“Convention”-al Theology

We shouldn’t be surprised when speakers at political conventions toss out bones to their various breeds of constituency. After all, they want to appeal to everyone. A large block of voters have strong religous beliefs, so naturally the speakers want to appeal to them. Kerry tried to court the religous vote by not wearing his faith on his sleeve—a move which in the end may have made him appear more secular than spiritual.

Whoever wrote Rudy Giuliani’s speech didn’t fare much better. In an otherwise stirring speech, there comes these lines:

Have faith in the power of freedom. People who live in freedom always prevail over people who live in oppression. That’s the story of the Old Testament. That’s the story of World War II and the Cold War. That’s the story of the firefighters and police officers and rescue workers who courageously saved thousands of lives on September 11, 2001.

Hmmm. The story of the Old Testament is one of a free people prevailing over those in oppression? That’s news to me. The story of Israel is one of captivity—even when the Israelites are freed, they fall right back into it. Not exactly the perfect model for a free people. The story of the Old Testament is one of a mighty God who is faithful even when his people are not.

It’s obvious that the writer and the speaker here did not do their homework. (I actually didn’t get to hear the speech because of the media blackout, so I’m not sure if Giuliani made any last minute revisions) Will this gaffe not make me rethink my vote? No, but it is irritating to find such oversight among the ranks.