Sometimes an act of conscience can seem foolish to those who don't share an individual's viewpoint. That was probably the case when Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee objected to the use of the phrase "acts of God" in a bill providing relief to victims of the recent violent storms in his state.
Eyes rolled when the governor sent the bill back to the Legislature for new wording. Mr. Huckabee, a Baptist minister as well as a politician, stated that signing the bill with those words included would violate his conscience. "I feel that I have indeed witnessed many acts of God," he said by way of explanation, "but I see His actions in the miraculous sparing of life, the sacrifice and selfless spirit in which so many responded to the pain of others."
"Acts of God," as the governor's critics were quick to point out, is the traditional insurance industry way of referring to climatic and geological phenomena that defy human control. But that tradition has more to do with fatalism than religious truth. The thrust of Scripture, and of spiritual insight, is toward a God of Love, whose power is manifested in healing and life, not destruction and death.
We applaud the governor's act of conscience and trust his legislative colleagues will promptly make the simple change to a phrase that doesn't impugn the divine nature, and get the aid rolling quickly. And we hope others take note.