Dear friends and family, I have been extremely frustrated with how things are going in our country. A lot of my frustration is because I feel I don't know what to do to really make a change. Well, this time I do. I am asking you to join me and my family on Sunday Sept. 30 by fasting and praying for Mitt Romney. That he will be blessed in the debates, which will be held Oct. 3rd. I know that seems like such a small thing but I believe "from small things, great things can come about". I know that fasting and praying brings about miracles. I also know of no power greater that our Father in Heaven. He loves this land and has blessed it many times before . . . with all our fasting and prayers their [sic] will be a great power and protection upon us and this great nation.Some might find the mentality underlying this Facebook status to be stupid. Some might find it annoying. I find it rather disturbing. Now, why would I be disturbed by someone exercising (and inviting others to exercise) faith in God in an effort to bring about something presumably good (i.e. the improvement of the country)? For three interrelated reasons: (1) the faith is misdirected, (2) the motivation is prejudiced, and (3) the beliefs conveyed are arguably blasphemous.
How is the faith misdirected? It seems to me that if one wants to improve one’s country by fasting and praying, the ideal focus of such activity will be upon those people who are currently in leadership positions. Rather than asking God to help Mitt Romney be appealing to voters, how about going directly to the root of the problem and asking that those with influential positions in government today will be wise and make good choices? As the person who wrote the above post attests, God can bring about miracles. If that’s true, then can’t God help our country even if Barack Obama is president?
Presumably, the author of the above status update wants Mitt Romney not only to look good in the October 3rd debate, but to get elected. I’m going to go out on a limb and suppose that at least some of Romney’s appeal to this person lies in the fact that Romney is a Mormon. In my mind, that makes the motivation behind the praying and fasting for Romney (rather than for Obama) a prejudiced one. The idea seems to be that a Mormon will handle things better—and in greater accordance with God’s will—than even a smart, well-intentioned politician of another (or even of no) faith. Perhaps I am assuming too much. I am obviously passing some judgment on the author of the status update. But I highly doubt—all the while admitting I could be wrong—that the person who wrote the status update would have suggested fasting and praying for just any old Republican. As a Mormon, I am insulted by this. Being a Mormon doesn’t guarantee anything about your character. Neither does being a non-Mormon. To give higher credence to an LDS politician merely because he is LDS is both arrogant and ignorant.
Who does God want to become the next president of the United States? I can’t pretend to know. Thus, I would consider it blasphemous to pray to God that the candidate I personally favor will be elected. Is it appropriate to pray concerning the elections at all? Sure it is. I think it would be great if people prayed about their own choices concerning whom to vote for. I think it would be great if people prayed that whoever gets elected, that person will honorably fulfill his or her political duties. I think it would be great if people prayed that God’s will, whatever it is, be done. But praying that God will help Mitt Romney get elected is a bit too much like praying that God will help BYU win the football game. As a Mormon, I don’t suppose that God wants BYU to win every football game just because the school is associated with the LDS Church. I have no reason for believing God cares one way or the other about BYU winning any football games. Similarly, it’s quite possible that God doesn’t care whether or not Mitt Romney gets elected president. God might even desire that Mitt Romney not get elected. Thus, praying to God to bring about the “good” of making sure people like Romney well enough to vote for him strikes me as attributing to God a desire that we are absolutely unwarranted in ascribing. It suggests that one thinks of God as being as narrow-minded and prejudiced as is oneself. And that strikes me as blasphemous.
That’s my two cents. Make sure you pay your tithing on it.