God’s New Partner

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August 20, 2009 | Comments

So now God is the tool. The man tried velvet. The man called out the media, and he toyed with the race card. He tried threats, he tried guilt, and he tried civil rights in his unceasing quest for that magic bullet that will finally win the masses over to his side on the socialized health-care debate/debacle. As all else has failed, he now turns to God.

God has indeed played a prominent role in the characterization of Barack Obama. Our President has been likened to God by the news media he carries around in his pocket, jokes about his anointing are rampant, and he has been facetiously christened “the messiah” by those who object to his image as someone beyond criticism, beyond reproach, beyond media scrutiny, and beyond all human frailty. But yesterday, in a calculated quest for victory, he tried a new tact: He played the God card.

Yesterday for the first time, the President of the United States readily accepted the whole God connection that has long hounded him, when he stated to a gathering of rabbis that “we are God’s partners in matters of life and death.” Clever move. We can’t say no to God, can we? And if God speaks through Barack Obama, now apparently self-elevated to spiritual leader of the people, on such pesky matters as life and death, well, who are we to argue?

To say that I am horrified by such a shameless display of arrogance would be an understatement of explosive proportions (and I’m hoping God isn’t all that impressed either). While I personally believe that the President has gotten a charge out of the God/Supreme Being comparisons, I never dreamed he would so openly jump on that train. And to a gathering of rabbis, no less. Did they give him a pass?  I don’t know. I hope they didn’t.

 I can tell you that my family’s parish priest certainly would have called him on it. A veteran with a fierce love for America, our pastor has been quite honest and heartfelt in sharing his feelings about the prospect of the government deciding who among us should live and who should die. This, he has stated unequivocally, not only violates the Christian faith and all faiths that value the human spirit, but also the founding documents of our nation that grant us the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” As someone who has also read these documents, I don’t remember seeing mention of government bureaucrats or czars determining how the first item on that list will be managed, distributed and controlled.

But it didn’t end there. Oh, no. After proclaiming his divine partnership on Wednesday, his newfound position as spiritual leader, the President today informs us – by way of yet another health-care campaign event with a gathering of clergy – that to oppose these promising health-care proposals is, essentially, akin to committing a sin. Peppering his prepared speech with biblical references, he admonished us to “be our brother’s keeper” (a mission he accused us of neglecting and failing to uphold), he referred to passage of his health-care bill as our “core moral obligation,” and he accused those who don’t support his agenda as “bearing false witness.”

As Dana Carvey’s classic Saturday Night Live Church Lady of Church Chat fame back in the 80s might ooze in her imitable nasal whine: “W…e…e…e…l…l…l, isn’t that special.”

Though the President’s media pals tried valiantly to underplay it, we are all well aware of the church that God’s new partner and his family attended over the past decades, and the incendiary messages that emanated from its pulpit (though the President apparently missed them). Those of us who have spent that same amount of time in, shall we say, more traditional houses of worship – Christian and Jewish alike – we are left wondering not only how and when God decided that the President of the United States – any President of the United States – would now be his equal partner in “matters of life and death,” but also how we missed the commandment that opposing the presidential/congressional agenda was essentially a sin. I never heard Charlton Heston read that one from those stone tablets.

I am reminded of the magnificent mini-series “I, Claudius,” when a crazed emperor Caligula confesses joyfully to his uncle Claudius that he has become a god. It’s good to be king, we have long heard, but according to John Hurt’s Caligula, and perhaps a certain president we know, as well, it’s even better to be a God – or at least God’s partner. The God-fearing men who wrote our country’s founding documents were guided by the desire to protect the grand experiment that is our country from monarchy. Methinks they never would have dreamed that someone would someday come along, bypass the lowly king level altogether, and grasp for the exalted deity ring instead.

Most who know God can recognize what is authentic and what isn’t, the first sign of authenticity being humility. It is downright embarrassing and disgraceful to see our God used as a threat, a tool, a club, for phony, political pandering. Even more disgraceful, would be for men and women of God to give such pandering a pass.

Betsy Siino | Comments