I’ve seen various claims that we need to “Put God back in the Whitehouse.” The context of these claims indicates a few assumptions:
- God is not now in the Whitehouse.
- Whether or not God is in the Whitehouse is within our power to control.
- Whether or not God is in the Whitehouse is a determined by the congruence of the political ideology of the current occupant of the Whitehouse and the one making the comment.
- In our current election cycle the ones making this claim are saying that the one who professes to be a Christian is somehow keeping God out of the Whitehouse.
- Again, considering our current political cycle, the candidate who is not a Christian is somehow not only a candidate for the highest office in the land, but also for getting God “back” in the Whitehouse. (Note: I have no awareness that this candidate is actively promoting this conviction. On the other hand, I have seen no evidence that he denies it.)
Inasmuch as theocracy reflects the rule of God, and not just rule in God’s name, it is a good thing. God has the knowledge, power and wisdom to rule well. God’s intention is to bless all people, and having created them, knows best what constitutes such blessing. Having God as president would be a good idea on this basis alone.
But which God are those who speak of “Getting God back in the Whitehouse speaking of?” If we’re only talking about the God of conservative politics, I don’t want to have any truck with that God. If we’re talking about the God of Mormonism, I, being a Christian, again don’t want to have any truck with said God. The first option, the God of a political ideology, is an idol. The second, the God of Mormonism, is some other God.
If I were to want a God in the Whitehouse, I’d want the God who became incarnate in Jesus. Of course that God wouldn’t fit very well in our political system. He wouldn’t honor the Lockean dichotomy between the domains of church and magistrate. Jesus claims everything, not just the religious things. Jesus would mess with our economy – and probably not in a way all of us (if any) would like. Jesus would also mess with our foreign policy, again probably in a way none of us would like. I take Jesus too seriously to spend my time looking for a political messiah in some candidate for president.
As a last thought, I think of Josiah, one of the most lauded kings of Judah. Josiah was one of the few good kings. In spite of being one of the good kings, his reign was short and not very successful. His successors – his sons – were disastrous. I don’t look for God in the Whitehouse – either in the current occupant or in a successor. Being president is nasty enough a job without having to be God too. I have political convictions. I’d like the president to operate from similar convictions (i.e., be right). But those convictions, insofar as they are connected with any particular party or partisan expression, have mostly nothing to do with God.