‘If when you say God you mean . . .’
Only 28 of the current 538 United States lawmakers don't believe in any higher power, according Edwina Rogers of the Secular Coalition. But she's not telling who! Only one brave soul, Democratic Representative Paul Stark of California, will publicly admit to not believing in any divine being or having a soul.
In American politics, according to a 2011 Pew Research Center study, not believing in God is worse for one's electability thanand I'm not making this upsmoking dope, having a scandalous affair (straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual) or never holding public office, not even dog catcher.
So when politicians are asked about their view on God, many revert to the rhetorical contortions of judge, law professor and Mississippi state representative Noah S. "Soggy" Sweat, Jr. (Yep, "Soggy" Sweat! I'm not making that up either.) In 1952, "Soggy" was asked his opinion on whether the state should continue its ban on the sale of alcohol. His "If when you say whiskey you mean . . ." non-answer has become a classic example of double-speak and just may be a model for today's politicians.
Here's a modern-day take on "Soggy's" famous speech:
My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about God. All right, here is how I feel about God.
If when you say God, you mean a divine dictator who sends sinners to an eternity of burning brimstone and gnashing of teeth, whose chosen few believers shove their judgmental and intolerant poison down the throats of the unwilling with their public displays of symbols of death and postings of narrow-minded and unenlightened homophobic commandments, who force their bloody and intolerant dogma upon fair-minded men, women and impressionable children, who preach judgment while blowing up pro-choice centers, assassinating compassionate doctors whose only desire is the health of their female patients, picket military services with their "God Hates [Fill in the Blank with Anyone Who Disagrees with Us]," andas history provesbrutally and inhumanely torture and kill those who disagree with their guilt-filled, shame-producing religion, then my fellow Americans, I am certainly not a believer.
But if when you say God, you mean a supreme being who loves the world and is not willing that any should perish but desires all to have joyous, blissful eternal life, who teaches His followers to not only to love each other but their enemies, who have been on the forefront of anti-slavery campaigns, of freeing the "least of these" such as women, children, racial minorities from slavery, human trafficking, who have, in the name of God's Son opened hospitals, free clinics for AIDS/HIV patients, crisis pregnancy centers, orphanages, soup kitchens and shelter and clothing for the homeless, have instituted prison reform, who have promoted love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control among all of peoples of the world, then my fellow Americans, I am certainly a believer.
This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.
It may not be that overt, but this election season expect politicians of both parties in blue and red states to embrace a watered-down, lowest-common-denominator, lukewarm, non-sectarian, bipartisian "God" who will appeal to the broadest political demographic without offending fully-developed followers of Jesus Christ, sincere seekers, ambivalent agnostics or angry atheists.
Christ warned about politically-correct religion when He said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).
So when candidates say "God," make sure you know what they mean by "God."
In the US election of 2012, we have a choice between a) Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon and believes God was once a man like him and that he will eventually become a god and b) Barack Obama, a self-professed Christian, who strongly supports what the Judeo/Christian God warns is "an abomination." So, my candicacy with the Tupperware Party, "Fresh ideas for preserving traditional values," may be a viable option!
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