Down the road from my house is a church and Christian school, Baptist I think, but I can't be sure and don't care enough to find out.
They've got a sign out front. One those message boards, where they broadcast whatever God is thinking about this week. You know, the usual helpful loving messages: God hates the homos, God hates the Atheists, God hates uppity women, God hates abortionists, God hates evolutionists, God hates the Muslims, and, well, God apparently hates a lot of things.
This week God hates liberals and admonishes us to "Vote in accordance with Biblical Guidelines."
I'm not exactly sure what that means, God hates liberals? Hmmm that's probably why he had his kid nailed to a cross, huh? I don't mean to point out any logical fallacies in modern conservative Christianity or anything, but it seems to me that Jesus was just about as liberal as it gets. So, if God hates liberals, and Christians should emulate God, then Christians should hate liberals and therefore shouldn't they hate Jesus too? Forgive me, Father, but I'm a little confused.
The sign, it often has that effect on me.
And then there's that whole vote in accordance with biblical guidelines thing: So far as I remember, there weren't a whole lot of democracies in the the bible. A word search on the King James Version yields exactly zero hits on the word "vote" and biblical scholars back me up on this. The word vote doesn't appear anywhere in the modern bible. So I'm unclear as to what "Vote in accordance with biblical guidelines" actually means.
There's this passage: Deuteronomy 1:6-13: The LORD our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying... Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads. OK, done. So now what? Does God just pick one or what? How do we know, does a rainbow appear over the winner? Does God smite the loser? What? Details of the process would be helpful at this point, but the damned sign isn't saying.
There's this passage: Job 34:1-4: Then Elihu continued and said... Let us choose for ourselves what is right; Let us know among ourselves what is good. Well, hell, that's just a bunch of stone age sheepherders who don't have any more of a clue than their four footed wooly girlfriends. I mean, Elihu doesn't exactly list any criteria for determining what makes a good leader, he basically says, "Hey, let's pull it out of our burning bush!" The message on the sign is quite specific, we're not supposed to choose for ourselves, we're supposed to use the biblical guidelines. Be nice if the damned sign would cite chapter and verse.
Then there's this bit: Romans 13:1-14 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. ... Um, if you read that and switch your internal narrator to a nasal Minnesotan accent (go on, try it), it sounds a whole lot like something Palin would have said when Katie Couric asked her about the economy, NAFTA, or Iraq: i.e. I have no damned idea what it supposed to mean. Amusing, but not helpful, really.
Perhaps we should try: Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Hmmm, somehow I don't think that's what the sign meant. And thinking about my leader's way of life doesn't really help me in the voting booth, other than making me feel like punching them in their dangling chads, that is.
Frankly, I've driven past that stupid sign a dozen times this weekend and I've been tempted to stop in and ask. I mean, damn, could it be a little more vague? And I hate to criticize, but the Good Book needs to be better formatted, numbered tables and some colored graphs for example, and an index would be helpful. I mean, I can't find the part where God says it's OK to just make shit up about you opponent, you know, call him an Arab, say he's not an American, call him a terrorist, question his patriotism, and like that. I've racked my brain trying to recall the Sunday school lessons where the minister told us that God wanted us to carve backwards letters into our faces and blame it on big black Democrats, but you know I just can't remember it.
Look, I'm not trying to pick on the Republicans here, but the sign is directed at them (because as you know, Democrats are heathen atheist devil worshipping gay lovers who don't go to church, and by default all good Christians are Republicans - Hey, don't yell at me, it's the sign. You got a problem with it, you go talk to the sign and get off my case).
I thought I might get some clarification from the church's website, instead I got a link to here. Um, yeah. Thanks.
And don't get me wrong, I did find this passage: Luke 22:36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. I'm pretty sure that's clear direction to grab the RNC checkbook and do some spending at Neiman-Marcus and Saks, and maybe get your kid a spiffy designer knapsack. On the other hand, this ought to shut the damned liberals up, when Jesus says to upgrade the ole' wardrobe, well, who's to argue with Him. Right?
All and all, I'll probably just go with Elihu up there in Job, and figure out for myself what's right.
Somehow, though, I don't think that's what the sign meant.