The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
I am going to ask you to suspend disbelief and admit that God is behind the crisis the world is going through now. Apparently no one else thinks like this, and Evangelicals are shrieking that this whole mess is of Satan, and his minions like Dr. Fauci and Xi Jinping. But I’m going to ask you to suspend disbelief for a moment and admit that God is behind this chaos. After all, no matter how you look at it, you can’t deny He allowed it to happen, right?
If you already believe in God, there’s no problem.
If you don’t, that’s ok. What I have to say is shocking and will be fascinating, even for atheists.
I suspended disbelief a while back and realized that God is not happy. Not at all happy.
In 2016 all the prominent US Evangelicals got together and decided that God – not foolish, ignorant, superstitious humans – in all His wisdom had chosen Donald Trump to be president of the US. Now neither before nor after that time has Donald ever said, or even hinted, that he believes in Jesus. But people claiming to be followers of Jesus got together and decided, almost unanimously, that their God had chosen Donald Trump, non-Christian Donald Trump who bragged about fondling ladies, to be the president of their great country, the one they constantly implored God to bless, but without ever mentioning why they thought they deserved a blessing. Clearly, these Evangelicals did not want a moral person to be their leader. They wanted someone more like themselves. They especially wanted a Muslim hater who would pander to Netanyahu’s land grabbing whims.
This was all ok with prominent Evangelicals because American Evangelicalism has never been about Jesus. Down at bottom, it’s always in fact been about Israel. Modern Israel, secular Israel, the country where 65% of the people have no religion at all. Where the IDF shoots unarmed protesters because they believe they are trespassers on Israel’s land, the land given to them by the God they aren’t sure they believe in. Deep down inside, Evangelicals worship this secular country that is not mentioned anywhere in scripture, and not only does not share their proclaimed beliefs but in fact, disregards the laws of its own Torah. The laws that Christians say they believe in. The problem is, US Evangelicals don’t believe in the laws of the Torah either. Not really. They’ve got their own ideas.
For many years, Evangelicals chafed at Jesus’ teachings of love. They hated these teachings so much that they claimed pastors who taught love were liberals, and that meant they were commies at heart and certainly not saved. Not saved like good Israel-supporting Evangelicals. They called these love-preaching pastors politically correct and they hated political correctness because it imposed a higher morality on them that they instinctively rejected. They didn’t want to love. They wanted to be free to hate the Palestinians, the Iranians, the Mexican invaders, welfare mooches. They wanted to be unabashedly white. Yes, that kind of Christian.
But Jesus didn’t make up the teaching of love. He got it from the Torah. Jesus was not teaching a new religion at all. He was dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of the Torah. Jesus took the distillate from the Jewish law, focusing on the part that gave Judaism a universal appeal. And the Pharisees hated him for it. They wanted a parochial, narrow religion that was only for them. He came to spoil all that.
The Evangelicals warmed up to the Pharisaic notion of exclusivism. Exceptionalism. They chafed under the burdensome yoke of love. They wanted to love only the ones of their choice. Freedom of association, you know. They longed to be able to hate freely and openly. Trump gave them that golden opportunity to hate with impunity without apology.
They felt liberated when Trump declared he would keep Muslims out of America and give Palestine to Israel.
Meanwhile, God remembered their claim that it was He who had appointed Trump president, not ignorant, superstitious, hateful, disobedient humans.
And you know, I think this was just a bridge too far for God, who had always been extremely tolerant before. God is slow to anger, as the scriptures say. But this was over the top.
God had told people in Leviticus to love their neighbour. He didn’t define neighbour. It was everyone. Trump told his followers it was fine not to love their neighbour. Loving your neighbour was politically correct and for commies. Hate was manly and patriotic. It stirred fervour at campaign rallies.
But for the few who choose to follow Jesus rather than Israel, Jesus explained with a parable who our neighbour is. He chose the parable of the Good Samaritan. Why a Samaritan? Because the Samaritans were hated by the Pharisaic Jews of that time because they worshipped differently. Just like today’s Palestinians. In fact, I think Jesus was thinking ahead 2000 years and saying to American Christians: be sure to love your neighbours, especially those who don’t share your beliefs. Because that was the message of the parable.
But Evangelicals sneered at this idea. They still do. After all, they worship Donald Trump and the cult of secular Israel.
And – now please suspend disbelief – God finally looked down and said “ok, that’s enough.”
And He sent a little present to the deeply immmoral man they had blasphemously claimed was sent by God and who believed the charade himself. Proud men love to be worshipped. And God said:
Here, have a pandemic.
And an economic collapse while you’re at it.
And a threat to the dollar as the dominant reserve currency.
And coast-to-coast race riots for good measure.
There. Do you still think I sent you?