I realize how fortunate, how lucky, I am. I am tempted to count my “blessings” and consider myself “blessed,” but then I recall what a wise man once said. “It’s fine to count your blessings and be grateful for how blessed you think you are but then it implies that someone who does not enjoy what you have or is in a bad situation is not blessed, or worse, is abandoned or cursed by God.” In other words, some are chosen while others are not.
Though I do not think for one moment that I am privileged by the divine or do I assume that most people who express gratitude for their good fortune seriously believe that they are more favored by God, the reality is that there are those who really believe they are “chosen.” Moreover, they are certain, without an iota of doubt, what their heavenly mission on earth is.
At best, those of us who are not hand picked by God are not invited to fundamentalist soirees and will be left behind at the end time, an expiration date that shifts often and rather conveniently. At worst, people are treated like animals and senseless wars are waged.
George W. Bush and his followers believed that the 43rd president was anointed from on high. At the 2004 RNC National Convention, George Pataki proclaimed:
He is one of those men God and fate somehow lead to the fore in times of challenge … I thank God that on September 11th, we had a president who didn’t wring his hands and wonder what America had done wrong to deserve this attack … I thank God we had a president who understood that America was attacked, not for what we had done wrong, but for what we did right.
Indeed, Bush had a tingling sensation that he was God’s agent. In the book, The Faith of George W. Bush, candidate Bush was quoted as telling James Robinson, an evangelical minister, that “I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen… I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.” At a Southern Baptist Convention he said “I believe that God wants me to be president.”
There is no need to list the devastating cost, suffering and death caused by Bush’s choice to engineer a war, rationalized by manufactured information, justified by neocon rhetoric, and instigated by the idea that he was chosen. Neither is there need to beleaguer the point by enumerating the irrational acts, policies and institutions that discriminate and oppress certain groups because those in power and in the majority believe they are the chosen ones and thus could not possibly be wrong.
And so I now consider myself fortunate, lucky, no more blessed or cursed than my neighbor.
Image from “The Jesus Factor.”