Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

God Isn’t on Team USA

 by Julie Hanus

Tags: Spirituality, church and state, religion, politics, President Barack Obama, inauguration, destiny, Christians, Will Braun, Geez,

GeezHow well do religion and politics really play together, wonders Will Braun in the Summer 2009 issue of Geez. The co-editor/publisher of the irreverent Canadian spirituality magazine confesses to being a “pessimist in a time of promise,” after pondering the religious bracketing in President Obama’s inauguration speech. It was in that speech that Obama spoke of reaffirming “the greatness” of the United States, and drawing confidence from “the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.”

“Does the narrative of ‘richest, most powerful’ fit with religion?” Braun asks. “At one point, Obama heralded ‘the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.’ If this God-given promise applies to all God’s children—not just Americans—then how can the U.S. guard its top spot and strive for equity at the same time?”

Braun offers some food for thought: “Consider the biblical lines that would never make it into a presidential speech (in any country): ‘love your enemies,’ ‘the last shall be first,’ and from the beatitudes, ‘blessed are the poor,’ and ‘blessed are the meek.’ My point is not that presidents should be preachers but that God is not in any country’s corner. And perhaps the parts of the biblical story that could never make their way onto a presidential tele-prompter indicate the exact elements that Christians should bring to the discourse of a nation.”

Bonus time: Not too long ago, Will Braun was our guest on Alt Wire, a morning digest of links and information collected and explained by a rotating cast of alternative-press luminaries.

Source: Geez