The old model of persuasion

“I hoped that the time would come when the leaders of the church would receive the inspiration to change the policy,” Mr. Romney said. When he heard over a car radio in 1978 that the church would offer blacks full membership, he said, he pulled over and cried. But until then, he deferred to church leaders, he said. “The way things are achieved in my church, as I believe in other great faiths, is through inspiration from God and not through protests and letters to the editor.”

From the NYT’s cover story on Mitt Romney.

In other words, persuasion and action do not come from humans, but from God. This is essentially the same position as Origen (3rd century) and his predecessors. And I still get asked why early Christian rhetoric is relevant today. This man wants to be President so he can be God’s instrument.

Now, if one is going to choose a presidental candidate based on faith, I’d think a candidate that hears a God telling him to do great and noble things, or even one who is doing great and noble things without getting specific marching orders, would be more appealing than one who is hearing a God who tells him to sit on his hands and be quiet for 14 years in his church after the Civil Rights Act.

Clearly, MLK and countless other Americans of those decades were not recieving any such message. You might even say they were listening to another God entirely; or, rather, they believed that they could not wait for a politically convenient time to carry out what they believed was God’s will all along.

Watching Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton duke it out, it is easy to lose perspective. Either one of them is vastly preferable to Romney on secularism alone, as neither is waiting for God to tell them to do good works. We already have an administation based on passive obediance and blind loyalty to authority – an arguably theological style of governing – and we don’t need another one.

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