The letter was titled: How is God blessing America. It came from one of those conservative religious organizations that relies upon the compassion of good-hearted God-fearing folks. The head of this particular group, Pat Robertson, often makes references to the “messages” he’s heard from God.
Usually, those messages have something to do with some moral or legal wrangling taking place in America, like gay marriage or legalizing marijuana. Robertson seems like a decent chap. The kind of guy who’d always have a good story to tell at the family’s 4th of July picnic.
The letter – which was basically a plea for more donations – was confusing. While the title claimed it was a look at how God is blessing America, it began with the following sentence: In recent months, thousands of stunned Americans have been victims of sudden storms, deadly tornadoes, and flooding of historic proportions.
There was a time when Robertson might have claimed that such devastation was, in fact, proof that God does not love America. Consider these remarks he made when Orlando city officials agreed to fly rainbow-colored flags from the city lamposts in support of Gays Day events at Disney World: “I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you. This is not a message of hate — this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs; it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor.”
America has already experienced its share of terrorist bombs, earthquakes, tornadoes and such. Thankfully, we’ve been spared that earth-squashing meteor, so far, but there’s always tomorrow.
But who can blame Roberston for changing his approach? Marketing in a soft economy calls for a kinder touch than the aggressive marketing common to a robust economy. Fear doesn’t work as well with a people who are already beat-down. Like the Vietnam veterans always note the threat of being sent to Vietnam lost its power once they were already in-country. “What are they going to do to me now that I’m here?” they said and laughed.
There was good reason why generations of Americans believed God loved us best. We’ve been taught the myth that we packed up our wooden trunks, left Granny and the chickens behind, because we considered Europe morally and religiously corrupt. We were going to be a better people than they were. We were going to go all out for God. We were going to worship him in a way that was denied us in Europe. We were going to create the pure society. We’d teach the world what being sold out to God really looked like.
We’ve taught our children that we came with the intent of establishing the first true faith-based community of like-minded believers. No matter that in our pursuit of being God’s BFF, we had to slaughter folks and steal territory. For you, God, anything.
So across the seas we came, puking and dying along the way. That’s how we roll. Us Americans. We’ll die for anything. It’s the living for something we struggle with.
We Americans have long-held the belief that we are God’s BFF’s. Next to Israel, of course, because that’s the place where God watched his son being born and who can blame him for being sentimental about that? Besides God just wouldn’t be comfortable in California among all those bleeding-heart liberals and blurry-eyed beach bums.
I know it’s a hard truth to consider that as a nation, God is no more devoted to America than he is to Afghanistan or Argentina, but it’s time for America to grow up and get over her sibling rivalry.
When it comes to nation-building, God simply does not play favorites. Or if he does, it appears Robertson may be right. Maybe the reason the economies in China and India are growing, while ours is flailing is because God does play favorites and he likes our Chinese and Indian brothers and sisters better than us now.
Could it be that God doesn’t love America as much as we once misbelieved?