We’ve all heard, ad infinitum, U.S. politicians end speeches with “God Bless America.” Often a heartfelt message of consociation, sometimes it seems more like rote pandering.
When foreign leaders intone God’s blessing, we may even feel less than benevolent.
What, specifically, does the phrase mean?
Disregarding the obvious contentions about the existence and nature of God, why would a just deity suspend the laws of nature to favor those within an imaginary border?
In a vast universe, why would an omnipotent creator single out one country—filled with squabbling partisans—for supernatural blessings?
For who and what do politicians entreat intercessive sanctification?
Supporters of gay marriage, pro-choice, legalizing marijuana? Flock-fleecing imams, money-laundering narcos, aborigine-abusing supremacists?
Tax-avoiding militias, murderers, bilkers of senior citizens? Toy-collecting bikers, novel-writing alcoholics, charitable-giving atheists?
Vultures, mutant microbes, kudzu vines?
Cyclones, floods, droughts?
While asking God to bless their country is a sincere sentiment for many politicians, how I would admire the intellectual courage of the others to admit that theirs is a reflexive, coded valediction to appeal to or expand their religious base.
If they added a postscript asking God to also bless poor souls and arid lands within imaginary borders everywhere, my admiration would know no boundaries.