Ted Cruz is God’s Tool

You know that old joke about the Christian trapped in rising flood waters, faithful and confident that God will save them? A rowboat comes by, then another boat, then a helicopter hovers overhead, and each time the Christian refuses rescue, saying “God will save me!” In the end, the Christian dies and goes to heaven, and on arriving they ask God, “I prayed and prayed, why didn’t you save me?” To which God replies, “What are you talking about? I sent two boats and a helicopter!”

I was reminded of this joke when reading the usual spate of “thoughts and prayers” messages from Texas’ Republican leadership. I’ve posted before about the uselessness of prayer and God’s seeming indifference to our country’s mass shooting epidemic, but something occurred to me this week that may sound unusual coming from an atheist: what if God isn’t to blame?

I focus on my state’s own Senator Ted Cruz in this situation for a few reasons. For one thing, he happens to be up for reelection this year. For another, he is cartoonishly pro-gun. He is also at the forefront of the Texas Thoughts and Prayers Battalion after every single goddamn mass shooting.

I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t pray for God’s help in the wake of tragedy – it’d be pretty inconsistent and worrisome if they didn’t. But here’s a thought to add to your prayer: what if God has actually provided help in the person of Ted Cruz, but Cruz has somehow completely missed God’s calling in this area? What if Cruz goes to heaven and asks God, “Why didn’t you answer my prayers to stop mass shootings?” and God says, “That’s why you were elected to the Senate! I made you my instrument to enact gun control legislation, to promote background checks and restrict dangerous weapons. You could have saved hundreds of lives – why didn’t you ever try doing something?”

Feel free to substitute your own senators or representatives into this scenario as well. If they are unwilling or unable to use their legislative power to help prevent senseless tragedies, perhaps it’s time to elect someone who will.

Photo: Gage Skidmore

Advertisements

God Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

This post will be more of an emotional argument than I generally try to employ, but I’ve decided to take a page from the Christian playbook and prey on the victims of a recent tragedy.

The Sutherland Springs church shooting was, on the one hand, yet another in a string of killing sprees that has become such a depressingly mundane part of American life. Not even churches are immune from this kind of tragedy, as we already know from the events in Charleston two years ago.

But aren’t Christians supposed to be special? Isn’t God supposed to be “a very present help in trouble“? What happened to the David’s God, of whom the king declared:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold and my refuge,
my savior; you save me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:2-3)

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)

“The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.” (Psalm 121:5,7)

What reassurance is a believer supposed to take from these passages? Why does God include them in his Word if he doesn’t intend to follow through?

If your God lets a deranged maniac waltz into his own house, where he is supposedly present, and gun down his own faithful, not even sparing children – at what point do you consider the possibility that he isn’t really there? Surely if there was ever a time for God to demonstrate his awesome power, it would be in the face of a disturbed man hell-bent on showering his holy place with the blood of his followers.

How will these people go back and worship God in the same place where he failed to protect their family and friends? How will the pastor, whose own daughter was among the deceased, get up and preach about God’s love and compassion?

How would you handle this failure on the part of anyone else? If your security guard allows a robbery to happen, you fire him! If your doctor fails to diagnose an illness, you get a new one! Or do you convince yourself, against the weight of evidence, that these are the best individuals for their respective jobs, to the point of recommending them to those around you?