The President works in mysterious ways

I’ve noticed (though I’m by no means the first) that the religious and the politically partisan share some common thought patterns.

God is good and everything that is good comes from God. God gets 100% of the credit for good things (“Praise the lord, we found a cool apartment!”) and 0% of the blame for the bad things (“That tsunami was just a natural disaster. Maybe it was caused by man’s sin.”) If a prayer request appears to have been answered, well then it was God. If a prayer request goes unanswered, well mysterious ways. (Penn Jillette once said he wished he could play poker in mysterious ways.)

Similarly, when the President (Republican or Democrat) does something it is always a success (to his partisans). President Obama’s stimulus hasn’t performed as expected. “Well, just imagine how bad things would have been without it!” or “This just proves we need more stimulus spending!” Partisans in America’s two party system have even adopted a devil figure for their rhetoric–the other party. When you point out that Obama ran on an end to the executive power excesses of the Bush administration, and has now gone so far as to adopt secret assassination lists the response you’ll get is, “But the Republicans would be worse!”

Neither the religious or partisan can see outside the intellectual blinders of their own making. God gets the benefit of incredibly convenient moral accounting. Politicians’ mistakes only prove they were right to begin with, and are, in any event, better than the other guy. I sometimes wonder if it is easier to walk away from God or one’s political ideology. Atheism has the advantage of being supported by all known facts of reality. On the other hand, not voting is more popular than unbelief.

A final thought: what is the standard by which you should give your vote to a person, and what are the chances that a two party system will put forward a person who meets that standard?



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