Thursday, July 23, 2015
My God is MINE
Last month I had the privilege of visiting the Holy Land of Israel. The trip allowed for a very quick skim-through of Jerusalem. It’s a place where I could spend weeks absorbing the history, the architecture and the religious significance of the land. Circumstances were such that instead I got a preview – a few hours to get a sense of things. I remarked during the trip that this was like sightseeing on a cruise – a good sampler to learn where I want to come back and really delve in. I returned stateside to my worship community, glad to be back after having missed a number of weeks due to travel. The ritual in the service is one of the elements that resonates with me – that no matter what else is happening or wherever I’m participating in the service (spiritually or geographically) – that there is a constant of the service. I was not expecting to experience the service differently – why would it be any different? As the blessings and prayers were being said all of a sudden the impact of the ritual was deeper and more resonant for me because I had physically been where Jesus had. This reaction came after my brief visit. I can only imagine what it would be like after a real immersion. This moment reinforces how personal my God is to me, so I’m particularly troubled when I see God is bandied about as a political issue.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is one now 16 candidates vying for the 2016 GOP nomination. Raised Hindu, he is a fundamentalist Christian who invokes religion on an evangelical basis. In January 2015 at a prayer rally he said: “We need a spiritual revival to fix what ails our country. It is like God has given us the book of life. He doesn’t let us see the pages for today and tomorrow. He doesn’t promise us everything will go the way you want, but he does let you see the last page of the book of life — and on the last page, our God wins.”
In North Carolina “In God We Trust” is being added to 33 government buildings. Advocates inform their opponents that the expression is the National motto and therefore is fine to use.
July 30, 1956 – just about 59 years ago – Congress passed a resolution and President Eisenhower signed it making “In God We Trust” the national motto. In 2006 on the 50th Anniversary of the adoption of the motto the Senate reaffirmed it as the official motto of the U.S.
The ACLU and other rights groups have failed in their attempts to keep government buildings, courthouses, money, etc. devoid of a reference to a generic God. The rulings have repeatedly stated that by having God mentioned in a statement on a building doesn’t “establish” or “endorse” a particular religious and therefore is allowed. One’s definition of God can be applied – it’s not the state dictating it. Even with my prejudice as a person of faith, it seems to be an awfully blurry and convenient line to use one part of the First Amendment to overshadow the other.
The quiet time that individuals have at their temple, in the mosque, at Church, on a Mountain or wherever they make their spiritual connection (if any) is theirs and theirs alone. Government shouldn’t impede by declaring it from atop the entrance. And would be Presidents shouldn’t be putting his God up against other’s. (When Bush 43 did that the U.S. wound up in a twelve year military conflict.) My God is MINE. Leave her alone!