The GOP is Living on a Prayer

An Indiana Prayer Drop Box

The Republicans talk a lot about prayer, a natural off-shoot of their tendency to talk about God. If there was any lingering doubt about the Grand Old Party having become God’s Own Party, the 2008 elections should have dispelled it, and the lead-up to the 2010 midterms have only cemented the new Republican focus.

Sharron Angle said, “I believe that God has been in this from the beginning and because of that when he has a plan and a purpose for your life and you fit into that, what he calls you to he always equipped you for.”

God apparently equipped her with everything but answers. But Angle is the latest, not the first.


Sarah Palin isn’t the first either, but she is by far the most written about. Running for VP back in 2008, and a potential candidate for 2012 and would-be kingmaker and self-styled spokesperson of the Tea Party, offered this nugget:

“As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying “Lord make a way, Lord make a way.”

“And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are. And he’s praying not “Oh Lord, if it be your will may she become governor,” no, he just prayed for it. He said, “Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.”

She thought her success was due to God. But this is not a personal thing. For Sarah Palin, it is national. God favors the U.S.A.

At the Wasilla Assembly of God church in 2008, Palin said, “Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

She thought so as the election loomed too. In an interview with James Dobson she said,

To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder. And it also strengthens my faith because I know at the end of the day putting this in God’s hands, the right thing for America will be done, at the end of the day on Nov. 4.

She’s not alone, obviously, in feeling this way. George W. Bush himself styled his brace of 2003 wars a “Crusade” and felt that his own election had been divine providence. One of his generals, William Boykin, felt the same way, claiming that God, not the American people, had elected Bush. But Boykin went farther: “The enemy that has come against our nation is a spiritual enemy. His name is Satan. And if you do not believe that Satan is real, you are ignoring the same Bible that tells you about God.”

And here we thought we were fighting Saddam Hussein, or perhaps al Qaeda.

People have a right to believe what they will, or nothing at all. The Constitution (for now) still guarantees that. But it is a little disturbing to think of the nuclear football falling into the hands of somebody who thinks God wants them to get all “Old Testament” on another country.

I mean, we at least like to think our leaders (and their generals) can accurately identify the enemy. And Boykin’s “demonic presence” and “forces of darkness” are a little too vague for me. In fact, such words ought to send shivers down our spins.

I’m all right with people praying. It doesn’t hurt me. As Thomas Jefferson said, “it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

But I don’t want my government run on prayer. And we have a surfeit of prayer these days and a lack of answers. We want our political leaders to address the issues that matter most to us, and we want them not only to listen but to give us answers. Prayer is a cheap answer, isn’t it?

“We’ll pray about that,” “Let’s pray about that…” These aren’t answers. These are substitutions for answers, implying that you have no answers, like the vague “God works in mysterious ways.”

Yes, but our political system does not. It’s cut and dried, spelled out in detail in the Constitution of the United States of America. It is not, significantly, found in the Bible. And God and the Bible are nowhere mentioned in the Constitution.

So how about addressing the issues. Rather than assuring us that “God will do the right thing” or that prayer will save our country, how about telling me what you intend to do about it? The Republican base may be titillated by thoughts that a candidate has a private line to God, and many of them seem to think so (Palin, Bachman, O’Donnell, Angle and others), but I think the majority of the American public are more like me, skeptical of claims of divine support.

It’s hard to find a Tea Party candidate who doesn’t say God chose them to run. It’s enough to make you wonder what God has against this country. I’m no atheist by golly. I mean, I believe in more gods than Sarah Palin does, but atheism would be almost a relief after all this God-talk.

Enough prayer. Show us the answers. We are going to the voting booth on November 2; we are not going to church. It’s time that distinction was clearly understood.

Or better yet: Pray, Republicans, by all means, pray. The rest of us will go to the voting booth and cast our votes, because we know that prayer will not reduce the price of gasoline at the pumps, and we know that your God does not elect our presidents.

If you really think God is on your side, take this challenge: You cast your prayer in the box shown above, and we will drop ours in the ballot box.

28 Replies to “The GOP is Living on a Prayer”

  1. “We’ll pray about that,” “Let’s pray about that…” These aren’t answers. These are substitutions for answers, implying that you have no answers, like the vague “God works in mysterious ways.”

    Wise words. The purpose of prayer is to promote inner reflection or commune with the divine, not to steer the ship of state. I’ve found that fundamentalists take refuge in prayer when they are unwilling or unable to make difficult decisions for themselves.

  2. My question is, after God “speaks” as he did Nov 4 2008, why didn’t Sarah listen? Why does she still act as if the election were stolen from her, as if she had been running for President? McCain got over it, and he had been salivating after the title for many years. If you watch “the Right Feeling Wronged” you’ll see that her entire base feels Obama stole the election. So when God says something they don’t like, they think it’s a glitch. The rest of the time they run around imagining God chose them over everyone else.

    This sounds like a mental disease, not spirituality.

  3. If palin prayed for the 2008, then she needs to accept that God wanted POTUS Obama.
    He was elected after all those republicans prayed and left it in God’s hands, right?
    So why are they questioning God’s will?
    They can’t say do over, if they prayed and the results were not what they wanted.
    They have to accept God’s will, something republicans never do, unless things happen the way they want them to.
    They don’t really trust God.

  4. “This sounds like a mental disease, not spirituality” – I wish I had thought of that, Sarah. It’s true. It does.

    I have wondered too why Sarah Palin never addressed the issue of God’s decision for America. She seems to have forgotten she said it and the vicious liberal media elite has never confronted her with it. Incredible.

