In this age of social media and networking, we are deluged with information daily. We talk, text, tweet and email back and forth, then on top of that we join organization and list serves that forward their news. Sometimes we get forwarded stuff that we don’t like. The following is a forwarded message I received and the response I sent back:
ONE MINUTE EACH NIGHT
This is the scariest election we as Christians have ever faced, and from the looks of the polls, The Christians aren’t voting Christian values. We all need to be on our knees. Do you believe we can take God at His word? Call upon His name, then stand back and watch His wonders unfold. This scripture gives us, as Christians, ownership of this land and the ability to call upon God to heal it.
I challenge you to do that. We have never been more desperate than now for God to heal our land. This election is the scariest I remember in my lifetime.
2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray,
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
During WWII, there was an advisor to Churchill, who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute, to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace. This had an amazing effect, as bombing stopped.
There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America .
The United States of America , and our citizens, need prayer more than ever!!! If you would like to participate, each evening at 9:00 P.M. Eastern Time (8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific), stop whatever you’re doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, for peace in the world, the upcoming election, that the Bible will remain the basis for the laws governing our land, and that Christianity will grow in the U.S.
If you know anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along. Someone said if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.
Thank you. Please pass this on to anyone who you think will want to join us. God Bless You!!!
(end email forward)
So this kind of thing gets my blood boiling. 90% of it is either good hearted or at least a harmless exercise (if you don’t believe in prayer or God). I can’t think of a good reason for anyone – atheist, Muslim, or Hare Krishna – to begrudge a group of people from praying if they choose too. The remaining 10% though (which I believe is the whole reason the email forward piece was created), crosses the line from a commendable suggestion for solidarity to a subversive play to push the Bible as a founding document for the nation. As Lakoff taught me, simply getting these words to the eyes of thousands of people (via “viral” email) turns our brains on and normalizes the concepts presented. Seeing them, thinking them, and hearing them makes the reality a bit more possible – even if there isn’t a huge action item around it.
Here is my response to the email:
The power of love, people pulling together and God, is awesome. I can get on board with that. I would add something about helping all of the people of the world to find peace and feel secure. However, there is one part of this suggestion that I feel is dangerous, “the Bible will remain the basis for laws governing our land”. The Bible has never been the basis for laws governing our land, The Constitution is the document that is the basis for governing our land; it was the only document agreed upon by the founders.
If I thought that everyone would interpret the Bible the same way that I do, in a way that promotes Christ-like unconditional love and acceptance of your fellow human, I could get behind a push to change our founding documents. However, we all know that there is no one way that people interpret the Bible (nor any hope or effort at consensus). There are a whole lot of folks out there talking about the Bible that do not promote Christ like love, they use the Bible as a tool to get what they want and to persecute others. I find that extremely offensive. I would never want someone to be in power that used the Bible for their own personal agenda or power plays.
This is very difficult to write because I know many people I love very much might disagree with me and are on this list. I purposefully don’t engage in politics with much of my family because emotions run high and I would rather spend the little time I see my extended family doing more joyful things (like loving them unconditionally!). I feel very strongly that there should be a separation of church and state, the first amendment establishes that. While we might be a nation chock full of Christians, we’ve gotten there without having a national religion and we are not a nation governed by Christianity.
Any leader or citizen can use the Bible and their spiritual beliefs as a template for life, no one is saying it cannot be included as a personal guide. If you like how a candidate is guided by the spirit, by all means, vote for them! Work to get the principles that motivate and inspire you to be implemented into our laws, but please, please, please keep the roulette wheel of Biblical interpretation out of our laws (it’s hard enough to deal with interpretations of our secular documents). I would never want a “Fred Phelps” kind of Christian anywhere near a governing body (his church’s website is here).
I believe there is a faction of people out there that want an audience of good hearted Christians to be on their side – which for the most part, they are – but their real agenda is to change the foundation of this country’s laws to be religious laws. As an American and as a Christian, I have to stand firm and say “NO!”
Peace to us all,
(On a personal note, this is where the rubber meets the road for me. I am the most liberal person in my large extended family; if there are other liberals in my family, they keep it on the down low – my family culture does not take kindly to liberal rhetoric and is not afraid to say so. I was born in the heartland of the country, in the bible belt and feel like a bit of a “black sheep” when I am there because the conservative Christian culture pervades life at every facet. I also kept most of my views on the down low to keep the peace. I love my family. They are kind, loving, generous, and accepting of me and all of my personal faults. They are the real reason I am so passionate about having civil discourse – but it is still exhausting to get into political battles with them when I’d rather just enjoy time together. The conservative Christian culture is so pervasive that I am often included (though I don’t think it is a secret that I am a liberal) in an assumption that things are, or should be, a particular way. Today is the day I publicly “outed myself. The gloves are off… but it’s because I want to shake hands (or hug) and start this election season with a respectful, meaningful exchange.)