

  9. Nicole Says:

    I disagree with assumption that we need leaders who believe in God. Morality is not exclusive to religion. I would rather know what my future president thinks of the Constitution than how he views the Bible. However, as biased as it may be, candidates who are extremely religious make me uneasy. Religion requires faith with no evidence. If Palin believes the Iraq war is God’s plan, then who cares what reasons there are against it. Religion, when combined with politics, tends to produce arrogance and stubbornness.

  10. God & Darwin followup « press conference Says:

    […] with a certain kind of religious belief into what I termed “political fundamentalism” (exemplified by figures like Sarah Palin, and her “speaking for God” vs. “speaking …). In short, I would argue that journalists should regard the “intelligent design” […]

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