By Judge Wendell Griffen, Justice is a Verb!
US politicians traditionally end their speeches by saying “God bless America” even when the nation engages in conduct that is blatantly unjust. Some preachers and other religious folks believe we should pray for the nation and its leaders no matter what the nation and its leaders are doing. This idea of praying that God bless injustice is moral and ethical nonsense. That idea also runs contrary to what anyone can find in Scripture.
Don’t take my word for it. Pick up your Bible. Turn to Jeremiah 7:16 and you’ll find these words in the New Revised Standard Version: As for you, do not pray for this people, do not raise a cry or prayer on their behalf, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. Yes, God ordered Jeremiah not to pray for the nation of Judah, and added that if Jeremiah disobeyed the order “I will not hear you.”
Turn to Jeremiah 15:1 and read these words: Then the LORD said to me: Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! God refused to even consider sparing the nation from the consequences of its persistent wickedness.
Read these words at Isaiah 1:15: When you stretch out your hands, I will hide your eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
Read Amos 5:21-24: I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals, I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Read Micah 3:1-4: And I said: Listen, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Should you not know justice?—you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin off my people, and the flesh off their bones; who eat the flesh of my people, flay their skin off them, break their bones in pieces, and chop them up like meat in a kettle, like flesh in a caldron. Then they will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have acted wickedly.
Now turn back to Jeremiah 7 and read verses 21 thru 28. The New Revised Standard Version reads: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.” Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward. From the day that your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors.
At Luke 23:6-9 we read that Pontus Pilate sent Jesus to Herod Antipas the night before Jesus was crucified, and that Herod questioned Jesus “at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer.” Herod was the ruler who ordered the beheading of John the Baptist.
From its birth, this nation has lied, stolen, cheated, terrorized, murdered, raped, and tortured vulnerable people. Generation after generation of US politicians and their religionist cronies have deliberately disregarded the cries for justice from oppressed people. For generations, this nation refused to hear or heed prophets of divine justice. Through it all, self-righteous politicians and religionists have said, “God bless America.” So when these characters hold their prayer assemblies, meals, festivals, and other spectacles, remember that you are watching a charade.
The injustices that defined the United States throughout its history have now come home to roost as Donald Trump’s presidency. As prophetic people, watch this mess. Don’t pray for the United States. Curse its injustices. And when people ask why you aren’t praying for the United States, tell them what God told prophets to other unjust nations.
God isn’t listening.
Judge Wendell L. Griffen, an Arkansas lawyer, jurist, legal educator, religious leader, and public speaker. For more than three decades, Wendell Griffen has counseled business, military, government, non-profit organizations, and religious institutions about strategic planning, organizational teamwork, development, leadership, and morale, community and client relations, government relations and public policy, as well as legal affairs and litigation management. Follow him @Judggriff