Smile Politely

Praying for political ends

As if calling Obama a socialist, a racist, and a Hitler isn’t enough, some conservatives have finally taken the gloves off.  They are now openly and brazenly praying for him.

The Liberty Council, affiliated with Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, has created an “Adopt a Liberal” program, and identified those in power who need to become “a good influence on our Nation’s culture.”

So far so good, until you find out their defintion of “good influence.”  They seem to have reduced Christianity to homophobia, gun rights, anti-abortion, and fear of socialism and immigrants. So I guess it’s not a surprise that most Democrats are on the list of those needing prayer.  Perhaps they should add Jesus himself to the list, since Jesus was a known egalitarian who taught against fear and violence. And unlike most modern, right-wing Christians, he was silent about homosexuality.

Nonetheless, I understand the impulse to pray.  When you have no ability to influence events gone horribly wrong, prayer is what you turn to. I remember praying before Colin Powell was about to give his big Iraq War speech to the UN Security Council. I figured that Bush was already beyond the reach of prayer but that Powell might still be vulnerable, especially since the war was about to violate every tenet of his own “Powell Doctrine.”

I prayed that Powell would find his backbone and dramatically warn everyone that the whole thing was going to be a huge disaster. Instead, he waved a vial of anthrax in front of the TV cameras and used his credibility to move public opinion towards invasion. Then as now, God is steadfast in favoring free will over setting things right.

I’m not a big believer in petitionary prayer, and not just because of Colin Powell.  I figure God is going to do what God is going to do.  If God changed course based on impassioned pleading, there would be more lottery winners and fewer unplanned pregnancies in the world.

Instead, God takes the long view.  Let people invade other countries and transfer wealth to the privileged and gut government agencies. Eventually economic meltdowns and hurricanes and history will unmask them.  And let others attempt to provide health care reform or a stronger social safety net or a fairer distribution of resources in the world. Amid all the screeching and lying and praying, it might actually happen.  Especially if enough of us demand that those in authority be “a good influence on our Nation’s culture.”

So, I guess I’ll say thanks for thinking of us, Liberty Council. Being prayed at is much more pleasant than being yelled over or lied to. Perhaps they can even find it in their hearts to pray for the common good.  Health care reform can use all the help it can get at this point.

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