Must Read Monday – Swear to God? Not so much any moreMay 13, 2019
The most important story I read this weekend was on page 19 of the print edition of the New York Times. Online it has a different (and better) headline: ‘So Help Me God’ No More: Democrats Give House Traditions a Makeover. Katie Edmondson writes,
(Questions 1. and 2. below) The witness rose from her seat, raised her right hand and swore to tell the truth before Congress.
(Question 3.) But four words were missing: “So help me God.”
(Question 4. and 5.) In the House of Representatives, to the winner go the spoils, and Democrats, the new decision makers, control everything, including what legislation gets a vote and the minutiae of procedural choices, such as whether witnesses must utter the traditional plea for divine aid. Democratic chairmen and chairwomen of several key committees have deemed no such entreaty is necessary.
(Question 6.) “I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque — but not in Congress,” said Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. What Republicans are doing, he continued, “is using God.”
(Question 7.) “And God doesn’t want to be used,” he said.
Questions to ask:
- What does it mean to be sworn in as a witness?
- What does it mean to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in a post-truth era?
- What does it mean to utter or omit, “So help me God” when one is sworn in? Is it more honest than having people who do not fear/revere God repeat a phrase that takes God name in vain?
- Elections matter because “to the winner go the spoils.” Is our two party system now best described with terms of war?
- Is “so help me God” really a “plea for divine aid” or an “entreaty” or, it it an acknowledgement that what is said and done here and now is heard and witnessed by God who is ultimate Judge of both Truth and persons?
- What does it mean for a person to relegate God to certain sectors and dismiss or imagine that God could be prevented from specified spaces or places?
- “God doesn’t want to be used,” what does that mean and is it accurate?
My plan is to address these in a blog post later today (or maybe tomorrow!). If you’ve have thoughts or resources for my consideration as I write, email me firstname.lastname@example.org
More to read today!
Maryanne Williamson is a name you need to know
There is one religious professional running for President as a Democrat. Her name is Maryanne Williamson and her ideas are popular. She has 7 New York Times best-selling books and she believes there’s a doctrine and dogma free spiritual revolution going on in the world. Every time she talks, Christians need to be prepared to engage what she says with those who are listening.
Excerpt: (Williamson places) herself in the tradition of religious reformers who pushed for the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage. “At the deepest level,” she says, America is engaged in “a spiritual contest” between demonic and angelic forces. “The separation of church and state is one of the most enlightened aspects of our country,” she says. “But the founders were not seeking to suppress religion. They were seeking to liberate and protect it.”
She concludes the talk (on Easter) with a prayer that ends:
We place in God’s hands our precious world. We place in God’s hands our country or our countries. In the name of all the great religious and spiritual figures, of all the avatar, and yes on this day remembering Jesus in his resurrection, one of the doors though which humanity has walked, may all humanity walk in the love that is center of our own true being, and thus may all be lifted, in this country and in our precious world. And so it is we say Amen.
She is not godless so much pantheistic. Her concerns will resonate with emerging generations of voters, those who are spiritual but not religious, those concerned about climate-change and those who just want everyone to be nice to each other again. You might be surprised how much traction she gets if she gets a real chance to engage.
Now, consider Williamson’s brand of open spiritualism and read this opinion piece by Max Boot in the Washington Post arguing “It’s time for us to have an unapologetic atheist in the Oval Office“
How to talk about politics without dividing your church – The Gospel Coalition
Excerpt from Ryan T. Anderson book outlines “Challenges to true Fairness for all: How SOGI laws are unlike Civil Liberties and other nondiscrimination laws and How to Craft Better Policy and get Nondiscrimination Right”
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention recently laid a marker down with “Artificial Intelligence: An Evangelical Statement of Principles.” The document addresses topics from sex and medicine to accountability and the image of God. The common theme: What does it mean to be human?
It’s encouraging to see religious leaders consider the implications of new technology. Yet as an artificial-intelligence scientist and evangelical Christian, I found the document disappointing.