God’s Candidates…Or Not
January 16, 2008
One of the best reasons to avoid religion in campaigning for a public office is that anyone can do it. It takes no skill and even less time. America, contrary to the wishful thinking of some, is a nation of devoutly religious people. And in the age of information, candidates no longer have to open their mouths for people to know where they stand. The deeply religious people of the United States now have laptops and broadband; before long, anyone’s comments on any God, verse, issue, or church will be public domain.
And therein lies the problem: Publicity has a tendency to form words and phrases that might mean something, or might not just as easily. As I said in yesterday’s critique of Governor Huckabee’s promise to bring the Constitution under “God’s standards,” the real driving force in this is politics. The evangelical vote is a key, influential element in today’s political arena, none more so than the general electorate. Evangelicals, through misunderstanding of the sovereignty of both God and the Constitution, want to hear how America will be thrust (by the President, remember) back into a nation of morality and biblical decency. Mike Huckabee knows what evangelicals want, and he knows how to give it to them.
This is politics, and it would not upset me if 1) I believed what Huckabee promised is Constitutional and 2)I believed what Huckabee promised is even possible. As such, what the governor said yesterday is neither Constitutional nor possible (though, sadly, this is not a cause/effect thing). So he shouldn’t be saying them, and the fact that he is makes me question his political ability and personal commitment to honesty.
But lest we think this is a disease unique to the theocratic GOP, behold the progressive Senator from Illinois! A very interesting article surfaced on Beliefnet yesterday (a site that gives Sen. Obama a 9 on the God-O-Meter, the same number as Mitt Romney and just one short of Huckabee) detailing some interesting literature being distributed by the Obama campaign:
The brochure being handed out in South Carolina shows a picture of the candidate with his hands together and eyes closed. In large letters, it reads “ANSWERING THE CALL.”Inside, voters learn of a candidate who was “CALLED TO CHRIST” and even larger letters is a “COMMITTED CHRISTIAN” and is quoted saying, “I believe in the power of prayer.”
Obama, a Christian who attends a United Church of Christ congregation in Chicago, has talked about his faith in Iowa and other states, as well, but his campaign literature is particularly focused on his religion here, where he depicts himself, in one picture, before a pulpit, and, in another, praying with an African American man.
Here we have it. Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama could not be much more different on the issues, including those involving religious or personal overtones (the author makes no apologies for his own Southern Baptist, pro-life stance). I dare say, if honesty were mandatory, neither one would call the other a true believer.
But you see, it is politics, and in the Church of Politics, Huckabee and Obama are true brothers in the faith. Huckabee couples his faith with talk of Amendments in order to win a demographic. Obama wants to pray with an African American man, and lets people know it in order to, yeah, you guessed it, win a demographic.
Do you see? Sincerity is not for this humble blogger to measure, but all this fusing of Jesus (whom, Misters Huckabee and Obama, some people take very seriously) with unabashed politicking is nothing short of offensive. What happened to good theology? Wasn’t God supposed to be above all our ways, and none of us His counselor? (Romans 11:34)
Bible: 1. Pandering Politicians: 0