Let’s force the GOP candidates to really come clean on religion.

December 18, 2007 | By | 5 Replies More

Who is the holiest candidate, the one most likely to sit at God’s right hand? We need to know this now, of course, because the religious integrity of the White House is at stake! 

I beg you.  Let me be the one who cross-examines the GOP candidates on the topic of religion.  Why?  Because I insist on asking simple questions and I demand simple answers.  The disturbing information we already know is just the tip of the iceberg. I promise that I will be relentless and aggressive.  I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get started.  No crucifix left unturned!  Where do I sign up? There are so many religious issues I would like to explore with the GOP candidates . . . 

Let’s start with Mitt Romney.  Mitt is working nonstop to convince us how incredibly important his religion is to him, but refusing to acknowledge any of his basic beliefs.  Why not, Mitt?  Are you afraid that the late night talk shows would tack on a laugh track when you explain the Mormon claim that Jesus walked about and taught American natives almost 2,000 years ago?  Or does it embarrass you that the great prophet Joseph Smith, who had 48 wives and stuck his face into a hat in order to interpret sacred writings?

Mitt, if you really believe the things most Mormons claim to believe, why not just tell us?  Are you hesitant, perhaps, because reputable archaeologists and anthropologists view the entire Book of Mormon as a work of fiction? (and see here). 

Alas, it’s all a big shell game.  These politicians want us to believe that they are holy because they attend a church, because they claim to read an ancient apocryphal book or because they simply say that they’re holy.  I would like to give them each a pop quiz about their religions. I suspect that, like most “religious” Americans, the candidates don’t know much of anything at all about their religious (much less about other religions). There isn’t much time for religious training when you spend most of your career taking money from lobbyists and corporations.

And then there is the issue of causation. It needs to be addressed carefully.     How it is that their particular beliefs make the candidates especially decent people?   At least explain how it can be that someone sanctified by God Himself won’t denounce state sanctioned torture.    Please, tell us how your unsubstantiated and oxymoronic religious beliefs automatically qualify you as better people, kinder people, than non-believers.  If you can’t demonstrate that a kind and decent religous candidate will be a better than a kind and decent candidate who is not religious, then simply shut up about religion, OK?

Now, back to Mitt.   How can it be that you are certified-holy just because you believe that a book, “written upon gold plates” explains the origins of the ancient civilizations of the North American continent?  And why can’t you admit to the non-Mormon voters that “The Great Prophet” refused to show those magic gold plates to anyone.  Ever.  Mitt, do you believe (as do most Mormons) that those gold plates somehow ascended into heaven?  That’s a very suspicious claim, Mitt.  It sounds like to sort of thing a con man would claim. Do I really want a president who accepts such claims on such flimsy evidence?

I suspect that there are some mainstream Christians rooting for me as long as I poke away at poor Mitt.  But you know, you guys have some explaining to do too.  My questions for the rest of you can be summed up by a sassy definition of Christianity that I recently stumbled upon:

Christianity:  The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

I was willing to leave the GOP candidates alone (on the topic of religion) until they just had to make the 2008 campaign about who is the holiest Joe.  But now, after months of listening, I can barely stand to listen to any more of this verbal excrement!  All of these candidates keep blathering about how their religion is deeply and incredibly important in their lives.  Allegedly, nothing is more important, they all claim.  But, of course, they wouldn’t dream of allowing their all-important friendships with the Creator of the Universe affect the way they govern.  Of course not!  Try to follow their logic:  their religion makes them wise and holy, but they wouldn’t dream of directly drawing on that religious knowledge to lead the country.  Here’s another way of putting it:  “I’m special, but I’m not going to draw on my special-ness to lead the country even though I’m urging you to vote for me because I’m special.  I would assume that they must all knee down every night to beg forgiveness for all of their campaign trail lies relating to their religious beliefs. But that assumes that these politicians are devout believers, but that’s one hell of an assumption.

