God Bless / God Damn debate
(Top Posts - Distance From Belief
in christianity - 032008)

- - -

Recently, Barack Obama's pastor -and-
Barack Obama ran into trouble over some
controversial statements that Barack's pas-
tor, Jeremiah Wright, had uttered in the

Among them was the following (ABC News):

Excerpt: ... Sen. Barack Obama's pastor
says blacks should not sing "God Bless
America" but "God damn America."  ..."

- - - end excerpt - - -

Barack Obama repudiated that statement,
and other controversial statements by his
pastor, but is in a rather difficult spot being
that he identifies his pastor as the one who
led him to Christ, and he attended that pas-
tor's church for close to 20 years.

Typically, in American political discourse,
the phrase "God bless America" is issued,
as if by saying so, a politician or President
can invoke good tidings for the country.

I suppose that is, by implication, a request
rather than a command, as per most theology,
God isn't one likely to respond to commands
in a favorable way. Requests, maybe, -but-
not commands.

As for Barack's pastor's comments being a
condemnation of America for various mis-
deeds (sins) in the past, one might note that
many white pastors offer similar condemna-
tion when they perceive a particular sin (or
group of sins) falls short of what God wants,
although of note, few (if any) use the phrase
"God damn America."

Many don't, however, hesitate to threaten
(in essence, issuing "God damn" edicts) to
individuals who are disbelievers, believers
of a non-christian faith, believers of a salva-
tion method varying with one's own religion,
or who fall short of the pleasant immortality
ticket for a variety of reasons (said reasons
varying from faith to faith and individual to

For some believers, the threat is non-existence
for those who fall short. For other believers,
the threat is to be raised from the dead, judged,
and tossed into a lake of fire for a short term
torment prior to non-existence, for those who
fall short. For other believers, the threat is to
be tormented for eternity if you happen to fall
short of the required belief (and/or deed)

Don't know, can't say, if the use of such an
incendiary phrase as "God damn America"
by such a close friend / former pastor of
Barack's will doom his campaign, as it's
not something that's as easily dismissed
and forgiven by most citizens as it was by

- - -

Someone replied:

> The right wing spin machines is all over this and the swift
> boating is going to begin ... Barack Obama is not responsible
> for anything his pastor says and where was the condemnation
> of these guys where Pat Robertson said 9/11 was justified

> Pure hypocrisy

> I think Wright is nuts but I think that of most of those guys
> on the right and on the left

Wright's controversial statement, "God damn
America", one point I was trying to make was
that it's a basic core tenet of the religious to
issue edicts equivalent to "God damn".

Their ultimate threat to every person and country
on earth? Hell, threatening all who fail to jump
through the 'right' hoops with punishment (by
God) in this life and/or forever.

That condemnation/suffering/punishment psy-
chosis goes to the very core of the dark side
of what religion is about.

Those offended by Wright's "God damn Amer-
ica" statement, just remember, that's Religion
101, God's intent on harming anyone and every-
one who falls short of the mark, and to the ex-
tent that Wright is 'right' about America falling
short of the mark, his ancient so-called 'holy
book' supports his stance.

If one likes the religious threats, one should
welcome Wright's, as it's just one among an
abundance of them present in religion. If one
doesn't like it, simply reject religion (my


simply recognize that Wright's statement reflects
the threaten-'em-and-save-'em mentality that's
central to all religious faith.

- - -

In any case, Obama, he's no more guilty of look-
ing to religion for guidance than are the 90% of
the country that, in varying degrees, does so, and
his pastor is no more guilty of the "God damn"
stance than is every last American who supports
ancient religions (in my opinion).

- - -