Just when you think it is safe to move on to more temporal subjects, politicians become increasingly religious and religious leaders become more and more political.
The latest examples are Pat Robertson, the former presidential candidate and religious broadcaster, and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean (again).
Robertson told his television audience he believed he had "heard from the Lord" that President Bush was going to win in a "blowout." The Lord has blessed Bush, said Robertson, and "it doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad. God picks him up because he's a man of prayer and God's blessing him."
It is hard to know where to begin to challenge this line of thinking. Not since God appeared directly to Moses in a burning bush and to the Old Testament prophets and early New Testament apostles has any sane person claimed this kind of direct revelation. In fact, God told Moses he could only look at His back since no human could face God and live. The light of His glory is too powerful.
Robertson doesn't claim a face-to-face with the Almighty. He hears His voice. No one else hears what he does. This is subjective religion. If one "feels," it's "real." Religious feelings supplant objective truth and make the individual a high priest unto himself, above mere mortals who apparently are not on the "A" access-to-God list.
There is another problem with Robertson's theology. Cliff Bjork of the tiny "Searching Together" ministry (www.searchingtogether.org) in Minnesota wrote to me after reading Robertson's remarks. Bjork says Robertson's comments "betray the false premise that God cannot accomplish His will for a nation unless the people elect men (or women) of high 'moral' convictions to positions of authority - especially, of course, when it comes to the U.S. presidency and congressional leadership. I guess the rise to power of men like Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Manasseh, Jeroboam, Herod, Nero, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Amin, Ceausescu, (Clinton?), not to mention (Pontius) Pilate, Herod, et al. must have represented a failure on the part of the citizens of their respective nations and a setback for God's purposes."
The idea that God would reach down and prophesy an election outcome to one man, who then says President Bush could even do wrong and God would keep him in office, offers joke material to Leno and Letterman and brings the Christian Gospel into further disrepute before unbelievers. It could also put a lot of pundits out of work!
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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