As a Christian minister, I must say that I was very heartened to see a photograph of you published on the Huffington Post website a few days ago, kneeling in front of our nation’s capital, holding hands with others’ whose beliefs you share, and head bowed in prayer. It is heartening to see you take time from your busy schedule, rallying support to repeal a healthcare reform bill, and by doing that, deny access to healthcare for millions by keeping the cost of insurance premiums at their current unaffordable levels, to say a word of prayer. I say this even while mindful of the words of Christ, “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them” (Matt. 6:5). But knowing that God is a loving and forgiving God, I’m sure you can get a pass on that one.
But I must admit to confusion as to which god you were praying to and what exactly you were praying for. Was it the God who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ, who taught us, “As you have done unto the least of these, so you have done unto me,” … who healed the lame, the sick, the blind, the demon possessed throughout the Four Gospels without excluding on the basis of ability to pay, pre-existing conditions, or adherence to a particular political or religious affiliation?
Or is it the god revealed in the writings of Ayn Rand, whose philosophy, I understand, you have studied and admire greatly? The god of Free Market Enterprise, who despises love and compassion as weakness? Who preaches the gospel of “Survival of the Richest?” Who urges us to commit the sin of Sodom – pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but does not aid the poor and the needy (Ezekiel 16:49-50)?
As a nation, we have a choice to make – which God or god we will serve? I’m sorry to inform you, we can’t choose both – it must be one or the other. As Christ told us, “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” For my part, I have chosen the God who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ; so I support the Affordable Care Act, food stamps, TANF, unemployment compensation, raising the minimum wage, and a whole host of things you are mostly likely against. I support these things not because I am a liberal, but because my faith informs my politics and not the other way around. But since you apparently believe in the power of prayer (assuming the picture I saw of you was not some staged photo-op), I want you to know I’m praying for you – but, I’m probably not praying for the same kind of things you are. I’m praying that you and the rest of our elected leaders will put behind them their partisan bickering, pass a continuing resolution (better yet, a budget which is really what you should be working on!), and allow the ACA a chance to work. In short, I’m praying God will soften your heart.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Michael W. Woods