My God Can Beat up Your God

The Iowa Independent reports that a minister who spoke at John McCain’s rally in Davenport, IA today injected a divisive statement into his invocation. Here’s what Pastor Arnold Conrad said:
I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent 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. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and election day.
All partisan politics aside, this is NOT prayer. My God, their God, our God—what gives? I thought we had outgrown the old “my god can beat up your god thing.” God, if God is anything or anyone, is the God of every person, no exceptions. We confess that God created heaven and earth. Everything and everyone that is bursts forth from the one and same Creator. Everything and everyone comes from the womb of the Creator. We are part of the unfolding universe which comes forth continuously from the Creator.
Prayers like the one delivered in Iowa and the faulty theology that undergirds such prayers are responsible for many of the divisions and conflicts in our world. How many wars have resulted from religious strife! Religion—that which binds us (religio) to the Creator—becomes the vehicle of division and strife. It is still “my god can beat up your god.” My god is better than your god because my god favors me and our god favors us.
How vain and stupid of us to think that the Creator of heaven and earth and everything that is in the heavens and the earth favor me or us over them! Think about it. This is a no-brainer. God is inclusive, not exclusive. “God so loved the world….”
For centuries, the battle anthem has been, “God is on our side.” At the same time, the opposing army is saying, “God is on our side.”
We now recognize that biblical statements about the Warrior God are based on faulty human conceptions of God. Our feeble earthbound minds can never get completely around the concept of God. God is above all conceptions of God. God names us. We do not name God.
The economic conception of “God on our side” finds its expression in the prosperity gospel. If I say my prayers and try to do right, God will bless me with material success, even material success at the expense of the least among us. Balderdash! If we by chance of birth or good fortune have been blessed with material things, it is so that we can alleviate the misery of the least among us. The litmus test for Christians is what we have done to or for the least among us. We have been cautioned about amassing wealth and possessions and building more silos.
The Creator does not get involved in elections. The Creator expects us to get involved in elections. The Creator expects us to pray and study so that we can influence the outcomes of elections.
The principles we use to bring about political results are based on moral principles common to all people. We think we are different than the Jews; however, God expected Jews to love God and their neighbor. Peoples of all religious expressions respect the Creator and one another. The point is that the Creator has been clothed in many cultural expressions. It is not that the God of one people is different from the God of another people. God just wears different clothes depending on the culture and beliefs of the people involved. Who are we to say that one cultural expression of God is better than any other? It is just different.
The Creator wants people to have life and whatever they need. We are all in this together. We are all of the same stardust from the womb of the Creator God. We believe in “one God who created heaven and earth and everything under the heavens.”

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