  5. No, they don’t trust God. If they did, they’d accept my challenge and pray while we vote. If God really wants them to win, they’d win anyway. After I wrote this I drove past several yard-signs about praying to end abortion…I want to ask: Are you serious?

  6. When I hear a politician cite God in their speech, other than to say God Bless America at the end of their speech, I wonder just how much is just plain BS!

    That is all we hear from Palin, but after looking into her background and listening to her statements we see a long history of saying one thing but actually doing the opposite.

    I am not singling out Palin. There isn’t enough space to cover them all.

    I was taught God was loving, accepting of others and a forgiving God. It appears the God I was taught isn’t the same those in the GOP and Pro-Life groups. Their God appears to be a strict, narrow and unforgiving God who doesn’t mind if they murder in his name.

    I think I’ll just keep mine.

  7. I think that’s an essential part of this discussion, their insistence that “God” as they define them isn’t a very appealing character in a modern liberal democracy, where even many Republicans are social liberals, and we already discussed here how young people or “nones” are turned off the God+Politics equation. Personally, I’m not into Gods who are into genocide and that seems to be the God they’re most fond of and identify with. I don’t see it working out well for them.

  8. If I win, God did it. If I lose, its the Lame stream medias fault.

    Why is it only gods will if something goes their way? If god is good, wouldn’t a sane person think healthcare would be on top of gods list? Or is that gun ownership? I get confused. Lets see, healthcare good for humanity, guns bad for lives. God picks guns?

    We know O’Donnell’s reason for being religious. Bachmann just climbed on the train and Palin? Her religious life includes lying for a living. We look at the GOP, the party of god and what do we see? Nothing good for the people of this country.

    Make no mistake, invoking god is simply a ploy to get the religious rights weak minded vote. If it was more, god would take the blame for a loss. God never took the blame for the mass murderer GWB bombing innocent people did he? Or did I miss it?

    Your bible tells you god loves individuals, not country’s or political beliefs.

  9. As Marcus Aurelius said, a proper prayer would be “Let rain fall on the fields of the Athenians” – it should not be selfish and I didn’t even touch on the praying for Obama’s death…

  10. I have never understood why Christians reference the Old Testament. The Bible is very specific that it the story of covenants between God and people.

    There are three in Genesis alone.

    1. Adam and Eve
    2. Noah (man and animals are now equals)
    3. Moses (I’m pissed, and I’ll get back to you, someday.)

    Then Jesus brings the New Covenant and declares the time of prophecies ended.

    So all the old covenants are null and void. Jews follow the Mosaic (sp?) covenant because they don’t believe that the New Covenant is valid.
    Christians accept the New Covenant, but try to use Old Covenant rules.
    Am I missing something obvious? I’m not Christian, but I’ve never figured it out.

  11. I haven’t either…I’m as confused as you. And I used to be a Christian. It didn’t make any sense to me then either.

  12. Since she doesn’t deign to take questions, no one will ever get to ask her. This allows her to perpetuate her myth and lies of being God’s chosen. Frankly, there’s a name for hearing voices and it has nothing to do with being a Christian. There’s medication for that. It seems half of the GOP needs to be on it. Or maybe they just think they hear voices telling them Jesus loves them best. Either way, this isn’t spirituality.

  13. I don’t see it working out for them either.
    Thanks for the reply it is nice to know I wasn’t out in left field.

  14. This probably isn’t the place to ask, but I will..Hrafnkell how is your name pronounced?
    Is the first H silent which would be Raf-kell with the N also silent?
    Only reason I ask is I read quite a few of your articles and would like to pronounce your name correctly.

  15. I always liked what Lincoln said, and it shows why some Republicans are unsure of him: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right”

  16. All i know is that God says” Love me and i will love you in return” the part they don’t tell you about is that he also says” If you don’t love me back i’ll throw you into a lake of fire for eternity where you will endure eternal pain” great motivational speaker i would say

  17. I think you were 100% in your post. It’s the way I feel too. Their God is not someone I would want to have a personal relationship with.

  18. You’ve undoubtedly noticed that they pick and choose over what passages of the Old Testament they believe in as if it were food in a cafeteria. I call them cafeteria christians.

  19. The analogy I make is, god is a CEO and will fire you if you dont suck up. Corporation’s have followed the god story down through the years. SO do some governments

    No god in his right mind would burn his creations in a hell that he allows to exist, especially after saying for god so loved the world. A god who requires worship needs a shrink. We call them dictators today.

  20. BINGO! That’s exactly what I’ve been wondering since 2008. She claims God has a plan for her and would choose the best leader, but then when it wasn’t her, she devotes her life to slandering and assaulting the guy God chose?

    But we already know right wingers have no sense of self awareness or understanding of irony. Personally, I think it’s a genetic flaw.

  21. Love seems to have fallen by the wayside to be replaced by condemnation, but we can trace those origins back to the Old Testament. As Jan Assmann says, monotheism created the “true/false” distinction in religion and false gods (not just my gods of polytheism but anything else they decide to call gods, like Angle’s “government has been turned into god”) do not translate.

  22. Icelandic? If so, do you follow tradition on last names (i.e. your father’s name would be Harald, and if you were female, your name would be Haraldsdottir?

  23. Are you familiar with Leonard Schlain’s “Alphabet versus the Goddess:The Conflict Between Word and Image?” He posits that the invention of writing, and the dominance of the linear left brain in communication (much more complex, but I’m trying) creates a heirarchal system due to he need to interpret and comprehend symbolic notations. Conversely, the right brain deals with images and emotions and transmits information directly to the emotional cortex.
    He suggests that computers are realigning the two sides of the brain because computers use both words and images to communicate. And typing uses both hands. Good book.

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