The Weakling God of the Religious Right

The Weakling God of the Religious Right June 26, 2013

Much religious conservativism is blatantly self-contradictory. Take this tweet from Fox News commentator Todd Starnes in response to the supreme court decision about DOMA:

The God that Todd Starnes and others like him believe in is apparently one who wants his will imposed on society, but lacks the power either to compel or to persuade sufficient numbers of people to do so. Apparently he is so powerful that he can hurl storms at areas infested with supporters of gay marriage, but nonetheless he was unable to get one aimed at the supreme court, and give it enough intensity or time it right, so as to persuade just one judge to vote the other way. His will is said to be sovereign, and yet a handful of judges have power of veto over him. He can guarantee you a parking spot when you go shopping, but big things like getting legislation passed and enforced are just too hard. Or at least, that is the impression one would get from listening to conservative commentators.

The ones with the weakest deity, of course, are the ones who would turn to violence to get their way. Their God is not only off with the timing or intensity of the storms that project his wrath. He is such a weakling, he needs people with guns to protect his honor. Or at least that’s the impression that militant fundamentalists give.

There is a lot to be happy about today. But the theology of many conservative and fundamentalist Christians still makes me sad. There are so many who talk about their God as an omnipotent tyrant whose will cannot be thwarted, while also speaking about him as incapable of getting his way. While either element on its own might be deemed theologically problematic, surely the self-contradictory combination of the two is even worse.

But there is hope. If, as a result of today’s events, those conservative religious people who think God controls everything, and yet can be overruled by a human court, are led to rethink their theology, that could potentially have an even greater long-term positive effect than the striking down of DOMA itself.

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