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If We Should Lose Our Way

God told me that He was going to tell Pat Robertson who will win the presidential election in 2004.

Just kidding. The messages I get from God are seldom that clear and specific and are never about politics. In case you missed the headlines, television evangelist Pat Robertson announced that the Lord has told him President Bush is going to win the 2004 election in a “blowout.”

Such statements from Robertson are not surprising. What’s surprising is that God would be so interested in politics. Don’t get me wrong. Politics is important. But the last time I checked the New Testament, Jesus wasn’t interested in changing the world through politics. He was more interested in changing people’s hearts, healing their bodies, restoring their hope, forgiving their sins and treating people with love and compassion. I think God still the same way.

So I find it odd that God would find it more important to tell Pat Robertson who is going to win the 2004 presidential election than in telling him where he ought to invest his money.

Just a few months ago the country of Liberia was once again caught in a quagmire of civil war. President Charles Taylor, who waged a seven-year war before being elected as president, continued to battle a rebel group who had been fighting his army for three years, seeking a regime change. The rebels agreed to lay down their weapons as soon as Charles Taylor left the country.

As innocent people continued to be killed, the United States government finally made a decision to send in a few Marines as a sign of force and to monitor the conflict. President Bush made public statements that it was in the best interest of the country of Liberia and for peace that Charles Taylor leave. The country of Nigeria had agreed to grant him asylum.

Robertson berated the president for intruding into a sovereign leader’s right to govern his people. Someone must have smelled a rat. Why would Robertson be so upset about Bush’s decision to intervene in this country’s civil issues for the sake of peace?

It didn’t take long for the news media to track the source of Robertson’s opposition. It was an $8 million investment in the gold mines of the country which Charles Taylor controlled.

Recently, a National Geographic special documented Taylor’s part in funding rebels in the country of Sierra Leone, Liberia’s next-door neighbor, creating a civil war within that country. His interest in Sierra Leone was the country’s rich deposit of diamonds. These rebels became infamous for their brutality to anyone who opposed them, cutting off hands as punishment.

It was this type of widely held information about Taylor that led a U.N.- backed tribunal to indict Taylor as a war criminal during a rare trip out of the country. He quickly fled back to Liberia before he could be arrested.

Meanwhile, the body count in Liberia continued to rise. Helpless Liberians stacked bodies up at the gate of the U.S. Embassy in an effort to get the attention of U.S. authorities. They finally did. When President Bush decided to flex some U.S. muscle for the sake of peace, Robertson berated the president for “undermining a Christian Baptist president.”

The media might not understand people who claim to speak on behalf of God, but they surely do understand people who seek to use politics and religion for monetary gain.

Robertson may be right about the 2004 presidential election. George Bush might win by a landslide. But I don’t think Robertson has an inside track to God. He just has a big pulpit that’s often as political as it is religious.

If Robertson does have some special communication with God, he ought to try to convince God to tell all the Democratic candidates to drop out of the race. Then we could go skip all these caucuses and primaries.

The Democrats and the Republicans could donate all their money for the election to charity or to help ease our budget deficit.

John Kerry wouldn’t have to mortgage his home. We could save ourselves an entire year of debate about education, homeland security, taxes, the deficit, the economy and the war. We wouldn’t have to endure any negative television commercials of one candidate berating another.

Should we lose our way, all we’d have to do is tune in to CBN and ask Robertson what the Lord has to say.

Michael Helms is pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Moultrie, Ga. A version of this column appears in The Moultrie Observer.