That's exactly the sentiment behind the divine right of kings, a system of ruling in which a monarch owes his rule to the will of God, and not necessarily to the will of his subjects. When the divine right of kings was almost universally acknowledged and accepted, denying it was beyond treason, beyond torture and death; it meant eternal damnation.
If you know much about history---including why the United States came to be---then you have some idea about why people eventually fought to the death to end the divine right of kings. (Except in England, where the monarchs are still ordained, albeit largely powerless.)
So if someone today were to say that his rule was a divine right, the audience would laugh and laugh. Right?
The newest trend in justifying the modern "divine right of kings" is the same interpretation of Romans 13:1-2 that ancient and historical monarchs invoked for the divine right of kings:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
This power granted directly from God is mentioned frequently when discussing the presidency of George W. Bush.
If you asked President Bush, he'd say God not only lead him to run for President, but fostered his win, as well. According to George Bush, he's God's President.
After a sermon by Reverend Mark Craig (about God calling Moses to service), Bush's mother Barbara purportedly turned to her son and said, "He was talking to you." Bush took it to heart, later telling evangelist James Robinson, "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."
That doesn't sound bad; a lot of people pray for divine guidance and a lot of people believe the answer they get is from God.
However, unlike a lot of people, Mr. Bush has a higher level of responsibility, far beyond the personal and the spiritual. Because of his position---which includes powers such as creating new national departments, placing people into influential political offices, vetoing laws, and otherwise affecting the lives of the people---he has a great responsibility and answerability to the People, the Citizens and Denizens of the U.S.
He also has the power to start a war.
Although God's name is invoked more than any other as justificaton for war, it doesn't make it a just cause.
According to Nabil Shaath, Foreign Minister of Palestine, George Bush told him and the Palestinian Prime Minister, "'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"
Bush obviously believes he has a direct line to God, through which he receives crystal clear and detailed messages.
Christian faith should no more be a concern of ability to make good decisions than lack of it should be an indicator of inability to make good decisions. That the President is a born-again Christian is not what concerns me, nor do his frequent references to his beliefs. My issue is not, at all, with his beliefs. I am also not concerned that he merely spews rhetoric to appeal to an electorate. I truly believe he sincerely believes what he says he believes.
According to Professor Bruce Lincoln, who teaches a seminar on the theology of George W. Bush at the University of Chicago Divinity School, the president "does feel that people are called upon by the Divine to undertake certain positions in the world, and undertake certain actions, and to be responsible for certain things. And he makes, I think, quite clear—explicitly in some contexts, and implicitly in a great many others—that he occupies the office by a Divine calling. That God put him there with a sense of purpose."
What's more, Lincoln adds, his primary orientation also holds that "the U.S. is the new Israel as God's most favored nation, and those responsible for the state of America in the world also enjoy special favor. . . . Foremost among the signs of grace—if I read him correctly—are the cardinal American virtues of courage, on the one hand, and compassion, on the other." For Bush to waver would be to tempt God's disfavor; what's more, we can speculate that the very act of holding to his resolve—what his critics identify as stubbornness and arrogance—becomes, tautologically, a way of both producing, and reassuring himself of, his special place in God's plan. The existential benefits are obvious. "Wherever the U.S. happens to advance something that he can call 'freedom,' he thinks he’s serving God's will, and he proclaims he's serving God's will."
Source both quote: Village Voice
The concept that God is on the side of the US and God put Bush in the White House concerns me. It calls into question the place the will of the people has in government in the US, a nation founded on placing the will of the people first.
And that right there is where my trouble lies: to whom does Bush owe his greatest allegiance? Whose will do his decisions reflect? If the will of the people contradicted what he belived was the will of God, which will would he endorse and effect?
Bush and others seem convinced that his leadership is a divine right. In fact, his supporters are the most effusive perpetuators of this concept. General William "Jerry" Boykin is quoted as saying it was definitely God who put Bush in the White House since a majority vote did not.
General Boykin's statement portrays the divine right mode of thinking better than any other.
Does God truly invoke a divine will of who leads people? Can we truly divine so clearly the will of God?
If you take the faith portion out of it---because that is a long, complex consideration and discussion in which you have a variety of beliefs about the degree to which God is in our lives literally (on a daily basis) versus figuratively (on a daily basis)---you still have a worthy discussion about the concept of divine right.
If a leader truly believes his position is divinely willed, then he must believe his ultimate obligation is to God, not to the people, then is he capable of being a democratic leader (as democracy is defined)?
(The above is an honest, general philosophical question.)
Food for thought:
Go read the Declaration of Independence. Review why these men were impelled to declare their independence...read the list of King George's transgressions. Consider current events.
Note: Boykin quote found after reading, "Heaven Sent: Does God endorse George Bush?" By Steven Waldman.
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert