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Hearing "the call" to run for office or Why can't God make up his mind?

Updated on July 21, 2011

“G. W. Bush did IT; Michelle Bachmann has done IT a number of times, and is doing IT again; Rick Perry is currently pondering IT, but has said he is getting more comfortable with IT and will soon make an announcement. Huckabee was told not to do IT. Santorum’s wife says he did IT. As Mormons, it is highly unlikely that Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman would dare do IT; Gingrich would do IT if he thought there was a chance anyone would believe him; Pawlenty's campaign manager, Ayers, did IT …..”

IT is to claim "The Call" from God to run for the presidency.

My, oh my, but we’re simply awash in candidates for America’s highest office all claiming God told them to run. The All-Mighty has endorsed not one, not two, not even three, but a seeming plethora of presidential hopefuls.

I’m no theologian, to be sure, but I find such self-aggrandizement to be an insult not only to my intellect and common sense, but to my spiritual beliefs. This claim, particularly from the mouths of political hopefuls is an anathema to everything I hold dear and sacred.

That God may call a man or woman to a higher purpose is one thing and admirable, as in the case of Mother Theresa who went quietly about doing His will without fanfare, without acclaim, without hope of earthly reward and touched the lives of hundreds of thousands for the better. Or Father Damien who devoted his life to caring for the most despised and abandoned souls in this world. Or the multitude of believers of any religion who toil without recognition to do His bidding as they understand it and make their corner of the world a kinder, more Godly place. Yes, I believe these people are answering the call of God (as they know Him.)

But to claim a divine calling to a seat of national and international power is perverse. These candidates imply that they have been uniquely blessed because God has sent them a private message: Run for president. Each claims to deserve glory and power because God has said so.

Vote for me because it is God’s will!

It’s repugnant!

In fact, I am so nauseated by such presumptions, I feel a calling myself: to write this article. Yes, I’m almost sure such is His will. (Or maybe it’s my own desire cloaked in self-righteousness. Such subtle differences are often hard to discern.)

Now, before you all jump up and start calling me names understand something. I am adamantly opposed to any candidate claiming God’s backing or even suggesting they know God’s will, not because I am anti-Christian (or anti any other belief) but because, like a lot of other well-known folks in history, I believe very strongly in a separation of state and religion – very strongly.

The head of state must be able to put his/her own religious beliefs to one side and make decisions based on the best interests of the nation which includes ALL the people of that nation, not just those whose beliefs coincide with his own. And that decision had better be based on the facts of the situation, not divine intervention. Any would-be national leader who prefaces any utterance with the words “God has told me …” should never get within view of the presidency.

Consider the ego of such a statement – the overblown gall. “God speaks to me. I know what God wants.”

Consider the implications: for if “It is God’s will that I run for President”, then surely the next logical statement is “It is God’s will that I am President.” And if that is true, then it must be against God’s will to oppose the President (or perhaps it is Satan’s will to do so.) For surely, if God has seen fit to place someone in the position it is to do His will. So, without mincing words, we come to “It is God’s will I rule.” It is one tiny baby step removed.

“I stand before you as your queen, anointed by God. My word is His law.” – Elizabeth I

“God put me here; it is His will. I will not give up those divine rights He gave me.” – Czar Nicholas II when refusing to share power with the Duma (elected parliament.)

Yes, there are those in this country whose religious beliefs include the idea of a religion-based government, who would be thrilled to think God is at the helm. They’d like to see religious belief rule over the law of man. They would happily throw over two and a half centuries of a democratic republic, including the ideals of freedom of belief – perhaps those ideals in particular.

We see them daily, those self-righteous, closed-minded, bigoted ignoramuses whose agenda boils down to “everyone must live the way I think we should live. I am right. I and I alone know the truth.” Their view of the world must be everyone’s. Being free to live life as they choose is not good enough for them. We must all follow their chosen path.

Freedom is only for those that know God’s mind. The rest of us must submit. We are to live in a theocracy. But our theocracy will be the right one, unlike those other theocracies that are wrong. Those living under the yoke of religion in Iran need to be liberated, but those here at home, equally yoked, are lucky to be here (and if we don’t call ourselves so, we are treasonous or one of those devil’s spawn known as liberals.)

