Called By God
Copyright © by Len Holman, 9/6/11
The governor of Texas is now in the Joan of Arc Hall of Fame. God spoke to him (although he hasn’t been specific about the exact method) and either 1) invited him or 2) commanded him to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States. If he was merely invited by the Deity, he could have declined. I’m sure God would have understood. Maybe Perry thought that an invitation from God was an offer he couldn’t refuse. But that can’t be right, because that’s the definition of a command, so Perry had a choice: if it was merely an invite, he could have declined, sent an RSVP, and gotten on with his life. If it was a command, then he had no choice but to get involved, to jump in and do God’s bidding. God, as we know from the literature, doesn’t take the ignoring of a command with a smile. He smites and I’m quite sure Perry didn’t want to be smitten (except with himself).
Of course, there is quite a bit of arrogance in assuming or believing that God has chosen YOU, specifically, for a mission here on a tiny planet at the outer fringe of a small galaxy at the edge of the cosmos, but no one ever accused a person running for office of having an invisible ego. When God DOES call someone (in whatever guise He uses or whatever surrogates he sends), as recorded in our myths and scriptures, He is usually direct—as in the case of Moses or Jesus or anyone with a helmet and shield in Greek mythology. Sometimes He sends angels or hallucinations—either visual or auditory. In Indian myth, an avatar of Krishna assumes the form of a chariot driver and shows Prince Gautama the Four Sights, without which we would not have several chapters in those college texts no one reads.
Of course being chosen is very attractive and ego-satisfying, and for a man or woman who wants to be the President of the United States, he or she might hear a rustle in the trees from the wind and interpret it as a voice or sign from the Almighty Himself, which accords well with the pull of your ego and the push of your eager fundraisers. Is this idea the same as thinking that everything happens for a reason? Is it the same as thinking that nothing happens by accident? Is it the same as having a book or set of scriptures which are thought to have been written with God’s guidance? Does “feeling” that one has a path to walk which is special and significant just to that one person count? Will voters outside the context of overt Divine Communication accept the idea that a specific candidate has God’s blessing and therefore is more qualified than any of the others? If saying that God has called you to service is a ploy because you calculate that your very conservative base will love you for it, have you miscalculated because the rest of the voters will want to nominate you for a spot in an institution with very thick and soft walls?
This begs the question of why God cares about our elections at all. There is, I think, a deeper issue here: we are presently walking in the dark shadow of a strange cultural and political landscape and we are terrified at what the dawn will bring—if there IS a dawn. This is a genetic fear which has not been bred out of us after all these millennia, and the result is a clinging to magic, myth, the sacred, the familiar, and a fear and loathing of the Other, of the stranger, the one who is not of our clan. This all would be bad enough, and make the founders and luminaries of the Enlightenment shiver in frustration, if those of this persuasion just kept this all to themselves. After all, people DO have a right to their opinions, but they DON’T have a right to use these opinions to create public policy no matter what is good for the country.
And one wonders about the others in the race. If God didn’t call them, then they must be inferior material and should—if they truly believe in an omniscient creator--drop out. If God did call them to run and they failed to mention it out of modesty, then they failed to properly estimate the modesty level in Governor Perry’s tank. And poor Mitt. He just got a big Tea Party endorsement, but will it be enough for the Faithful to nominate him? Waving gold tablets in their faces may not be enough. Will he have to do a Kennedy thing and directly address the religion question? I believe he will, sooner or later. But the Tea Folk thrive on bumper sticker slogans. Witness the original apostles. They worked and lived and preached and caught hell with Jesus for three years, and STILL didn’t get what the man was saying, so Mitt may have an uphill battle in explaining—EXPLAINING—why he should be the Republican Anointed One. Bearing the Lord’s Aegis is a mighty task. So far, Michele looks too frail to heft it. Sarah is too disorganized to find it. Perry doesn’t’ like how it looks without his face painted on it, Huntsman is looking in China for it, and everyone else is rummaging in the dictionary to find out how to spell it.
Look for a holy fight, not a political one. The Tea Party says it’s about jobs, but listen to their rhetoric carefully; it’s filled with religious imagery and reference. But there is this one small thing, as the people who brought us the intifada, the Arab Spring, and the “freeing of Tripoli” have—or will soon—find out: God may call someone to rule, but the devil is in the details. Turns out—despite the serious means of the ones who claim God’s commands—He does have a sense of humor.
Return to Bylines