Yesterday was the annual National Day of Prayer. We certainly need that, and need to offer that.

I found it a bit odd that most everyone from the media to the Rev. Franklin Graham saw fit to assail Biden for omitting the term ‘God’ from his proclamation address. I myself was much more perturbed by the photo-op of the two abortionists, child transgendering advocates, and Promoters-In-Chief of the Equality Act with their masked heads bowed in prayer, ‘Catholics’ that they claim to be aside. But that Biden’s having omitted the term ‘G-o-d’ from the proclamation was made such a big deal is only intelligible if you claim to know what the term ‘God’ means.

The Rev. Graham’s conversation with Fox News host Pete Hegeseth made it clear that the term ‘God’ can only signify one thing to the USA, namely what he says it does. Graham said:

“This is a National Day of Prayer. Of course we need to call on God – and not just some generic ‘gods’ or some ‘power’ in the air – but on God himself, the Creator who made and created this Earth and who sent his Son, Jesus Christ from Heaven to this Earth to save mankind from sin by dying on a cross.”

“There is no one else to pray to except to God…”

I do agree fully with the substance of his comment, but not his expression of it. It is crystal clear that Graham regards the term ‘God’ itself as a name, and this country as a Christian nation. And I assert as I have for years that ‘God’ is a generic term in its own right, unless and until one supplies the Name of the ‘god’ as subject of a particular belief system. As I will show below, each and every ‘god’ has a name.

The Name of the Christian God is “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. And when we name the Name of Jesus we are most certainly speaking of God Incarnate per the Hebrew-Christian tradition.

But the Name of the Christian God is not “Creator”, although we may call Him that from time to time. The Muslim deity ” Allah” is regarded as a creator, as is the god of most any religion recognizing a creation. And throughout my tenure with protestant liberalism I have fought and led battles over the politically correct version so common in that religion, namely “The Creator, Redeemer and the Sanctifier” or some other generic appeasement tactic.

As the retired Chaplain of a maximum security, death row prison where I had 13 different religions meeting in the Religious Center, and another dozen or two amongst the population, I do not need to wonder what any card-carrying Muslim might think about the identification of ‘God’ strictly with the Christian belief, as Muslims do not believe the Christian narrative of the Incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection. Islam teaches that the Arabic term ‘Allah’ simply means ‘God’. But I do not worship Allah.

I could carry this point onward ad infinitum if I wanted to waste time. The point is obvious. We are a people of many different belief systems, many different ‘concepts’ within any religion, this phenomenon identifiable in Christianity itself. Yet each of them make use of the term ‘God’. Not all mean the same thing by that term. Considered individually apart from religious enclaves, the problem worsens. As certain of the reformers observed, people are ‘god-making engines’. So when we make use of that term, what do we mean by it?


The Protestant reformer Dr. Martin Luther gave a concise definition of a ‘god’ in his Larger Catechism. “A god is that to which we look for all good and in which we find refuge in every time of need.” He continues that “the trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol [emphasis mine]. Luther then contrasts a correct faith and trust leading us to the true God, and an incorrect faith and trust leading us to a false one. He concludes, “That to which your heart clings and entrust itself is, I say, really your God.”

I summarize it thus in my own catechesis: “A ‘god’ is anyone or anything in whom or in which we place our ultimate trust and value.” Even the God who appeared on Sinai, whose Name ‘YHWH’ the Hebrew people do not pronounce and write as ‘G_d’, told Moses to command, “You shall have no other gods before me.” The First Commandment assumes even the God of Israel recognizes that there are and will be other gods. That assumption occurs throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and especially among the Prophets as they fought against the false gods worshiped during Israel’s sometime apostasies.

Those false gods all had names…

There we encounter the ugly truth about plurality of beliefs in our culture as juxtaposed to the truths that we hold to be self-evident, that people are endowed by their Creator with natural rights… And among those natural rights is to worship and offer prayer to the god whom they name, or no god at all. If we all offer prayer to different gods, then let the true and living God decide that. If somehow the true and living God receives prayers offered by different names, the true and living God will decide that as well.

Let us as a people of the Republic that assures us of such liberties then pray to whom we will, and give thanks for that very liberty.

Then let us hold the religious ‘fur-fights’ in the coffee shops and the Congresses,

Father David+

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