You think I exaggerate? Not here, you say. We have these checks and balances to ensure separation of power….

I say, the minute candidates claim God’s blessings unto themselves – in fact seem to need such to even run -- we are halfway down a one-way road.

When the President becomes God’s chosen apostle, the laws of man are in danger!

And apparently, God can’t make up his mind.

Listen to Michelle Bachmann who told World Net Daily in 2009 she would never run without God’s personal endorsement.

"If I felt that's what the Lord was calling me to do, I would do it. When I have sensed that the Lord is calling me to do something, I've said yes to it. But I will not seek a higher office if God is not calling me to do it. That's really my standard. If I am called to serve in that realm I would serve," she concluded, "but if I am not called, I wouldn't do it." – Michelle Bachmann

Or Herman Cain who claims God cured his cancer so that Cain could run for President.

"You want to know why? God said, 'Not yet Herman. Not yet. I've got something else for you to do. And it might be to become the president of the United States of America.’"

Or Karen Santorum, wife of candidate Rick Santorum.

"It really boils down to God's will. What is it that God wants? ... We have prayed a lot about this decision, and we believe with all our hearts that this is what God wants."

While he hasn’t yet announced his candidacy, Rick Perry, governor of Texas has stated:

“I feel God is calling me. I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do.”

Here is where I get really confused. Why would God call so many? There’s only one opening. Is this a cattle call?

Or have the churches become so enmeshed in politics that citing a call from God becomes the most important factor qualifying a candidate for the job?

It’s my understanding from the copious reading I’ve done on the founding fathers, their thoughts and beliefs and intentions, that one of the reasons they barred religious oaths for public office (Article 6) is because they understood man’s nature, particularly that of the politician. They knew that ambition leads one to say whatever is necessary to accomplish their ends.

Yes, I’m inclined to agree with those wise men.

Whenever I hear anyone claiming to know God’s will, I become an immediate skeptic. The God of my beliefs leaves the affairs of man to man. That’s why He endowed us with intellect and freedom of choice. He is no more likely to call anyone to public office than He is to take one Himself. In my mind, claiming divine intervention in your life’s choices is an attempt to absolve yourself of responsibility. I chose my path through many decisions, some right and many wrong, and my mistakes, as well as my accomplishments are my own. God didn’t make me do it. Neither did the devil.

I don't think God gives a fig who runs for office. Those kinds of things He leaves up to us.

I find it even more galling to hear, "I don't really want the office, but God says I should do it, so I will."

Uh-huh. (Imagine a skeptical, narrow-eyed, sneering expression at this point.)

But I can think of one reason He may have called all these people. Perhaps He wants to teach them a lesson in humility.

I do hope so.

-- Lynda Martin, July 21, 2011

"Politicians and operatives claiming that God spoke to them is as old as the hills. Whether said in earnest or as a matter of crass pandering, when people say such things, they should be viewed with extreme skepticism. Not so much to question whether or not God spoke to them, but because they were so unwise as to say so." -- Frederick Clarkson, author of "Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy"

"There are a couple of problems with this claim, however: One, it's really hard to believe that the Supreme Being of the universe really cares who's occupying the mayor's office, a congressional seat or even the White House. There's just something arrogant about insisting that God wants you to run. Secondly, there is no way voters can be certain that the 'call' is really coming from God. Some of these messages, I suspect, spring from less lofty sources - like the candidates' massive egos."—Rob Boston, Senior Policy Analyst for Americans United


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    • lmmartin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Perhaps you sent me those very words by ESP, Hello, hello. Yes, arrogant is the word. Thanks for commenting. Lynda

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      I can't belief it. You wrote the very words of my opinion. I also always feel sick when read or hear these statements. I think it is so arrogant. Thank you for such a great hub.

    • lmmartin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks for commenting here Redelf. I loved that book as well (not so much the film, though.) There are times I wonder about that when I watch what's going on around me. I agree, sometimes we go too far. How about pray to God as you know him -- or not, if you want during two minutes of silent contemplation? Isn't that a good compromise?

    • RedElf profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      These God-fearing politicians all look pure and holy 'til they get caught doing something naughty.

