Rev. Arnold Conrad of the Evangelical Free Church, praying Friday at a McCain campaign appearance in Iowa:
“I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it is Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that [Obama] wins, for a variety of reasons,”
“And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day,” he added.
To their credit, the McCain campaign almost immediately distanced themselves from the pastor’s remarks.
God needs to be made aware that his reputation is at stake?!?
Aside from the profound religious ignorance Rev. Conrad reveals- Hindu and Buddha are not the names of gods- his “prayer” also reveals the blasphemous practice of so many religious people who believe they have God in a box. These are the religionists who believe they know exactly who God is, what God should be doing, and how God should be doing it. They are engaged in the very seductive, easily fallen into psychological practice of projection.
Karl Wolfe, Ph.D., defines the phenomena this way: “Psychological projection is the phenomenon whereby one projects one’s own thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings..onto someone else.” In the negative, for instance, an overweight person might be prone to point out to others the slovenly, bad eating habits of other heavy people. In the case of people like Rev. Conrad, projecting onto God one’s own selfish desires or personal preferences, is the ultimate example of this very human defense mechanism.
Thus,we hear militant Muslims speaking for Allah as they defend their support for terroristic activities: “Blessings upon he who acts for the sake of Allah and went on raids for His sake.” (Dr. Ibraham Maadi, here). We also hear with great frequency, such pontifications from Rev. Pat Robertson, like this one, spoken after the school board in Dover, PA, was voted out of office for mandating the teaching of Intelligent Design: “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected him from your city. And don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for his help because he might not be there.”
These, unfortunately, are not isolated quotes. Most of us tend, unthinkingly, to project our own desires,wants,needs, and definitions onto others, including God. But to do so, without sometimes painful self-examination, is wrong. We lessen God by doing so; we make God conform to our own political, cultural, and social biases. And, in the case of religious leaders, such personal projections are easily mistaken by those who trust such leaders for spiritual guidance, as actual pronouncements of God.
I wonder if Rev. Conrad (or Dr. Maadi, or Rev. Robertson) would be willing to pray as Jesus did, “..nonetheless, not my will, but yours be done.” Actually, I think I already know the answer, at least in Rev. Conrad’s case: if Obama wins the presidential election, he will probably blame Satan. Satan is every unthinking projectionist’s fall guy for things that happen outside the boundaries that have been constructed for God to operate within. Unlike Jesus, they are unable to accept God’s will as such, when it goes against their projected hopes.