Speaking of the lack of truth, it’s hard to beat Mike Huckabee’s bald-faced whopper that he has a “theology degree” My gracious!  Where did you get that degree, Mike?  Mike!!!???  [silence].  Then up steps Joe Carter, Huckabee’s Research Director . . . to announce that Mike actually  . . . dropped out of the seminary.  Ouch.  But anybody could have made that mistake.  Right, Mike?  Well, let’s move on.  Mike, your extensive training allowed you to work as a preacher for twelve years.  What did you preach about?  Whoa!! What do you mean we can’t go there!  The Huckabee campaign has ruled that those sermons are off-limits.  Maybe Mike is just protecting us.  Maybe there is too much religious wisdom in those sermons, so much that it might make our heads explode.  Do you see the pattern?  It goes something like this:  I’m really holy and wise and therefore qualified to be a politician, but I’m not going to talk about it because I’m not going to mix religion and politics. Gad.  

Huckabee recently claimed that his most important task was to “bridge the great divides in the country,” even though he’s the same man who also said that we have to “take this nation back for Christ.”  And  don’t forget that Huckabee is well-positioned to be our next “Holy Science President” based on his description of evolution:  a theory that “you and your family came from apes.”  Great job, Mike.  But maybe you could go read a high school biology book and try again.  After all, you would want to be attempting to criticize something you clearly don’t understand, right?

Don’t forget John McCain.  Straight-shooting McCain, “who has long identified himself as an Episcopalian, said this weekend that he is a Baptist and has been for years.”  Well . . . this kind of thing happens when those southern primaries are imminent.  Or maybe it depends on who you’re talking to. 

And we mustn’t leave out all the divorced republicans (e.g., Fred Thompson) and the thrice-married Republicans (Rudy Guiliani) who yammer about “family values,” while arguing that we should cut basic necessities for desperate Americans.  Why?  Because they are holy, inspired, wise men who would rather spend our money trying to ignite WWIII conjuring up an adversary who lives out near those dwindling pools of Middle Eastern oil.  And if we can pull Israel into the conflagration, all the better, since the Bible requires it.  This is really true . . . somewhere in that Bible (you might have to root around a bit). It talks about 21st Century American foreign policy.  It even mentions Fred Thompson, I believe, and Jennifer Flowers. 

Perhaps the credit for the current frenzy in religio-political campaigning goes to George W. (“Jesus-is-the-greatest-philosopher”) Bush.  Curiously, Bush, who claims to be devoutly religious, almost never goes to church. Thus, Bush is one of those non-religious religious people.  As long as the media is afraid to question the basis for a candidate’s claim that he (or she) has a special relationship with God Almighty, a candidate might as well skip church.  Score one for W for understanding that a simplistic religious claim can still be a free ticket to sleep in on Sundays, week after week. 

With all of this religiosity among the GOP candidates, we can rest assured that, come 2008, we will be well-positioned to deal with the greatest threat ever faced by the United States:  pairs of gay people making government-recognized lifetime commitments to each other. 

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Category: American Culture, Politics, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    48 wives!!! Sounds a bit like David Koresh. That means 48 mothers-in-law…. Of course that doesn't rule out some of the wives being daughters of other wives… or even grandaughters… He could of been his own grandpa by marriage!!!

  2. Vicki Baker says:

    Very well expressed. Let's hope 2008 is the high water mark of religion in politics.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Ron Paul on Huckabee's use of the cross in TV ad: 'When fascism comes it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross'…   Here's the video.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Hitchens: It's entirely reasonable to reject a candidate because of his/her religious views. Hitchens' article in Slate is a scathing critique of Huckabee's version of religion.  For the full article, go here. 

    Highlighting the article is a reminder that we do have a Sixth Amendment:

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    Here's an excerpt from Hitchens' article:

    Isn't it amazing how self-pitying and self-aggrandizing the religious freaks in this country are? It's not enough that they can make straight-faced professions of "faith" at election times and impose their language on everything from the Pledge of Allegiance to the currency. It's not enough that they can claim tax exemption and even subsidy for anything "faith-based." It's that when they are even slightly criticized for their absurd opinions, they can squeal as if being martyred and act as if they are truly being persecuted.

  5. Dan Klarmann says:

    That Fox News interview with Ron Paul that Erich linked to also shows the Fox bias quite clearly. Watch for the wording and inflections that defend Huckabee and attack Paul.

    Note the they show the complete excerpt of the Huckabee commercial in full screen where the lighted cross moves in from off screen and comfortably merges with Huckabee.

    Why isn't the rest of the window lit?

    Have you ever seen a quartered bottom sash in a real window?

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