You know, when George W. Bush declared on July 9, 2004 that “God speaks through me,” we gave him a hard time for it, as well we should have. History is littered with the debris of disasters made by leaders who considered themselves instruments of the Divine. Appeals to the notion that one is being guided by the invisible hand of divinity have the convenient property of being justified on the basis of the “mystery of faith” rather than some logically or empirically founded reason. How many times in history would we wish to be able to go back and stop the madness that ensued when a leader’s call that “I am God’s instrument” was used as justification for all sorts of twisted and violent madness?
If we study history we should be nervous when a president or presidential candidate declares himself to have some connection to divine will. Party affiliation should be the excuse for neither exceptions nor blinders. Take Barack Obama’s statement tonight in a candidate forum about his relationship to religion (my transcription from video):
I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that I am redeemed through him. That is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis. Yeah, I know that I don’t walk alone. And I know that if I can get myself out of the way, that I can maybe carry out in some small way what He intends.
Yes, apparently Barack Obama believes that he is the instrument for carrying out God’s intentions.
Barack Obama’s spiritual interrogator that evening, the multimedia entrepreneurial evangelical pastor Rick Warren, let that statement float on by. He shouldn’t have. If he were to take Barack Obama at his word, and not assume that he was just floating some meaningless words out there, Rick Warren should have responsibly followed up with these questions:
How long have you felt that your life was part of a divine plan?
What does it mean for you to “get myself out of the way” so that God’s divine plan can be realized through you?
Which particular faculties of yours do you feel you need to surrender in order to become the instrument of God’s will?
On what basis do you believe this to be the case?
When you referred to “what He intends,” were you referring to God the Father or His son Jesus Christ the Messiah?
How will this supernatural belief about your place in the universe and connection to the divine affect the manner in which you conduct yourself in the Oval Office as President of the United States, the single most powerful and dangerous human being on the planet? What would a Messiah do in office?
These are the kinds of questions that Barack Obama needs to be asked now that he has come out of the closet and communicated his belief that he believes himself to be the instrument of the will of God or His son the Messiah. Think back to what history tells us about leaders who believe their actions to be an expression of divine intention. It would be prudent for us to know a little more about Barack Obama’s messianic theories of himself.
I don’t trust the American people to be prudent.