PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Taking God Hostage

Most people, in my opinion, misunderstand the commandment “Don’t take God’s name in vain.” It is often associated with using course and vulgar language, which while at times can be both crude and degrading, has absolutely NOTHING to do with what I believe this commandment is about.

This commandment is about using God’s name to claim power for yourself. Claiming, for example, that God would want you to shop or vote in a certain way that is purely for the benefit of the person making that proclamation or that God favors one nation over another.

People of faith can have differing opinions on politics and God is NOT partial to ANY nation over another. To claim otherwise is to use God’s name in vain.  People  who hold this view move from having a deeply held conviction to espousing what can become a cult — worship of an individual and the “god” they create in their own image.

Endorsing a Bible, where the royalties will be used to pay for legal fees related to a criminal indictment regarding paying hush money to cover up having sex with a porn star, is not only grotesque, it is blasphemy. The video, which I watched, crosses so many lines it looks like a picture scribbled by a toddler.

Statements like “religion is so missing but it’s going to come back and it’s going to come back strong just like our country is going to come back strong” and “we must make America pray again”  are anathema to what Jesus preached and how he lived. They are arrogant and terrifying.

In this most holy of weeks, we watch a suffering servant, one who focused on forgiveness, even as the nails were pounded into his hands. We watch one who uses vulnerability and love to unite us with God and who preached a message of peace and grace.

There are issues that are of greater importance, of course, but this one reveals the dark underbelly of what moves something from a political movement, where I respect people whose opinions differ from mine, to a cult, where my God is taken hostage and used for a purpose that is antithetical to what Christian faith is intended to be.

Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.”(Gal 6:7) As I pray, I hold fast to this belief and my focus on the one who showed us, through humility and sacrifice, how to honor God’s name and not use it for our purpose. For only God is truly great.

2 thoughts on “PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Taking God Hostage”

  • Lillian Bachmeier March 28, 2024 at 10:49 pm

    This is an excellent article. Did you see the short video “God made Trump.” Google it. Also, the well known statement or adage, “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” I found a picture through google showing Trump with the American flag on both sides of him, and holding the bible.

    1. Paula March 29, 2024 at 12:25 pm

      So terrifying. Truly idolatry.


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