You Never Ask Questions When God's On Your Side


At the Democratic debate yesterday, some reporter asked John Kerry whether God is "on America's side." Today, erstwhile Reasoner Matt Welch lists the dumbass questions he'd like to ask the candidates.

My favorite: "What if all this was a dream, and you woke up & you were the president of Mexico?"

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  1. Of course God is on our side. We are His chosen people. We are virtuous, while all others are sinners. To kill sinners puts us in God’s favor. It is His law.

    Oh, and if they happen to have some of that yucky, dirty oil underneath all that sand, God wouldn’t mind that we help ourselves to a little.. while we are there.

  2. The real question is which would hurt a candidate more saying, “No, God is not on our side” or “I don’t believe in God.”

  3. If I contact the “stink creek tourist commission”,
    think I could get in a tour group for Turkshittystan?

  4. Could God microwave a burritto so hot that even He couldn’t eat it?

  5. If I were a candidate, and somebody asked whether God is on our side, I’d say that God is concerned with people, not governments.

    Yes, yes, I know, many people here are atheists. Well, I’m not, and my sincere answer, based on my beliefs, would be that God isn’t interested in governments, so the question is meaningless. I have no doubt that people here can nit-pick it, but that’s where I stand.

  6. the correct answer is, of course, “JOHN KERRY IS YOUR GOD!”

    preferably uttered with a booming voice.

  7. A better answer would have been:

    “God’s on our side, but Allah’s on their side and Buddha is laughing at both of us.”

  8. Thoreau, I’m not so sure the Bible backs up your view. There are numerous cases of God judging nations, especially Israel, sometimes on the basis of what one person did. For instance, in 2 Samuel, Chapter 24, God gives David a choice of three calamities over all of Israel because of a census which David personally undertook. You could argue that Israel is a special case, but there are also cases of judgment on other nations, such as the tirade against Babylon in Isaiah 47.

  9. garym,
    As an agnostic, allow me to be the first to comment that your bible study lesson was perhaps the most idiotic attempt to discredit one man’s faith ever posted in these illustrious forums. Thoreau’s faith is his own and I don’t give a rat’s ass whether it has basis in a given section in the bible or not. Quite frankly, it sounds nice, and while I don’t share it, I’m glad thoreau finds value in it.

    *besides everyone knows that was the demiurge and not the one, true god

    All Hail Eris!

  10. Erstwhile!

    Actually, the best answer would have been, “It depends on the meaning of the word ‘is.'”

  11. garym-

    The Gospels don’t have nearly as much language about nations as the Old Testament does. Some, no doubt, but by and large Jesus preached about how individuals should live. I guess if I were a candidate, and if somebody asked if God was on our side, I’d say that Jesus came to save individuals, not governments, and so the question is meaningless from the standpoint of a Presidential race. I would also add that Paul quit his government job after finding Jesus, so maybe public policy isn’t the best way to execute God’s will.

  12. I did NOT have theological relations with that omen.

  13. What an utterly frightening and stupid question.

  14. The answer I’d like to hear:

    “Well, if God is responsible for presiding over 1700 years of bloody Christianity, no, he is not on our side.”

    Maybe one day…

  15. Thoreau: If we’re talking about Jesus as an individual, then I’d agree that he was concerned with individuals, not nations. But Christianity still carries the baggage of the Old Testament, some of it quite horrible; and Jesus did say (or at least is quoted in the gospels as saying) that all of the “Scripture” remains valid. Can Christians resolve this without backing into the position of picking and choosing their scriptures?

    Rich, it’s really “idiotic” to point out the horrible things that are in the Bible, isn’t it? If something “sounds nice,” then we absolutely mustn’t hurt people’s feelings by pointing out inconsistencies.

    (Yes, i prefer an intelligent religious person to an idiot agnostic.)

  16. Actually, I think the person who asked Kerry that question was trying to echo a question that was put to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

    When he was asked whether or not God was on his side, Lincoln responded, and I’m paraphrasing, that the real question isn’t whether God is on my side but whether I’m on his.

    Kerry may or may not be familiar with that quote, but many Fundamentalist Christians are, and, to them, Kerry’s response would be quite indicative whereas questions like, “Who killed Tupac?” aren’t indicative to anybody.

    I’m usually the first to ridicule the ridiculous, but, given it’s historical context, the reporter’s question just isn’t ridiculous.

  17. I would have liked, “God is on our side. Stay out da Bushes!” I swear to God Jesse Jackson is the only reason to watch either convention.

    – Josh

  18. garym,
    Yes, for the most part, it is pretty idiotic to concern yourself with pointing out the horrible things which are in the bible.

    And I’m at a bit of a loss to find where thoreau has been inconsistent in this thread unless you are suggesting that thoreau, as a christian of some stripe, is to be held accountable for all that is in the bible. I don’t have a problem with folks who want to pick and choose from the bible either as it seems thoreau is doing.

    And, yes, on a matter as unimportant to me as another man’s faith, if it sounds nice and often when it doesn’t, I’m willing to let it lie at that, inconsistent or not.

  19. Can Christians resolve this without backing into the position of picking and choosing their scriptures?

    Not that I’m aware of. No matter how “fair and balanced” we might claim to be when reading the Bible, the fact is that some of it is pretty contradictory, so we have to sort of read one part of it “in light of” another part. e.g. “Well, the Old Testament is pretty harsh on [insert activity here] but the Gospels are all peace and love, so the solution is to hate the sin but love the sinner.” Or whatever.

    I find that a Christian’s understanding of the Bible usually seems to coincide pretty well with that Christian’s personal attitudes, upbringing, etc. Me, being a liberal post-Vatican 2.0 Catholic, I put a lot of emphasis on the Gospels, and I try to read other parts through the lens of “Love they neighbor” and “Do unto others” and “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people that you do unto me.” (Before anybody thinks that means I’m a leftist on economics, whatsoever insane government regulations you use to sink the least of His people in poverty, that you use on Him.)

    Of course, other people have different interpretations. Somebody might ask me the blindingly obvious question “If the Bible is whatever you think it is, why give it any credit at all?” but all I can say is that I’m happy and satisfied with my understanding of life, the universe, and everything, and I’m not hurting anybody else. So I simply ignore questions that might upset my situation of being happy and satisfied without hurting anybody else.

  20. I’d also say that consistency is a good bit overrated but that is probably a whole other argument, other thread.

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…” – R.W. Emerson

  21. What if C-A-T really spelled dog?

  22. I wish Kerry had responded with the old chestnut about God being inordinately fond of beetles.

  23. Well, if I was the candidate..


    Elizabeth Bumiller of the NEW YORK TIMES: “President Bush has said that freedom and fear have always been at war, and God is not neutral between them. He’s made quite clear in his speeches that he feels God is on America’s side.

    “Is God on America’s side?”

    Me: “Ms. Busmiller, I intend to be the President of all Americans, of every faith and of none, and so I find such a question to be needlessly divisive, and contrary to the tradition of our Founders, who explicitly forbade any religious test for office.”


    There would be a temptation to crack wise about politicians, clashing cymbals and whited sepulchres, but one should rise above that if one wants to be the people’s tribune.


  24. This is a tough question, but if God really was on our side I’d expect to see a whole lot more really cool stuff happening when our army attacks. Not to nitpick, but I have yet to see one Humvee transform itself into a radical laserbeam shooting robot fighting for justice. Maybe, instead of asking the candidates to blasphemously declare the will of the Almighty, she should have asked “Do you agree that God has starting to suck, and if so, how would you go about contacting Voltron to serve as a replacement?”

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