- Politics and Social Issues»
- Church & State Relations
Hearing "the call" to run for office or Why can't God make up his mind?
“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!
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