(Photo: Reuters/Gary W. Green)
"God is not a racist," says theologian and Christian philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig in response to an Ivy League professor's controversial blog post in which she argues that George Zimmerman's acquittal is reason to believe her god is different from white America's god.
Anthea Butler, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Religious Studies, made the comments in a blog post on Monday on ReligionDispatches.org.
"…I know that this American god ain't my god. As a matter of fact, I think he's a white racist god with a problem. More importantly, he is carrying a gun and stalking young black men," Butler writes.
Craig, who is founder of ReasonableFaith.org, released a statement on Thursday directed at Butler's commentary in which he said, "Not so fast."
"Professor Butler is anthropomorphizing political and social situations into theology, which is simply ludicrous on many levels," said Craig.
"Professor Butler seems to believe in a theology of divine oppression, where God doesn't liberate a people but instead oppresses them," he continued. "This train of thought is flawed – it goes against theology by positioning God as an antagonist working against human progress, which is just not the case."
Butler prefaced her statement about a "white racist god," by writing, "God ain't good all of the time. In fact, sometimes, God is not for us. As a black woman in an [sic] nation that has taken too many pains to remind me that I am not a white man, and am not capable of taking care of my reproductive rights, or my voting rights, I know that this American god ain't my god."
Craig writes that in Butler's "eschewed theology and philosophy, the church shifts its focus from faith and reason to faith and political action/sociology."
He argues, "It is the human being or humanity and not God who becomes increasingly central, methodologically and otherwise. This [blog post] is not a reasonable explanation of anything."
Butler writes that when Zimmerman told Sean Hannity that it was God's will that he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, "he was diving right into what most good conservative Christians in America think right now. Whatever makes them protected, safe, and secure, is worth it at the expense of the black and brown people they fear."
However, Craig counters this premise by writing, "What's perhaps most ridiculous about this theology is that it seems Prof. Butler is trying to draw an analogue between God and Zimmerman's situation, which is completely unfounded. Trying to press social and political situations onto a theology of God is methodologically backwards and is nothing more than a personal construct of Prof. Butler.
"Orthodox theology has God as crux of all reality - God saving people for his glory and freeing them from the bondage of sin. Prof. Butler is far from orthodoxy when she reverts traditional theology and turns God into a cosmic playground bully."
Butler holds doctorate and master's degrees in religion from Vanderbilt University as well as a masters in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. She is also the author of Women in the Church of God in Christ, Making A Sanctified World, published in 2007.
Zimmerman was found not guilty on all charges in the shooting murder trial of Martin, a teenager who was unarmed. A jury of six women delivered their verdict following 16 hours of deliberations last Saturday evening.
Zimmerman had been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter after shooting Martin dead after an altercation between the two last year. Lawyers for Zimmerman, a volunteer Florida neighborhood watchman, argued that he had killed Martin in self-defense and that he used justifiable deadly force.