29 April 2013

bless

In what must be one of the most despicable statements uttered by a sitting President of the United States, while addressing a group of Planned Parenthood, followed his divisive comments by invoking God to bless the group in their efforts, along with America as a whole.  The highest ranking representative in the United States federal government, who is the first in line to protect the Constitution - the document which, along with the Declaration of Independence, seeks to build a society based upon the divine rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - sought a blessing on a group dedicated to the violent termination of life by ripping children from the wombs of their mothers, and has called upon God for the source of such blessing.

These words were thrown out as a concluding statement, and probably weren't meant to encompass the death-factories which Planned Parenthood has supported for many years.  Those who cry foul on the conservative response to his, "God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank You," could easily defend this as a friendly and well-wishing departure.  The president most likely didn't consider his remarks.  And therein lies a great problem.  We have a situation where the words god, bless, and you are simply devoid of their meaning.  Does the president know what it means for something to be blessed?  Which version of god does he appeal to (since his party had to remove-it-before-adding-it to their platform at the 2012 DNC)?  How does the president envisage this god granting his divine blessing?  And, what does the president mean by referring to you?

Perhaps we can still gain understanding in a world where words have lost their meaning . . .

It ought to be quite clear that the president is directing his warm regards to those who are in agreement with his ideological position.  Thus, his comments are best understood as given to those who are part of the organization which hosted him, along with those who are supportive of Planned Parenthood but who are not physically present.  How can we know this?  Because the remarks which he gave before - the content of his speech - were filled with attacks, divisive-language, straw-man, caricatured blasts against those who are pro-life.  He joined in the oft-repeated refrain of pro-life advocates wanting to return to the 1950's - which is ad hominem, that is, an attack against the person rather than an engagement with the argument.  He referred to pro-life legislation (which is being passed by States, who still legislate based upon the will of the People) as "absurd."  That he would extend a heartfelt salutation to those who stand against Planned Parenthood, after such childish and un-presidential comments, is unbelievable.

The same investigation is warranted for the president's understanding of blessing.  If Planned Parenthood is to receive such a gift, we might wonder what it entails.  In a biblical sense, to be blessed is to be happy, fortunate, congratulated, and prosperous; scripture understands blessing to be the fulfillment of a worldview of joy.  We live in a world where joy, in its fullest understanding, is not sought after very often.  Instead, ours is a culture of instant gratification, which is what most modern abortions are based upon in the first place.  The president rose to his power on the promises of blessing that weren't much deeper - hopes for new kitchens, cellphones, 'free' healthcare, etc.  So, it becomes clear that the president is not using the concept of blessing in a sense that has any specific depth of character.  This would be an out-of-place statement by someone whose track record reads precisely the opposite.  He is asking for the immediate gratification of the cause of Planned Parenthood which, in the context of his presidency, this speech in particular, and the history of the abortion movement, would be the annihilation of any who would dare hold to a pro-life position in our nation.  That is his blessing.

And then we must pause for a moment to ask which divinity is being invoked in these parting remarks. I am not interested to conduct a guessing-game of this president's personal faith.  He espouses to be a Christian, and some claim that he is devoted to other faiths.  If we are to accept his profession in Christianity, (even if we widen the boundaries of biblical faith to include the hate-filled, vile, and racist theology of the Chicago church in which this president actively participated for more than twenty years) then such a blessing stretches scripture's understanding of God.  Even in the often-harsh world of the Bible, where issues of genocide and infanticide are difficult realities, the repeated call of God and summons to his people is that the choose life, seek life, embrace a more abundant life, and share God's life with others.  God's plan for the world is that it would be redeemed and restored from its current state, and be transformed.  There is no image of a biblical God who would bless any nation or people that carelessly destroy the gift of life that he gives for the sake of our self-gratification and convenience.  I cannot speak to which god our president has in mind with his words, but I know that it is not the god who is revealed in the Bible.

Furthermore, there seem to be only two places where one can speak about God: as a general spiritualized emotional warmth that does nothing but produce happy thoughts in the individual, and as a general greeting that supposedly has no meaning, such as 'God bless you.'  Still, there are those who think that our present discussion is much-ado-about-nothing, since this is a parting greeting that probably wasn't meant to convey anything in the first place.  But, then, why say it?  If words are going to be used, then we ought to expect that words have meaning.  After all, the mean-spirited divisiveness of his previous remarks were intended to communicate a specific message.  Why not all of his words?

Hence,

"A slightly-spiritualized sense which brings an instant gratification of desire be upon you who are seeking the death of millions of unborn."

That is what the sitting president of the United States said, thereby further alienating more than half of the country, while again placing the federal government at odds with the general citizenry of the nation and States who have the rights to establish their own legislation.  It is no secret that the president seeks not the blessing of any who would dare disagree with him whatsoever.  This does not have to be the case in politics, but too often it is.  And the one who was touted as the great unifier has shown even more of his progressive agenda of divide-and-conquer by demonizing any opposition.

The American People have indeed been blessed, by the divine hand of Almighty God, who continues watch over his own and works to bring about the life, liberty and happiness to which all his creation pursues as divine Right.  In contrast to what is being done to our nation in these days, let us consider President Washington's prayer at his inauguration:

"Almighty God: We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.  And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.  Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."

No comments: