Saturday, October 11, 2008

I don't believe in an interventionist God

but a lot of folks do...like Pastor Conrad of the Evangelical Free Church who gave this invocation at a McCain rally in Iowa today:

"I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons," [Pastor] Conrad said.

"And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they're going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day,"

Things like this remind of Mark Twain's satiric story War Prayer. This story was written in 1904 in response to US involvement in the Phillipine-American War 1899-1902, but it was rejected for publication.
In the story a fiercely enthusiastic campaign to drum up public support for the war concludes with a Sunday worship service which extols the noble and patriotic crusade it's men are about to embark upon. The pastor delivers a long and fiery prayer. Towards the end of his prayer, a mysterious stranger interrupts the pastor, identifies himself as a messenger from God who has come to utter that part of the congregation's prayer which has not been spoken aloud in order to determine if the congregation does indeed wish that God grant that they have uttered. He proceeds to unpack their prayer for victory in stark terms. Here's the conclusion of his speech.
O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
The story ends with a line that drips with sarcasm.
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.
Be careful what you ask for,
K

1 Comments:

Blogger J. Marquis said...

Great post. Reminded of this cartoon I saw the other day:

http://laweekly.blogs.com/fish/images/2008/01/04/god.jpg

9:14 PM  

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