Has Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend God?
Has Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend God?
By Sheila Samples
Has anybody here seen my old friend God?
Can you tell me where He's gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good die young.
But I just looked around and He's gone...
~~ apologies to Dion for changes to "Has Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend John?"
My friend Bernie says he'd fork over big bucks to get a good look at George Bush's god. Bernie says he'd like to ask him face-to-face why he ordered Bush to go on a bloody rampage, kill all those innocent people, and then just leave Bush hanging out there stammering inanely about liberating "folks whose skin is a different color than white," while passing out freedom tickets like it was the Texas Lottery.
"I wanna know who's in charge up there in Mission Control," Bernie roared. "You gotta have a plan for stuff like this. I mean, if you're God, you got a plan -- right? Looks like a guy who created the whole universe -- put the sun and the moon in just the right places -- whipped up Adam and Eve, then filled the world with trees and oceans and birds and fish and animals and --"
"Bernie --" I interrupted, while dodging his flailing arms. "Calm down and think about this reasonably. Look," I said, "maybe Bush is following the wrong plan. Or," I suggested helpfully, "--maybe he's following the wrong god..."
"-- But I just read Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack," Bernie babbled, ignoring me. "Bush told Woodward God was sending him on a mission. Bush believes God hand-picked him to be president. Bush told Woodward he was a messenger of God's will. And guess what--" Bernie said, stopping to catch his breath, "--when Woodward asked if he checked with Poppy about going to war, Bush laughed in his face. Nosiree, Bush didn't stop with Poppy. He told Woodward there was a higher 'father' he appealed to, and he went right on up the pike till he got to the Big Guy. See?" Bernie said. "That proves that Bush and God were in cahoots from the get-go..."
Bernie shook his head in bewilderment. "I just don't get it," he said. "I can't believe how much God has changed in the last four years. God has always been there when folks needed Him. But -- I dunno -- now, He's different. He's...He's..."
"Gone?" I blurted out impulsively, scaring both of us. "Bernie -- God hasn't changed! He's gone!"
Shocked into silence, Bernie glared at me for a long moment, then turned and stomped out, still muttering darkly.
Poor Bernie. But as usual, he got me to thinking. As a Christian, I cannot come to grips with the premise that God got us into this mess -- that God is the shadowy figure behind the throne, whispering into Bush's ear to dishonor our nation, disgrace our armed forces and destroy tens of thousands of innocent people. Only a tyrant storms in and out of the affairs of common men, robs them of their way of life, of hope, of free thought -- and randomly and maliciously tortures, even slaughters, those who dare oppose him. Only a tyrant who, as Aristotle wisely noted, "must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion." Aristotle also pointed out that "Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious..."
It is a tragedy of staggering proportions that American Christians are so delusional that ever-widening congregational circles are little more than "subjects" of George Bush and his Bible-thumping, rabid, right-wing administration. Christians accept through blind faith that God is the architect of Bush's personal "war on terror and evildoers." Why else would they remain deathly silent in the face of everything they know for a fact is abhorrent to both their Creator (God) and their Savior (Jesus)? Where is the righteous outcry against pre-emptive attacks on innocent men, women and children at home and abroad? Where is the Christian outpouring of compassion, mercy -- agape love? Who is caring for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the wounded, the elderly? Who is burying the dead?
It's faith-shattering to realize that the wondrous salvation offered by that ancient and most wonderful man of Galilee -- teachings that have endured over a span of more than 2,000 turbulent years -- are suddenly meaningless. Surely, those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ are under a spell; they are bewitched by a shallow destructive fool who petutantly demands special treatment and obedience because he is -- Praise God -- "born-again." Is there not one Christian who will dare to point out that, in his foolish crusade to rid the world of evil -- a task that only God can perform -- Bush has murdered more innocent people in the last two years than all terrorists combined?
Just one Christian. Just one with the courage to say the unsayable -- that George Bush has no knowledge of objectivity nor values...that he likely is unable to even pronounce "metaphysics," let alone understand its spiritual implications, and is unable to form a philosophical concept of a true God. Is there not even one Christian who misses God and His blessed influence in everything around us -- the poetry of life, the music, the sun-lit laughter inspired by goodness and mercy -- the sheer joy of reaching out to help those in need -- the most vulnerable among us?
The silence of the lambs is inexplicable. Apparently no longer able to discern who, or even where, God is, Christians stand mute before angry and power-mad religious right-wing evangelicals like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay who -- like most out-of-control zealots -- are quite mad. Although they tend to go underground just prior to an election, they are busy behind the scenes in a decades-long, non-stop crusade to gain control of the machinations of government. If Christians are not trembling at the holy war launched against Americans for control of their faith, their lives and their country -- they should be.
