Thursday, October 23, 2008

God and the election

According to a yahoo news story, Sarah Palin has said that the election is now in God's hands.


Was the last election in God's hands? Or the one before that? How about in other countries -- does God choose the rulers there too?

In a few days, several hundred fundamentalist Christian ministers are going to pray in the San Diego arena for Prop 8 (the anti-same sex marriage bill) in California to pass on election day. You'd think they'd pray for something really important -- like the end of poverty or the war or homelessness or for jobs, equality, health. Nope, gay people who want to enter into legal committed relationships.

My own theology is that God is too big to worry about the 2008 elections, Presidential or otherwise. The only hands this election is in is OUR'S.

I'm spending the weekend making phone calls for my candidates and will spend part of election day driving people to the polls. What are your hands doing?


Bill Baar said...

We're all in God's hands Debra. I doubt Obama would disagree.

A servant for Christ said...

God's will is done through his people going out to vote. So whoever win, is what God wanted to happen. However the election is not important what is important is that we realize we need to be saved according to Acts 2:38. We need to sanctify oursevles and turn from our wicked ways in order to do what is pleasing in Gods sight.

Debra W. Haffner said...

Bill, I don't disagree either. I think she was saying that the outcome of the election would be determined by God's intervention. THAT'S where my theology differs. Even she has quoted Abraham Lincoln -- we don't pray to have God on our side, we pray to be on God's side. (and as universalists, that means everyone's side...)

Bill Baar said...

You denounce what you think Palin said.

Isn't it more just to express agreement with the literal words, if we can, than to speculate on the unspoken meaning?

Isn't that how we unite rather than divide?

Obama knows that. So does Palin.

Robin Edgar said...

What Bill Barr said, and then some. . .

Here is the pertinent text from that Associated Press article. In response to a question asking if she was "discouraged by polls showing the GOP ticket behind" Sarah Palin responded by saying -

"To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder. And it also strengthens my faith, because I'm going to know, at the end of the day, putting this in God's hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4. So I'm not discouraged at all."

The above (rather clumsy) statement can be readily interpreted as Sarah Palin simply meaning that she is *personally* "putting this in God's hands" i.e. personally submitting to the "will of God" and accepting the election results that will be known "at the end of the day" on November 4th, regardless of what they me be. There is very little in this statement that suggests that she believes that God will somehow intervene on behalf of the Republican Party so that they may win the election. She then went on to say -

"When we hear along the rope lines that people are interceding for us and praying for us, it's our reminder to do the same, to put this all in God's hands, to seek his perfect will for this nation, and to of course seek his wisdom and guidance in putting this nation back on the right track."

It is open to broader interpretation but can also be readily interpreted as I have suggested above, simply submitting to the will of God, whatever it may be. OTOH It could also be interpreted in a way that suggests that Sarah Palin actually believes that God is on the side of the Republican Party and that the GOP represents the "perfect will (of God) for this nation". In light of what Paul said in Romans 13:1-7, a passage that Sarah Palin is likely to be quite aware of, I would give Sarah Palin the benefit of the doubt until such a time as she makes a statement that very clearly indicates that she believes that God is on the side of the Republican Party. Sarah Palin's statements, in their present form, can easily be interpreted as simply meaning that Sarah Palin will accept it as being part and parcel of God's "perfect will" if Barack Obama and the Democratic Party prevail on November 4th.

So what did St. Paul say U*Us ask? Herewith Romans 13:1-7 -

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.

6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.

7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

BTW I am playing Devil's Advocate to some degree here. I am simply trying to present how a Bible believing Christian like Sarah Palin is likely to perceive the role of God in this U.S. election and politics more generally. I do not necessarily hold to these beliefs myself. If I am right we can expect to see Sarah Palin graciously accept the results of God's "perfect will" if Barack Obama and the Democrats win the election. ;-)

erin richardson said...

"My own theology is that God is too big to worry about the 2008 elections, Presidential or otherwise. The only hands this election is in is OUR'S."


You're right. Our God is enormously, incomprehensibly big. But you're also wrong. You are effectively saying that there are things too little for God to "worry", or care about - in this case, the 2008 US elections.

Remember who our God is.

The God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, who promised and produced descendants numbering the stars; the God of the Moses, who parted seas; God the Father of Jesus Christ, who died; Jesus Christ, wholly man and wholly God, who lived again; God the Spirit, sent at Pentecost to empower (Acts 1:8) and encourage us (Acts 9:31).

This God, who cares deeply about the big picture, is also WILLINGLY and ACTIVELY engaged in the day to day lives of His people. Read Matthew 10: 26-31.

Two sparrows are sold for a penny. Small change, no big deal, just a detail. But Jesus says that not a single sparrow dies without God knowing and willing it to be. Jesus says He knows the exact number of hairs on our head (and no fair, ladies, plucking the grays - He'll know what you're up to!).

If God cares about the lifespan of sparrows and our follicle counts, it's pretty safe to say that He cares about things that we call "details".

So yes, God cares about the elections, and like the sparrows, nothing can happen "apart from the will of your Father" (Mt 10:29). God's hands are on everything.