Wingnut Doesn’t Like ‘Boston Strong’

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, people started using the slogan “Boston Strong.” It’s a bit of silly twaddle, in my view; after all, the people of Boston are no stronger than people anywhere else (this is the sort of provincial self-congratulation that I find quite annoying, like when a politician says he opposes some idea because it conflicts with “Michigan values” or some such rot). But famous Baptist preacher John Piper has another reason for not liking it:

ABC’s evening news now has an “America Strong” segment, and after the marathon bombings Bostonians started saying “Boston strong.” Instead of proclaiming strength should we be acknowledging our human weakness apart from God?

Whenever the strength of God is not recognized as the source of our strength, we are breaking the First Commandment: Do not have any gods before me. If “Boston strong” or “America strong” is God-neglecting, God-ignoring, God-minimizing, human-exalting, city-exalting, nation-exalting, it’s evil. That’s the main problem in America today: The absence of God in most spheres of life is perceived to be normal, and even Christians feel it as normal—which is why absorbing the culture all around us and its priorities is so dangerous.

If there’s anything more annoying than believing that people in one location are stronger than another — “New Yorkers will get over 9/11 because they’re tough, hardy people” — it’s the idea that everyone is weak and incapable of doing anything without the help of a non-existent god.

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  • Sastra

    Whenever the strength of God is not recognized as the source of our strength, we are breaking the First Commandment: Do not have any gods before me.

    Carried to its rational conclusion (as Piper does here) the view that all strength and ability is to God’s credit and never to our own strips the entire world of meaning and lowers humanity into a state of perpetual babyhood. Worse than that, actually: we hope, teach, and expect our babies to grow up and make it on their own. Instead of infancy the human condition might be better compared then to that of pets. And not just any pet: consider the loyal attitude of the cringing dog which can only lick the hand which strikes it, living only to obey and bask in subsequent approval.

    Yuck. Christopher Hitchens eloquently pointed out the mind-numbing horror of living in that state forever and ever.

  • magistramarla

    Uh-oh. This means that Texas is gonna be in a heap of trouble!

  • dingojack

    No extra-double espresso for you pastor! Have this weak milky tea instead…


  • Synfandel

    When I read “Boston Strong”, I don’t see a ‘recognition’ of any source of strength at all–divine, human, or otherwise. It’s just a caveman-grunting way of bleating that Boston is strong.

    I also don’t see in that slogan anyone having any gods before Yahweh, unless Boston was deified while I wasn’t looking.

  • Piper apparently doesn’t feel very strong himself, or very influential. Not enough people are asking him to tell them what to do– in God’s name, of course.

  • But… but… the first commandment doesn’t say, “I’m the only god.” It specifically SAYS there ARE “other gods” and that it is peachy-keen to worship them as long as Yaweh gets an extra sacrifice or something so he knows the worshipper thinks he’s first and bestest among the gods. Can’t they read?

  • Crudely Wrott

    Could Piper’s treacle be a precursor to a superior adhesive? I think it should be looked into, given how his tissue paper protestations keep sticking to my brain. No matter how I paw and scrape, I just can’t get the damned gunk off!

    Really! I even tried ignoring it and it still won’t turn loose and go away!

    (goes to garage, looks at available solvents)

  • gridlore

    Things like “Boston Strong” as common community reactions to a shocking event. I don’t see it as twaddle, but as a away for Bostonians to express that desite the attack, they remain proud and will not change because of threats and violence.

    Humans come together in trying times. After the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake people spent the next week talking about where they were with complete strangers. In the Marina District formed a bucket brigade to fight the raging fires. The need for a group identity is strong in trying times. This jerk is just upset that the people of Boston are turning to their neighbors rather than his particular view of the divine.

    Sorry for any mistakes, I’m recovering from a stroke.

  • exdrone

    The strength apparently comes from a god who allowed the bombs to be set off in the first place, knowing full well what the devastation would be afterwards. It’s like someone puncturing your tire and then being so good to come pick you up later when you get stranded on the side of the road. It would have been better if he had not acted as a dick in the first place.