October 12, 2011 - 1:01 am
Where have we heard this before?
When Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain gave an interview to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network recently, he was frank about the role religion played in his decision to run.
“God’s been in this from the beginning because when I first started to feel that I needed to consider running I did a lot of praying,” Cain said. “I felt like Moses when God said, ‘I want you to go into Egypt and lead my people out.’ Moses resisted. I resisted. Moses said you got the wrong person. You can’t be talking about me.
“I had these conversations with God in terms of, ‘Lord, I’ve done a lot of things but are you sure? But you shouldn’t question God. You should just make sure that’s the message.”
If those words sound familiar, it may be because it’s not the first time a candidate for office has said them. Sharron Angle, the former Reno assemblywoman who unsuccessfully challenged Harry Reid for the U.S. Senate last year, said something very similar to Ralph Reed (formerly of the Christian Coalition) for his website, Faith and Freedom Coalition.
“I believe that God has been in this [Angle’s campaign] 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,” Angle said.
And Angle had her own chat with Brody, in which she, too, compared herself to Moses, along with Jesus Christ and St. Paul.
“When God calls you he also equips you and He doesn’t just say, well, today you’re going to run against Harry Reid,” she said. “There is a preparation. Everyone in the Bible when you read the Bible you can see that preparatory time. Moses has his preparatory time. Paul had his preparatory time. Even Jesus had his preparatory time and so my preparation began on a school board.”
But here’s the thing: Angle lost to Reid, and badly. Will the same thing happen to Cain? (Remember, he said last month that I don’t “have a clue,” after I opined that his straw poll victories were unlikely to translate into electoral wins.)
If Cain does lose, what will that ultimately say about God and politics? And what does it mean that Angle — who invoked God so brazenly — nonetheless lost her election?
There’s a number of possibilities:
First, there is no God, and all those prayers aren’t heard by anyone.
Second, there is a God, and he did hear Angle’s prayers, but he’s not all-powerful and thus couldn’t defeat Reid.
Third, there is a God, but he’s more inclined to ally himself with Reid’s Mormon faith than Angle’s Christianity, in which case Cain is in trouble, because his prime opponent, Mitt Romney, is a Mormon, too.
But let’s also consider the possibility that there is a God, he is all-powerful, but he’s not really interested in politics.
That’s just as likely as anything else, given how in the Gospels Jesus Christ steadfastly avoided getting tangled up with politics. From the Sermon on the Mount to the Great Commission, Jesus never once commanded his followers to run for office. So why would God start doing that now?
And, a related point — isn’t it odd that we never hear somebody say how he prayed long and hard about running for office, only to have God say, “No, my child. Politics is just not for you. Stick with being a plumber.” Instead, we only ever hear about people praying and getting the thumbs up from the Almighty.
Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist, and author of the blog SlashPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/SteveSebelius or reach him at (702) 387-5276 or email@example.com.