After I wrote my previous “Prayer is irreverent” post I came across a wonderful passage written by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, a meditation on the divine will. It begins like this:
The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party.
Contrast these elevated and subtle sentiments with our current president’s utterances. This is what Bush was reported to have said at a meeting in 2003 with the Palestinian Authority prime minister: “God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam [Hussein], which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.”
Lincoln felt that the will of God prevails and neither side in a conflict could justifiably claim God was on their side. Bush feels that God is talking to him and wants him to attack Al Qaeda and Iraq.
If a murderer said that God had told them to kill people, he or she would be eligible for an insanity defense. But in Bush’s case, this made him eligible to be re-elected president of the United States.
I look forward to the day when, in order to be elected, a political candidate has to assure voters that he or she isn’t hearing messages from God. This would give us saner leadership, that’s for sure.