No God is Fine With Me

'The Separation Of Church And State' photo (c) 2010, Ian Sane - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Yesterday the Democratic party put God back in politics.

After initially excluding God from the original platform, they pushed him right back in yesterday by a really iffy vote.

I’m sure God is really happy to be shoe-horned back into politics.

I want to be really clear. My faith informs my political choices. I expect this is the case for most people of faith, even faiths outside of Christianity. What we believe tends to affect all areas our of lives, at least in some way.

However, I also want to be very clear that saying that my faith informs my political leanings is not the same thing as saying God informs my political leanings.

All too often I think we make that mistake in our language.

Faith is an individual, personal thing.  When I say personal, I don’t mean shameful. I don’t think that one needs to hide their faith. My faith is a part of who I am, and as such, there’s no escaping it. Even if I’m not speaking explicitly about my beliefs, they permeate my thoughts and will always come through in some fashion. I’m not demanding a kind of personal faith that is silent.

But no matter how much we might feel that what we believe is The Truth, it’s still personal. I think that’s okay; beautiful, even. Various perspectives give us a mosaic by which we are able to see more aspects of God’s nature. I love that.

What I don’t love, however, is when folks start speaking for God. When we move from “I believe” or “my faith teaches” or even “the Bible says” to the more broad “God says,” we begin speaking not only for God (which I always find a little bit dicey), but for others who may share our title, but who do not share our beliefs. Not to mention what it says to those who practice a completely different faith or who are without faith.

I am thankful that we live in a country where religious freedom is a part of our every day life. As a person of faith and a writer, this is something that I hold dear.

But God is not something that I want to use as a prop or worse, as a weapon. And as long as we live in a society where a high school student can be called an “evil little thing” and receive death threats from people speaking for God simply because she’s irreligious, I’m perfectly fine leaving God out of politics.

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What do you think? Should the DNC have included God language back into their platform? What place do you think that God has in politics?

  • http://www.JanetOberholtzer.com Janet Oberholtzer

    Totally agree with you!

    I would prefer neither party use any god and/or religion to make their policies because then we aren’t a country with freedom of religion, but a country with religion rule.

    btw… if interested, I’m registered as an independent.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      I just hate seeing the God card played. I mean, I don’t think we can get away from our beliefs influencing our politics. That’s just going to happen. But when it becomes a decree from on high, I get really uncomfortable. Besides, reducing God to a plank in a platform is really, really crass. Talk about taking the Lord’s name in vain.

      • Heidi K

        This. I also hate seeing the God card played because that just turns God into a card. Something to be used when convenient and disregarded the rest of the time. Which feels like God was never actually in there at all.

  • http://sarahaskins.com Sarah Askins

    Yes, I think God, Christian or associated with other faiths, needs to be removed from both political parties’ platforms. More often than not, God is used to sway voters, to incite division, and to bolster a specific political agenda. I don’t think God cares about politics as much as we say he/she does.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Exactly. I’d just really like to see it gone. Not from the discussion, but in any kind of official stance, definitely.

  • David Ozab

    “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other . . . The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.” —Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. I wish politicians today could invoke God with the same profound humility that Lincoln did, but since they can’t I’d rather they leave him out of it.

  • beverlyakabuddy

    I’m an Obama supporter and my husband and I are pretty much alone within our family and many of our friends on this. I am a leftwing Christian and believe that my views are closer to what Christ taught us and the commandments he left us with than the so-called “Christian Right.” However that the Republicans carry that label, and often the democrats are referred to as “godless” and our president as well, if we want to deal with the opposition on an equal level and perhaps sway the undecided, I think we need to include God. I’m glad for the nun who spoke at the Democratic Convention, as one of my beloved relatives truly believes that the Obama administration has infringed on Catholic religious rights by including birth control in the affordable insurance act. As long as God is the big motivavator with many voters, we need to use God on our side as well. If God or any religious references were eliminated as a talking point for both parties, and we only discussed the issues, that would be great, but when you are dealing with Bible thumping flag wavers who have managed to convince so many that they are “right” we can’t overlook chances to prove that democrats can believe in and love God too and that perhaps our political leanings reflect even more what the God they claim to believe in would have us do.

  • kt_writes

    You’ve highlighted that very fine line we need to keep an eye on—the difference between our personal faith informing how we each see the world, and the idea that God has one clear message for all of us, about something like how we should vote. Thanks for framing this important issue!

  • Diana Trautwein

    Oooh, good, good work here, Alise. Thank you.

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  • Miles_ONeal

    God has spoken, does speak and will speak. The question is how well we hear and what we do with it. We don’t live in a theocracy. Even in the Old Testament, when prophets spoke for God to kings, peoples and nations, it was quite different from the way God’s name gets invoked today in the political arena.
    That all changed with Jesus, anyway. He spoke to people in love, which changed their lives. Ultimately that’s the only way Christians will make a real, positive impact– by loving people, showing them who God is and his love for them.
    Sure, get involved in the process, discuss and vote. But since Jesus didn’t beat people over the head with the Bible, or with anything else, why would we think we should?
    God as a card, a prop, a weapon… those are truly scary, revolting concepts. I know I’ve been guilty in the past; I determined long ago never to go there again. If we were all truly accountable to one another as in the NT, so much of this would go away.