Herod is God Tee-Shirts

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This really is an historic day, a day on which a black man will become president of the United States. That doesn’t make it a good day, but it does make it memorable and worthy of comment.

Those who have followed my political writing for any time at all know that I have been very concerned about the rise of the American empire. This is not because of the size or scope of American power, or even of its applications here or there. The problem is always religious. Man in his unfallen condition was created for kingly greatness, and in his fallen condition he keeps reaching for that, and he cannot reach for it without overreaching and tumbling into idolatry and hubris. This is why the lordship of Jesus Christ must be affirmed and acknowledged in truth, and in every aspect of life. This is why we need Jesus, no matter what. This why we need the Lord Jesus, even in the public square . . . especially in the public square. Without Him, every grand venture must fall headlong, and become a terrible thing.

Funny thing, conservative critics of American empire (and there have been many) have had to deal with some odd companions, manifested through a chorus of clamoring voices that will now, with a party of the left in power, go inexplicably silent. All their concerns about American empire will vanish like the morning dew, and they will be vanishing when the final toxic but hitherto missing ingredient — emperor worship — arrives on the scene.

The over-the-top adulation of Obama that we are seeing is not just silly — it is wicked. When Obama puts his hand on the Bible to take his oath of office, that Bible really should be opened to this text.

“And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. But the word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:20-24).

God takes this kind of thing seriously, and we must do so also. What should Herod have done? What could he do, when all those tee-shirt vendors were so out of control as to be hawking their “Herod is god” wares? Well, he needed to rebuke all of it, and give glory to God instead. One time at an Elvis concert, a row of young girls stood up in the middle of the concert with a long banner they had made which said, “Elvis is king.” Elvis stopped, pointed at them, and said, “No. Jesus Christ is king.” They all sat down, abashed, which several millions of politico-idolaters today need to be taught how to do. And things have gotten pretty bad when Elvis is a model we have to look up to.
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