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Claiming Romans 8:31

"If God be with us, who can be against us?"

Could there be a more dangerous question? This question, elucidated in Romans 8:31, sums up the dangers of religion more succinctly than any atheist ever could. "If God be with us, who can be against us?"

From a monotheistic world-view, only one answer can arise. If God be all that is good, then anything opposing the will of God must be the essence of evil. We see the effects of Romans 8:31 daily. Terrorists, espousing their own particular view of this dictum, maim and kill and destroy without fear of divine punishment. In fact, they operate under divine mandate.

I understand that terrorism is the refuge of the extremist. There are plenty of worshippers who share the same God as these terrorists who don't partake in the violence of Jihad. There is a line, and only some cross this line, but their actions are so damnable; so filled with hatred that it not only disgusts those of other faiths, but those within their own as well.

This is who we are fighting against in this war on terror. We are fighting against those with God on their side. We are those who are against God.

We, as Americans, are not above calling on divine aid. Most Presidents speak as petitioners of God, calling on His wisdom and blessings in our endeavors. As distasteful as I personally find this practice, it is a belief shared by a great percentage of those living in this country. We call on divine aid when it is needed to marshall our courage, or when comfort is needed. As a non-believer, it strikes me as no more offensive than putting up charicatures of Santa Clause at Christmas. It gives us mythology upon which to base a feeling of good-will and sharing.

But when a President crosses the line from petitioner of God to that of actively stating God's wishes, I begin to worry.

"I believe that America is called to lead the cause of freedom in a new century. I believe that millions in the Middle East plead in silence for their liberty. I believe that given the chance, they will embrace the most honorable form of government ever devised by man. I believe all these things because freedom is not America's gift to the world, it is the Almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world." (Emphasis mine.)

George Bush spoke these words, and has made comments similar to this on numerous occasion. This shift in political rhetoric, speaking as one who intuits God's wishes as opposed to one who humbly operates in the intention of doing God's work is unprecedented. Are we to believe that Bush is God's own prophet?

"If God be with us, who could be against us?"

If nothing else, the entanglement of policy with prophetic dogma is troubling on many fronts. The blind faith of conservative, extreme-right Christianity often ennobles those who distance themselves from critical thought and follow the word of the Bible as pure, unaltered truth. We see this in many forms, from the belief that the world is only three thousand years old to the outright disbelief in dinosaurs, dismissed as scientific obfuscationism designed to throw doubt upon the holy scripture.

George Bush, in employing these tactics, is asking us to put aside our doubts, to put aside our questions of right and wrong and to follow the dictum of God. He has entangled a fundamentalist Christian worldview with national policy and tailored it to those that share this worldview.

"If God be with us, who can be against us?"

"If you aren't with us, you're with the terrorists."

George Bush has made the two statements above synonymous.

And that, my friends, should frighten us all, no matter if we are Muslim, Christian, Jew or Atheist.

Because we now operate under the same policy as the terrorists. We are under mandate by God.

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of the Abyss.

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