September 2, 2011

Michele Bachmann's God

I’m frightened by religious conservatives.  I worry that if the world is put under their control, we’ll have a society that cares only about getting the government off our backs (except when it comes to the regulation of bedroom behavior).  The flip side of their ideals is the elimination of policies and programs that were meant to actualize our most unselfish and laudable dreams. 

For now, the poster child of the movement seems to be Michele Bachmann, who recently said in a campaign speech:

I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians.  We’ve had an earthquake, we’ve had a hurricane.  He (God) said, “Are you going to start listening to me here?”

If this was meant as a joke, it doesn’t even deserve a smirk.  Irene left 24 dead and billions of dollars in property damage in her wake.  To suggest that the storm was God’s will is ridiculous, but the sentiment is consistent with a belief among right wing Christians that God is vengeful and angry and quick to destroy what He has created in order to get attention.  If that’s God’s true nature, why do we worship Him except to avoid destruction?  And if we only worship Him to avoid destruction, how can we say He’s a God of love, or that we’re unselfish in our obedience?

Bachmann’s assertion reminds me of the language rules that Nazi Germany once employed to make unconscionable acts appear noble and to mitigate the opinions of detractors.  The murder of Jews, for example, was described in reports and other documents as The Final Solution, as if the holocaust was just a small problem on the way to getting fixed.  Heinrich Himmler could move grown men to tears with speeches that acknowledged the horror of the genocide, but would assure troops that the work was for a grand and righteous purpose that only the strong in heart had the moral character to fulfill.  Yet it was still murder.

Is it true that God took 24 lives to show His displeasure over Washington politics?  Not the God I worship.