      I read the word "theocracy" and immediately flashed on Margaret Atwood's chilling "The Handmaid's Tale" - the book version, though the film had its moments and some fine acting. YIKES!

      Se-pa-rate! - Church and State

      I do not advocate kicking God out of our schools, as I think we go too far sometimes, but there must be some sane middle ground somewhere.

    • lmmartin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi Liambean -- Yes, God told me the same thing. Thanks for the comment.

      Hi randslam -- How very true -- the separation of state and religion is an absolute necessity if we are to call ourselves free. Nice to hear from you again.

      Hi Nan -- yes, such statements are all for the camera, but we really should reflect on the implications. They are exceedingly dangerous. Thanks.

      Hey Dr. Jewel -- haven't heard from you in a long time. You're right. There is nothing profound and moving about these people and their holy antics. Quite the reverse. Thanks so much for the comment.

      Thanks all, Lynda

    • profile image

      dr jewel 

      7 years ago

      Ah...the juvenile hubris of western civilization. I agree that government should stay out of religion and they should stay out of a lot of other things that they legislate themselves into; things that would be better managed by the private sector. In any case, my view is that we are going through a cycle of change which involves deterioration. The western world and popular political culture is not what I would call integrated toward genuine public service or depth knowledge of the Self. In any case, regarding the word, "calling." Perhaps we are dealing with a matter of depth perception and discernment here. A real "calling" as I understand it, is not ego based and emerges out of a deeper aspect of the psyche. It usually entails ego sacrifice, not ego aggrandizement. A human being who is self actualized enough to realize a genuine spiritual calling is a profound and moving thing to see---and rare these days especially in public service (if this still exists) politics, relgion or otherwise. We all need to continue to evolve who and what WE are for the betterment, and recognize the TV circus for what it is these days. Politicians, as everyone should know by now, are actors, and actors are succeeding to politics and ministry. Actors are acting---they are portraying something other than the "actual reality" of their individual persona or public intention. Thanks for the excercise, Ms. Martin

    • profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      7 years ago

      Great hub, and all about their calling. They think that they will get more votes if they say God has called me. How could he call all of these people? They want to look pure and holy I guess, and it is all rediculos. I guess they did not read the God told me in other's people's statements. They have overdone religion and God didn't tell any of them. Sounds good and thats the reason thay said it. No corruption, they are pure.

    • randslam profile image

      Rand Zacharias 

      7 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

      Linda, I gotta love ya.

      It is a shame that modern citizens of a country who believed in working together in the "pursuit of happiness" have no clue as to the importance of separating church from state.

      I absolutely love the way you've crafted this hub and it's good to see you back in the saddle at HP.

      I hope your book sales are doing well, but I fear the topic you've broached is only gonna attract the "religulous" comments from people who don't even know the historicity of the American Declaration of Independence, the bible or their own cult-like religion.

      As a student of life that leans toward the agnostic--because both atheists and religionists can't prove anything definitively, I appreciate the idea of cooperative efforts, positive programs created by communities that work together and the ability to agree to disagree, but still come to beneficial conclusions in all walks of life.

      I didn't need god to call me to that way of thinking, but it sure took a long time to realize that "one way or the highway" doesn't work.

    • LiamBean profile image


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

      God told me to not vote for people He told to run! Apparently this is a sign of sorts.

    • lmmartin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you WorldNow I agree with you 100%. Nice to meet you.

      Hi Someonewhoknows -- "The comment about "God not giving a fig" is not true as you know." First, do not apply your beliefs to me. You have no idea what I know or don't know, believe or don't believe. As to the bible being kept intact over the years, nothing could be further from the truth. It has been poorly translated, then rewritten, then reinterpreted and rewritten again -- so many times. You need to check your history. I'd point you in the right direction to do so, but what would be the point? Anyone who believes Bill Clinton to be the antichrist is beyond education.

      I think you also need to get a new name. How about Someonewhothinkstheyknow?

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      7 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      There are many objective comments here concerning politicians and politics who claim that they are God's choosen.The comment about "God not giving a fig" is not true as you know.God does care.Like a parent who knows his children must learn for themselves God gave us free will.I believe that there is a concerted effort on the part of many in politics and religion that are attempting to combine the two in order to eliminate all but one government and religion.A pact with the "DEVIL" if you will.I feel the need to make a distinction here between the bible in general and religion to the extent that the bible has been kept intact over the years.

