Political Games

The Lord is in a changeable mood these days. So many GOP wannabes and so many disappointing results in Iowa. The fact that politicians now routinely rely on religion to get elected is bad enough, but the very mockery they make of the faith of their followers is criminal. This is the surreal paradox of a nation based on religious freedom—we are free to believe, well, whatever. It never fails that as the weekend rolls around newspapers trot out the religious stories. Men and women who live otherwise secular lives wash into churches like a spiritual tsunami, and by the time the rinse cycle comes, they’ve already got their sights set on the post-game show. In everyday life religion seldom enters, but when it comes to the polls, it counts for everything. Maybe if god didn’t have so many golden boys (the one golden girl dropped out of the race) all of this would be a little easier to bear.

The problem, speaking from the point-of-view of someone experiencing a little too much Christianity at the moment, is that the early form of the faith was a bandaid solution. You see, Jesus’ early followers thought the world was about to end at any minute. This was before the Republican Party even formed, and long before Joseph Smith made up a story about rose-colored glasses and an Italian angel named Moroni. The religion had no longevity plans. All the faithful were supposed to be gone by the end of that first century, and now, some twenty centuries later, they’re running for office in a nation equipped to bully the world. The logic of the situation dictates that if any one candidate is telling the truth of god’s sanction the rest are all pathetic liars.

When politicians began courting religious conservatives in an unconscionably cynical act of sympathy, they were taking out a promissory note they never intended to pay. The nature of religion, however, is to accept even what is improbable—even better—what is impossible. This faith, even after eight years of Bush failing to keep his promises to deliver on the issues they so crave, remains intact. The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Now, less than four years later, they are ready to believe all over again. And as long as we are looking for the impossible, is it too much to ask that religion be left out of politics so that the business of running the nation might be done with at least a modicum of rationality? Now that deserves to be called faith!

GOP's favorite game?

4 thoughts on “Political Games

  1. My but we’re angry today. You find fault with the candidates’ faith and accuse them of using it in their campaign. I blame the media. In their invasive desire for a scoop, they nose into everything and splash it everywhere. I laughed at the post-Iowa Caucus coverage. One station described Santorum’s electorate as “Conservative Born-Again Evangelical Christians.” Can you say redundancy? Well, I laughed the first few times. After that it grew increasingly irritating.

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  2. These candidates/hucksters glom on to religion with a fervor that is downright nauseating, so I can’t see how it is the fault of the media. The media just reports the crap these hacks utter. I’ve yet to hear of a case where NBC and others forced candidates at camera-point to embrace the vision the god has told them to run. With due respect, Jane, your argument makes no sense. The candidates do indeed use faith in their campaigns. Ronald Reagn did it big time when he suckered the religious right into voting for him and then immediately ignored all their demands.

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  3. And therein lies the problem. Voting should not be quid pro quo. We should not be asking for favors in return for our votes. Candidates should run on their record, their capabilities and yes, their beliefs. I should vote on them based on who I think will be best for the country – not who is going to give ME or my special interest or my religion the most stuff. We got off track a long time ago. Sure wish we could get back to the days where the people who served our nation did so at great cost to themselves and often a great risk to their livelihood. It’s gotten to be too much of a gravy train and people want to gain political office for all the wrong reasons. But then that’s me.

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  4. Steve Wiggins

    I still recall my civics teacher in high school (before the Reagan nightmare) telling us in no uncertain terms that voters ALWAYS voted for their economic self-interests. And this was in a very conservative part of the country (as Norm can attest!). By the time I entered college, I saw that my teacher was wrong. What he hadn’t foreseen was the religious co-opting of the Republican Party. I grew up as a Republican. When I developed a brain of my own, fueled by the teachings of Jesus (as then understood), I couldn’t see how anyone claiming the title of Christian could be anything other than a Democrat. Now I see candidates running on a false platform of religious endorsements. Could there have been a worse economic choice than George W. Bush in 2004? Without his religious chops, he had nothing to stand on.

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