Yesterday I heard a program on NPR where people from Texas were being interviewed about that state seceding from the Union. Following the re-election of President Barack Obama, a petition began circulating requesting that the Lone Star state be allowed to secede. It has over 100,000 signatures thus far, with more coming, it is said. Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not support secession, but not even his voice can stop the groundswell of support for secession.
One of the leaders of the movement explained that the movement began because Texans are troubled by the nation’s policies. Said that leader:told Politico that “Obama’s reelection was a “catalyzing moment” for his group’s efforts to leave the United States. He insists, “This is not a reaction to a person but to policy” and what they see as a federal government that is disconnected from its constituents.” (http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/14/should-texas-be-allowed-to-secede-from-the-union/?iref=allsearch)
While I don’t believe for one moment that what’s going on in Texas is not about a person, namely President Obama, I am very concerned and confused as I listen to people, from Texas and from elsewhere, who say that we now live in a “Godless” country – a statement one of the callers made on the NPR program.
A pro-secession guest agreed with her, saying that America is no longer the America they have known, which means that God used to be here, but is now absent? Is that what people think?
When did God leave America? Does God do that?
OK, I know that in the Hebrew scriptures, God, disappointed with the fact that the Israelites did not keep the covenant they had made with God, they disobeyed God continually, they worshiped idols, they continually did “what was wicked in God’s eyes,” as is stated over and over in the Bible – but haven’t we in America always done that? Haven’t we always been a stubborn people, refusing to listen to God? If that is so, why would God wait until now to …turn on us and leave us?
Is discrimination pleasing to God? I mean, discrimination against black people, Native Americans, women, the elderly, gays and lesbians… Was God with the signers of the Declaration of Independence and did God ordain the signers’ misrepresentation of their intentions when they wrote “all men are created equal” when they knew in their hearts they didn’t mean “all” men, but just a privileged few?
Do people think God is absent because the demographics of this country are changing, making us a truly pluralistic nation? What? God doesn’t want a pluralistic nation? Is God absent now because more and more non-white people are going to the polls and making their voices heard, which is different from the voice of white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants?
I know people are upset about same-sex marriages, but has God left America because of that becoming a new normal? Has God left us because our government has tried to help people survive who were devastated by the recent recession? Was the government supposed to do nothing and let the people just wing it? Did God not approve of the intervention made to help people who used to be self-sustaining but were swallowed by our horrible economy?
When does God leave God’s people?
If we were to list the grievances God has against us, what would be the first three on God’s list?
I am really trying to understand why people think America is a godless nation now, as opposed to before when so many other things were going on which were a violation even of the Greatest Commandment, which says that we should “love the Lord our God with all our minds and with all our hearts and all our souls…and our neighbors as ourselves. If God demands that, and we as a nation clearly have not done that, then why would God leave now?
What would a nation in which God still resides look like? What should America look like today? Are racism, sexism, militarism all right with God? Didn’t Jesus tell us to reach out to “the least of these?” So if the government is doing that, is the government offending God?
I am confused. What is America’s theology? What is it as opposed to what people think it should be? Because if God is absent from America, we are in big trouble, and we need to get right with God, quick and in a hurry.
A candid observation …
5 thoughts on “Is God Absent?”
Don’t be confused. God’s leaving America means exactly what you said– in the minds of bigots and racists!
Well said Pastor Wright; Pastor Sue, the only way for people feel that God has left the building is because in some way, some how he or she has not found pleasing in what God is doing in America, just like he shook up those who were trying to build the tower; God has shaken up America. Enjoyed you writing very powerful.
People always want to pull in God’s name often to further their selfish objectives and to support their plan. But I don’t think that’s really how God works. As you said, people have a history of disappointing God, there’s no reason why he would just be absent now as opposed to times in history where the nation and people as a whole were engaged in grave injustices like slavery.
I can’t believe God is pleased with what is going on. I often wonder why God doesn’t stop us from being so human in our capacity to destroy each other.