And so it’s been done. Obama’s Grant Park party felt like the triumphal end of an epic film, especially with the soundtracks borrowed from movies like Apollo 13 and The Patriot. I can see how easy it was to get carried away with the emotion—all of it was ingeniously concocted to evoke emotion.
The entire campaign was a brilliant manipulation of emotion. Its organization dazzled. Millions of people were moved; this cannot be denied. The Obama Campaign orchestrated a fantastic show, pushing on every emotional button from religion to race to “change,” whatever he means by that.
Yes, I found the event contrived. But I can let that slide. As my father would say, it doesn’t correspond with my sensibilities. Though my political hopes were bruised, I understand the rules of the game. America spoke, and I thank God that they are at liberty to do so. Sure, the Obama campaign made the audacious move to plan a party for millions of people weeks ahead of his actual victory, a party complete with flags, signs, video, singers, and a crying Oprah. This doesn’t really bother me too much. I found the showiness of the event more funny than offensive. I feel once Obama gets to office that “change” will come much more slowly than people expect, and I am sure that many people will be upset that “change” doesn’t actually mean that Obama will pay off mortgages or provide free beer on Fridays. The president is, after all, only one of three branches of a limited government, and though he may be one of the most powerful men in the world for a time, realistically it is fortunate that he cannot effect too much change too quickly. In other words, Conservatives need not cry too hard.
Yes, last night was goofy. It lacked humility, but no one’s perfect. I can let most of it pass. Most of it, all but for one, blisteringly, brash prayer.
At the beginning of the night’s celebration, the loudspeakers announced that Bishop so-and-so would give a prayer. Ooh! A prayer, how lovely! What a nice gesture for so many people, I thought. The black gent with the white collar hobbled up to the podium. “Please bow your heads in prayer,” he bellowed, in the deep, round tones of the average Gospel preacher. So far, so good. Good, until, that is, he says in the name of Jesus Christ how thankful he is that God has sent such a righteous man to lead America out of its time of turmoil. He praised our Lord for this Godsend, in such messianic language as only can only be found in Revelations. He thanked God for the great victory, as if the victory had been over the Devil instead of merely John McCain. It was clear from the prayer that this bishop believed that Obama would rule by divine mandate like kings of old.
Like I said before, the goofiness of the rest of the event can slide. But this prayer is blatantly offensive, politics aside. I am a Christian. I refuse to take such blasphemy lightly, especially when it comes from the leader of the church. How dare he claim, in the precious name of Jesus no less, that Obama is the “righteous” choice of God Himself! Even if it were God’s will that Obama should become president for whatever reason, no one can really know God’s full purpose or His reasons for it! Not only this, but it diminishes God’s authority to assume you do know! How dare this bishop describe Obama with adjectives that belong to Christ and Christ alone! How dare Obama and his entire campaign promote this fantastic notion that he in fact could claim any kind of divine preference! And how dare they implicitly vilify John McCain, who so graciously, not five minutes prior, conceded the election! If Obama is portrayed as a kind of deliverer, it must then mean that McCain was some kind of Antichrist. Talk about Audacity.
To suggest that God makes political choices in the same way that normal citizens do is to demean God and neglect his omnipotence. If McCain won, do you really, honestly, think that God’s Will would not be done? God can make good out of any situation! His kingdom and authority reigns over all of the earthly nations with power far greater than we ever thought of or imagined! And yes, this goes for America too! God may bless Americans in a zillion ways, but it will never change the fact that He is above, and not subject to, the politics of our government! It is just flat out wrong to claim God’s favor, whether Democrat or Republican. Like God would even fit into such categories in any case!
It would have been one thing to have thanked God for a peaceful victory, to thank Him that because America is democratic we can have changes in power without bloodshed and strife. Thank God that each American citizen, regardless of race, gender, or social status each can speak their minds freely and vote for the candidates they find most capable for office. Thank God that He has, most certainly, blessed America in a zillion ways. Pray to God that Obama will be endowed with wisdom, patience, a listening ear, humility, knowledge of justice and the judgment to make healthy decisions on behalf of a nation. Pray to God that the ideological differences among Americans may be argued in healthy debates that end in wise compromises. Pray that Americans will see themselves as unified, not because Obama says so, but because Obama will ACT and set a bipartisan example.
This kind of prayer would be fine. More than that, it should be the prayer we should all be praying. But this is not what we got last night. What we heard affirmed the absurd idea that Obama is the deliverer sent from God on high to solve all of our problems and bring us to the promise land. What we heard diminished God’s power and authority. What we heard grotesquely misused the name of Jesus, and dirtied His reputation for the sake of political ambition.