Friday, February 7, 2020

Faith and Prayer

“The allegations made in the articles of impeachment are very serious. As a Senator-juror, I swore an oath, before God, to exercise 'impartial justice.' I am a profoundly religious person. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. … my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented, and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience. … I am sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?"

Hearing Mitt Romney, the only Republican Senator to cut through Republican hypocrisy  and cross party lines in Wednesday's impeachment vote, take his oath to God seriously was, said Stephen Colbert. “like finding water in the desert.”

And what a desert American religion is in right now! That desert was fully on display the very next morning at the so-called National Prayer Breakfast. That event dates back to the middle of the last century, and every US President since Eisenhower has participated in this once honorable event. Speakng just before the President, this year’s keynote speaker, Arthur Brooks, author of Love Your Enemies, addressed the audience of more than 3,000 on that foundationally Christian theme. Then the recently impeached President spoke and expressed his essential disagreement with the keynote!

On such occasions, I am again reminded of my favorite quite from Southern Baptist Russell Moore back in October 2016, regarding ostensibly religious figures who ally themselves with this President:  "The religious right turns out to be the people the religious right warned us about."

Mitt Romney's father, George, who also aspired unsuccessfully for the presidency back in the 1960s, was born in Mexico where his devout Mormon grandparents had had to flee to avoid persecution by the US. government. A practicing member of the LDS Church, Mitt Romney, knows something about real religious persecution and real religious freedom - in contrast to the fevered "Flight 93" apocalypticism so often invoked by some ostensibly religious people to justify their alliance with this impeached President. This week Romney reminded anyone who was listening that faith is about God and God's Kingdom and not about political power and idolatrous prayer.

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