I saw a bumper sticker saying “God Bless the Whole World — No Exceptions” this morning on the way to work. Ignoring context, it seems like a nice message. After all, similar to the beauty pageant contestant’s wish for “world peace,” wishing for God’s blessing on the world would seem admirable.
However, we live in context. This bumper sticker is being presented as an alternative to the “God Bless America” bumper stickers. I suspect that someone with a “God Bless the Whole World” bumper sticker plastered on his car believes it is wrong, maybe even “un-Christian,” to ask for God’s blessing on America.
I disagree. After all, when I learn that a friend or family member is going through difficult times, my response is not, “I’ll pray for everyone in the world.” No, I respond, “I’ll pray for you.”
Think about it. Suppose you tell a friend you’re going in for surgery, and he responds, “I’ll pray for everyone in the world — no exceptions.” How would you feel? What message would you get from your friend? Probably that he doesn’t value you, your relationship, and that he doesn’t see anything special about you.
Intentional or not, that’s the message the driver with the “no exceptions” bumper sticker is giving America.
Update: Rather than delete posts I no longer agree with, I hope my comments below show my slow change of opinion. Change is good.
26 responses to “God Bless the Whole World — No Exceptions”
Hi, Joe! When I wrote the original article, I viewed the bumper sticker as a political statement, not a prayer. I saw it as a reaction to “God Bless America” stickers. Maybe it was; it doesn’t matter. What matters is what people think it means when they slap it on their bumpers.
From the response I got, the people who have this on their cars are not responding to a narrower view. The “no exceptions” phrase is not an implication that another, lesser view would ask for exceptions.
I have learned. :-)
Like you, I cringe when religion is pulled into a political setting. As Abraham Lincoln said (I now question any of his quotes on the Internet), “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
Thanks for dropping by.