Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann To Fight For God’s Love
Rick Perry said this weekend that he’s being “called” by God to run for the White House. Michele Bachmann too has made such claims. Is the Republican Presidential campaign becoming a holy war?
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Texas Governor and religious crusader Rick Perry has yet to announce his all but certain presidential campaign, but the Republican did tell the Des Moines Register that he’s being “called” to the campaign trail.
“I’m not ready to tell you that I’m ready to announce that I’m in, but I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do,” Perry told the politically influential Iowa paper. “This is what America needs.”
Of course Perry’s not alone in his rapturous declaration: Republican political candidates and officials have developed quite the habit of saying someone upstairs charts their course.
George W. Bush, Perry’s boss during his tenure as lieutenant governor, based his entire presidential reign on divine intervention, and allegedly told Texas Evangelical leader James Robinson in 1999, “I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me.”
And Michele Bachmann, a self-described “fool for Christ,” in 2006 said that God had called her to the U.S. Congress.
“God then called me to run for the United States Congress,” the then-state senator told congregants at the Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis.
[My husband and I] took three days, and we fasted and we prayed. And we said “Lord, is this what you want, are You sure? Is this Your will?” And after, along about the afternoon of day two, He made that calling sure.
And it’s been now twenty two months that I’ve been running for United States Congress. Who in their right mind would spend two years to run for a job that lasts for two years? You’d have to be absolutely a fool to do that.
You are now looking at a fool for Christ. This is a fool for Christ.
Then, last year, before she announced her presidential bid, Bachmann told religious news outlet World Net Daily that she would only run if God told her to do it.
“I will not seek a higher office if God is not calling me to do it,” she said. “If I am called to serve in that realm I would serve, but if I am not called, I wouldn’t do it.”
Bachmann reiterated that stance yet again during a recent interview with CBS News’ Bob Shieffer, telling him that she got a “sense of assurance” from God about her career path.
As with all things religious, the Perry and Bachmann assertions raise many questions. For example, how can God be calling two candidates for the same race? And where does that leave poor Rick Santorum? The former Pennsylvania Senator and future also-ran has shaped his campaign’s message around one idea, “America belongs to God.”
And what of another presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich? He said God forgave him his infidelities; if he’s so sure of God’s approval, has he too heard the White House “calling?”
Are all of these people in direct competition for a beatific endorsement? Are they meant to hike atop the Biblical backdrop of Mount Moriah and offer a sacrifice, a la Abraham or Isaac? Or are they supposed to wander through the desert for 40 years, looking for another sign? Or maybe they’re not hearing God at all, but just run of the mill voices in their heads?
While these candidates only say God called them to office to win social conservative votes, you’d think they could find a more plausible explanation, one that’s just as politically expedient, like that the ghosts of the Founding Fathers came to them in their sleep or that Uncle Sam appeared in their tortilla — oh, wait, make that apple pie.
In the end, though, maybe God’s vote doesn’t matter; Bachmann does, after all, still have the godly influence of the conservative Koch Brothers, and no other candidate can say that — not yet, at least.