I hate when people pull the God card, that moment when they declare that they are on God’s side and all those who disagree are intentionally or unwittingly speaking ungodly thoughts and beliefs.
It’s a tantalizingly easy thing for a person of faith to do, and in my worst or weakest moments I’ve probably done the same.
It’s tempting to do because the way many of us speak about and practice faith today is less about faith than about adherence to a certain set of rules and beliefs that have become sacrosanct in some circles.
Since the eruption of the controversy about Chick-fil-A and traditional and marriage equality for gays and lesbians, I’ve heard that if you are Christian, you can’t believe in big government or be pro-choice or be liberal or vote for Democrats, and that the Bible is clear that God frowns upon same-sex relationships no matter what we want to believe or understand.
Of course, the people who are expressing such sentiments believe you can’t really know God at all if you aren’t a Christian.
It’s one thing, though, to have solid, bedrock beliefs built upon what you believe is solid evidence. It is quite another to elevate that Earthly point-of-view into a declaration that you – and others of like minds – are the keepers of God’s flame and those who disagree need to repent.
It’s akin to turning faith into a parlor game or an episode of Jeopardy!, in which the person with the most right answers wins, no matter the impact the sentiments have on real people.
When the God card is pulled, all rational conversation among people with various points-of-view ceases.
A discussion can not move forward when one side has declared – with absolute certainty – that it is speaking for the almighty.
At that moment, you know nothing you say, no evidence you present, no compelling argument you make will be heard.
The God card allows a person to never have to seriously consider the other side, to never have to engage in a discussion in which both participants, sharing different views about faith, are equals, each imperfect but struggling to comprehend the almost incomprehensible.
Sometimes it is pulled to purposefully shut down a conversation. Other times it is wielding in ways the bearer doesn’t even realize.
I’ve been able to engage readers recently who tried to answer my question about how an all-loving God could frown upon a same-sex relationship in which both partners are loved, respected and cherished. After lively and respectful back-and-forths, many of them concluded that they were still certain that God did not like homosexuality even in loving relationships, and that it was not necessary to know why God might dislike a thing, that we must simply accept that he does.
But that’s just a clever way of dealing the God card, declaring the heart of a thing with certainty while paying lip service to biblical reminders than each of us sees through a glass darkly.
In my human understanding, the God card is only appropriate when it is pulled by God.
And that’s not you – or me.
Contact ISSAC J. BAILEY at 626-0357, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter.com at @ijbailey or @TSN_IssacBailey.