      Seeming beneveloence is tested by the degree of freedom these political and religious leaders will "allow" the people.The reference in the new testament warns about the - "Antichrist" who is said to be allowed to fool the whole world by doing things that seem benevelent on the surface ,but done to sway the peoples alligence to whomever they see as being their savior.This usually has to do with money and comforts

      Former president Bill Clinton is number one on my pick list for who are likely candidates for the role of the antichrist.

    • TheWorldNow profile image


      7 years ago from Washington DC

      This is probably one of the best articles I've read. I completely agree that these claims of being Godsent or doing God's will have gotten out of hand. Thanks for the great read. I'm sure this article will have a lot of success!

    • lmmartin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Good morning everyone.

      Old Poolman -- laugh until you cry, cause that's about the size of it. Thanks for commenting.

      Thanks Thoogun, but I didn't mean to be comic. It's the situation that is a farce.

      Hi Martie. You summed up my thoughts in many respects. How dare these people claim they have the great creator rooting for them? I find it so disrespectful, it's an insult. Appalling. Thanks for commenting.

      Hi drbj and thanks for the button pushing. Glad you enjoyed.

      Hi Quill -- I think that's the problem. Politics have become spectacle, a reality show that no one is taking seriously. And here we are! Thanks for the comment.

      Hi Amanda -- No politician in Canada would stoop to claim God as his defacto campaign manager and if they did, they would be in deep doodoo. (Though we did once have a Prime Minister who talked to his dead mother.) Don't forget Tony Blair was trying to suck up to Bush, who as everyone knows sits at God's right hand. Like you, I am very uncomfortable with those that make such claims. Thanks for commenting.

      Thanks everyone. Lynda

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      7 years ago from UK

      Amazing hub, Lynda. I'm pretty sure that if any of our UK candidates for Prime Minister tried a similar stunt, their ratings would instantly plummet! Tony Blair occassionally alluded to his religion during his premiership, and I always felt uncomfortable whenever he did it.

    • Quilligrapher profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      Hey Lynda. Nicely done.

      I recently commented that Michelle Bachmann was auditioning for the role of “candidate for the oval office.” That’s because I view politics in America as tragic theatre in which religion provides the script that mesmerizes the audience. I admire the skill of the actors who are so convincing. The audience is not even aware that they are playing roles. Society, it seems, is willing to empty its wallet, surrender its hard won liberties, or sacrifice the life of a loved one on a distant battlefield just to buy a ticket. But my greatest fear is a final act in which Armageddon is the inevitable finale. You are a reliable critic who tells it like it is

    • Druid Dude profile image

      Druid Dude 

      7 years ago from West Coast

      It means that God likes a good race, has a fun sense of humor. He's good on a date, and always calls the next day. Cool dude. Although, he would never run for higher office (can't get much higher office than God!) He likes to get the different aspects slinging good ole' mother earth in moistened form. Nothing better to lighten the immortal mood. Only reruns on the telly. Good day ;)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      I have heard the call to comment on your hub, Lynda, and therefore I am responding by pushing your buttons and rating this marvelous piece of writing, up!

      Note: I would have done the same regardless, call or no call.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      The audacity of the human race will always amaze me. They had changed the amazing Force of the Universe into a puppet on a string... a bogey-man who punish ‘sinners’ beyond Time... a spook who calls and whisper and cries and smile..... Yes, once upon a time my perception of God was also crooked, but today I can understand why Moses and his peers did not utter His name. The moment you give anything a name, you capture it and deprive it of being anything else but its name and what it stand for according to your knowledge. Great hub, voted UP!

    • thooghun profile image

      James Nelmondo 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      You have a rare knack for informative comedy, a difficult balancing act. I enjoyed the hub immensely. Thoog.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 

      7 years ago

      I have to laugh like heck over this one. It seems like God has a sense of humor and is having a ball with this situation. It will be interesting to see who he called the loudest. I imagine a shouted call would carry more weight than a whispered call.

      This was a cool hub.


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