Thursday, October 25, 2012

Who's Listening to God?

Indiana Republican Senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock is sure God wants children conceived through rape to be born.  They are “something God intended,” he said during a debate this week in the Hoosier state.

“I came to realize life is that gift from God,” he explained.  “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

How does Mourdock know what God intends?  Assuming he doesn’t have a direct phone link, I’m guessing he is, too.

After all, God apparently thought it was all right for Greeks and Romans, among others, to practice abortion and infanticide.  He even seemed nonplussed by the early Roman Catholic Church’s initial decision to allow abortions of girl fetuses at seven weeks and boys at nine weeks.  That was only changed centuries later.

In fact, God’s most enduring quality His obvious patience.  The rest of us are developing shorter fuses.  After all, the suggestion that God recommended some course of typically horrific action is pretty commonplace these days.

For example, George Zimmerman (left), who eventually found not guilty in Orlando for the death of an unarmed teenager, told police he regretted nothing because he believed “it was all God’s plan.”

Carlos Rico in Lubbock, Texas, told police that God told him to kill his son, Angel.  The boy survived.  No word on whether God will punish Carlos for failing to live up to orders.  After all, God disavowed Saul when the Israeli king refused to completely annihilate a captured tribe as ordered.  Any punishment should be equal, right?

Terry Mark Morgan, who killed a Southwest Airlines flight attendant in 2007, told police God called on him to “carry out a code of retribution” by killing a gay man because “sexual perversion” is the “worst sin.”  His victim, however, wasn’t gay.

More importantly, if God wanted to get rid of gay people – to paraphrase Tevya’s comment about the poor – why did He make so many of them?

God doesn’t always prefer corpses.  A Washington state man told police in June this year that he started a fire in his apartment with a marijuana blunt on God's orders.  Kevin Ellison was arrested on arson.  God has avoided all charges so far.

Politicians, of course, hear from God on a regular basis.

On a radio show, former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said his granddaughter sent him a text: "I love you Pa Pa. You're awesome." Cain was moved. "That wasn't playing,” he said.  “I think that God was speaking to me through my granddaughter."

He promptly ran for the presidency only to have media tell people about his alleged extramarital affairs and other problems.  God apparently overlooked those tidbits in His pep talk.
Other would-be presidents who hear God’s siren call include Michele Bachmann, who may not survive her re-election bid for the House of Representatives; former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum; and Texas Governor Rick Perry.  They are all Republicans, who apparently believe God only talks to them.
Regardless of political affiliation, the people who claim God spoke to them all insist they are religious, but that’s clearly a matter of interpretation. 

After all, according to the Bible, He also said:

You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse His name.” (Exodus 20:7)  Leviticus (19:12 ) adds, “Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely. I am the Lord.

Of course, no one is listening to that either.

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at

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