“The bigger government gets, the smaller God gets. As people become more dependent on government, [they become] less dependent on God.” This is the political theology of outgoing Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), and I think he’s right.
First of all Sen. DeMint recognizes that people are intrinsically dependent. Notice he doesn’t call for us to become independent or self–reliant, only that we shift our dependence from government to God. And he’s right: despite all rhetoric to the contrary, we are not in control of our lives. If we were we would never die of anything but old age, and maybe not even that. But horrible things happen to us, and there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it. So we turn to government or God for help.
Which is the better choice?
Imagine you’re stranded alone on a desert island. Just you; no Gilligan, the Skipper, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor, or Mary Ann. Chances are you wouldn’t last a week. You’re dependent, and need help. So you turn to government. Since you are the only person on this island you declare yourself Emperor. Yet with the full force and credit of the government behind you, there is still there is nothing you can do help yourself. So clearly government is useless. What about God?
Having abandoned dependence on government, you abdicate your throne and stop construction of your palace. You spend hours a day praying to God for help instead, but, still, nothing changes, and your death is no less imminent.
So which is the better choice: government or God? It turns out that neither is of much use, but I still side with Sen. DeMint and go with God. Here’s why: God is cheaper.
Let’s get back to the real world of DeMint’s America. There are lots of people who aren’t making it. They need help. If they become dependent on government they are taking money out of my pocket. But if they depend on God it doesn’t cost me a thing. I don’t even have to feel guilty about not helping, since if there were worthy of help God would have helped them, and who am I to go against the will of God. It even says this on money: “In God we trust.” God, not the government.
When I walk by the homeless on the street and reach into my pocket to pass them some cash I see that message and slip them a tract on Jesus instead. And I get those tracts for free at any of a dozen churches in my neighborhood. In fact there’s usually one right next to where the homeless are sitting. Trust in God, my friend, trust in God.