Kilroy Was Here
September 13, 2004
 
Give Us A King
Today, in Slate magazine, Steven Waldman writes on the trend of Republicans' rhetoric that George W. Bush was chosen by God to be President.

Yet it's hard to recall another instance of a presidential campaign so confidently promulgating the idea that its candidate had divine endorsement. The potentially dangerous implication is that since God put George W. Bush in the White House, opposing him is opposing Him. A person could get smited for that.

And, even an atheist such as I has chafed under this type of rhetoric. (I mean, we live in a democracy; don't the people choose our President?)

But Waldman brings up an interesting point towards the end of his article:

Of course, it's always possible God did put George W. Bush in the White House. But if He did, it doesn't theologically follow that He wants him to have a second term. Even those who believe that God controls world events usually concede it is hard for humans to divine the intent of the Divine.

After all, in the Bible, God is described as doing things for all sorts of inexplicable reasons—sometimes as a reward to the people, and sometimes as a punishment.

And this reminded me of Chapther 8 out of the book of Samuel. In Samuel, the Israelites, disappointed in the behavior of their judges, ask Samuel for a King.

6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.


So, God gets a little pissed off about this King thing, and He tells Samuel to warn them about the type of King they could get. God curses the Israelites by answering their prayers.

Of course, the Israelites don't listen.

11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.

12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;

20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.

21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.

22 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king.

When I read this passage, I felt chilled. For, lo, my brothers, doth the tribe of Americans repeat the errors of the Israelites. Forgoing the learnings of their ancestors, they, too, anoint themselves a King.

And, again, the King they choose takes the Sons and Daugthers of America to squander in his chariots and in his battles.

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