Nobody has worked longer nor more feverishly for a Christian coup d`etat in America than Robertson. "What Christians have got to do," Robertson reported in his Religious News Service in May 1990, "is take back this country, one precinct at a time, one neighborhood at a time, and one state at a time...I honestly believe that in my lifetime we will see a country once again governed by Christians..."
Gary Potter, president of Catholics for Christian Political Action, agrees. "When the Christian majority takes over this country, there will no satanic chruches, no more free distribution of pornography, no more talk of rights for homosexuals. After the Christian majority takes control, pluralism will be seen as immoral and evil, and the state will not permit anybody the right to practice evil."
Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, is relentless in his cross-country quest to sign up intolerant religious fanatics who will work to wrest this nation from the lukewarm and mealy-mouthed Christian left. I call him "Scary Terry," and dissolve into uncontrollable sobs at the mere thought of the damage he does to unsuspecting souls...
"The only violence that you will find in us is the violence that takes place in the heart when the Word of God gets into it," Terry thundered in 1993. He told the Fort Wayne, Indiana News-Sentinel, "I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good...Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism."
Ah, the uplifting spiritual beauty and holiness of sheer, unadulterated hate. Gary North, another Texas religious nut, wrote in his "Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism" (1989, p. 87), "The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church's public marks of the covenant -- baptism and holy communion -- must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel."
Perhaps no Christian speaks up because it is difficult to take George Bush's God seriously; because each atrocity is just a little worse than the last one, barely noticeable, hardly worth mentioning. Why should we say anything -- they haven't come for us yet. Of course the homosexuals are having a bad year, but like Robertson says, they just "want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers," which -- when you think about it -- isn't very polite, is it?
And, it looks like women will never learn. "Chatty Patty" Robertson knows all about feminists and their struggle for equal rights. He isn't fooled by the feminist agenda. He says it's "not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians..."
However, there IS hope for Christian women -- those who keep their legs together until they're married to fine, upstanding religious husbands to whom they remain eternally subservient. Legs will be opened for procreation only, according to God's will, and the rights of babies will be jealously protected from conception to birth.
Then, of course, if you are an athiest in America, you're up that old proverbial creek without a paddle. In 1987, Poppy snorted with contempt when asked by a reporter what he planned to do to win the votes of atheists . "Surely," the dumfounded reporter asked, "you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?" "No," Poppy responded without hesitation, "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
A year ago, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman sounded the alarm about the brazen and radical Tom DeLay, who gloats that he went into politics to promote a "biblical worldview, sabotaging tax credits for 12 million children. "Those tax credits would cost only $3.5 billion.," Krugman wrote, "But Mr. DeLay has embedded the credits in an $82 billion tax cut package. That is, he wants to extort $22 in tax cuts (in the face of record budget deficits) for every dollar given to poor children." (story cached at http://www.yuricareport.com/PoliticalAnalysis/Dangerous%20Right%20Wing%20Radicals.html )
How heavy must the burden of self-deception get before Americans feel the heat of Bernie's outrage? Before it is too late, we must face the fact that George Bush seized the opportunity to use his born-again experience for political gain. He maliciously used God as a battering ram to force his way into the halls of power, and is using Him now as a cudgel to beat American Christians into abject silence. He said recently that he had a "vision -- where people think and pray and live in obedience to God..."
This creature whom Bush calls god and is obsessed with forcing upon the rest of the world is no friend of mine -- or yours, either. Bush and his warmongers wallow with their god in the blood of the Old Testament. So be it. If they refuse to listen to the admonishments of Jesus Christ, maybe the Old Testament prophet Isaiah can get their attention, for when Isaiah lashed out at the Kings of Judah, he could well have been speaking directly to the Bush cabal and, sadly, to far too many of us:
"...your hands are those of murderers and your fingers are filthy with sin. You lie and grumble and oppose the good...You spend your time and energy in spinning evil plans which end up in deadly actions. You cheat and shortchange everyone. Everything you do is filled with sin; violence is your trademark. Your feet run to do evil and rush to murder; your thoughts are only of sinning, and wherever you go you leave behind a trail of misery and death. You don't know what true peace is, nor what it means to be just and good; you continually do wrong and those who follow you won't experience any peace either."
It is time we stopped the madness -- the wanton killing of innocent men, women and children -- the needless slaughter of our own armed forces abroad and the open assault on citizens here at home. Bush and his Religious Right brigades have come for the homosexuals, the athiests, the elderly, the poor, the children, the citizens born in other lands, and are now looking in our direction. Who among us will be next -- who among us will dare to speak out...?
It is time we hooked back up with our old friend God. Has anybody here seen Him?
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former US Army Public Information Officer. She will accept praise and atta-boys at: email@example.com. Complaints and death threats should be directed to her cousin, Junior Samples, at BR-549