In God We Trust?

Enlargement of the 20-dollar bill. Enlargement...Image via Wikipedia
Last week, as you may have heard, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution affirming "In God We Trust" as the official motto of the United States.  This was in spite of the fact that no one was trying to get rid of the motto and in spite of the fact that we have millions of Americans jobless and hungry and in spite of the fact that a jobs bill from the President could have been discussed, debated, and perhaps approved in some part instead of spending time affirming something that no one attacking.

I can't help but think this, as with so many other congressional actions, was no more than political grandstanding.  We have come to expect as much from our political leaders.

However, my attention gets raised up a notch when it's God's name that's mentioned and it's God's name that's used in the grandstanding.  It seems to play into the Constantinian perspective of the United States where we believe we have God on our side regardless of our actions in the world and regardless of which battles we're fighting.

It is with this background that I read a good post from Bethany Keeley-Jonker over at Think Christian.  It's not a long post, but it's a good one.  She closes her post this way:
I’m troubled by the promotion of the motto, though, for a number of reasons. It smacks of the kind of empty piety that Old Testament prophets railed against. In Amos 5, for instance, God is really angry about displays of piety while people are mistreating the poor. Instead of talking about how much our country allegedly trusts in God, why don’t we demonstrate it via legal and communal efforts that show the fruit of the Spirit? If we truly trusted in God, would we need to scrawl our piety on state buildings?

I think as Christians we should be very suspicious of efforts by politicians to use our beliefs or their own to score easy points. My trust in God isn’t something I want to be put up to a vote at all. It’s something I want to work harder to demonstrate. While this is hard enough to manage as an individual, as a nation it seems even more treacherous.

Even the Israelites, God’s chosen people, screwed up regularly. We shouldn’t be surprised when we fail as well, but perhaps we should be careful about praying on street corners and ignoring the downtrodden among us.

As one comedian put it this week, perhaps we should reaffirm that we trust in God because clearly we can't trust our politicians.
Enhanced by Zemanta