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A Fool's Bet and the Presumption of Ignorance

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Brian 1:2     So spake the Fool in prayer before the angry masses on that 11th Day of October 2008, the year of our Lord: "there are millions of people around this world praying to their god--whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah--that [Barack Obama] wins, for a variety of reasons.  And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they're going to think that their God is bigger than you if that happens." 

Brian 1:3     And lo, the huddled mob--rabid with loathing and stricken, like others before them, with a fear of change and leaders of color--praised the Fool with applause.  And both were pleased in their ignorance.

The fool in question of course is Arnold Conrad, former pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church, pleading with God at a John McCain rally in Iowa. However, unlike the shrewd fools in literature from Socrates to Shakespeare, this one is anything but wise.

For the sake of argument, let's ignore the fact he's a pastor and alleged scholar of religion and give the Fool the benefit of the doubt. After all, an imbecile can't reasonably be expected to know that Hindu is not a god (or even a proper noun for that matter), Buddha isn't a deity either, and neither are prayed to by anyone.  Anywhere. 

And of course, while any average idiot--except this one apparently--knows Allah is the same God prayed to and worshiped by Christians and Jews, we needn't require Pastor Arnie to understand these or other religions and cultures. Why? Because, despite his Doctor of Ministry degree, that brand of cultural sensitivity and theological understanding is anathema to a myopic and intellectually incurious fundamentalist.

The pomposity of this self-righteous dolt notwithstanding, I'm always amazed by proselytizers who pray, prattle and pontificate with the arrogant assumption they know who God is rooting for--as if God has a  stake or interest in a particular candidate.  

Prayers like Pastor Arnie's are futile of course and as patently absurd as asking the almighty to intervene in the Superbowl.  But the obvious silliness doesn't stop so many evangelicals from so frequently contending Republicans are the party of God and John McCain (R-Nazareth) is Christ's personally vetted nominee for President. Their presumption is as comical as their worldview is provincial.

My personal hunch is that God doesn't much care about American electoral politics but, if s/he does, I doubt s/he'd be categorically opposed to a Democrat.  Barack Obama is a Christian.  He was "saved," he was baptized, and he was a regular congregant in a Church of Christ for over 20 years.  

Besides--from the right to universal health care, nondiscrimination, and racial/gender equality to the eradication of poverty, earning of a living wage, dealing with AIDS and tax relief for those who actually need it--Democrats and their standard-bearers have traditionally favored policies uniquely more suited for and geared towards the middle and working classes and the poor/disenfranchised.  In other words, Obama's policies tend to support the very people that the foolish pastor's God named "the Salt of the Earth" in the best-selling book s/he "authored" thousands of years ago.

Christ didn't say much in favor of the free market, unprovoked war, assault weapons for "hunting," or tax-cuts for the rich and he was completely silent on those "cardinal sins" of abortion and gay marriage.  But he did have an abundance of opinions about equality, justice, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and love, as well as leaving judgment of others to God and taking care of our neediest brothers and sisters.

So frankly, Pastor Arnie, I still don't think God is rooting for either candidate, but if s/he is, given their agreement on the issues, my money's on Obama. I'll give you 5:1 odds on your money for McCain, but I'd call that a Fool's Bet.

Matthew 25:40 "And the King answering shall say to them, 'Verily, I say to you, Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me.'"

 

Brian is an independent writer and US political commentator.
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