Commentary: The hypocrisy of 'Party of God' politics

The Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-EnquirerSeptember 13, 2012 

Brace for the fire and brimstone, Democrats. You didn't invite The Big Guy to your party in Charlotte. Sodom and Gomorrah were a carnival compared to what you're in for.

No need for a recap of the whole silly flap over the Dems' decision to remove the word "God" from their platform statement, then put it back in. You know the story.

You can say this for Democrats: They're consistent in their stunning political tone deafness.

From a purely practical standpoint, not invoking the name of the Almighty is a non-issue. This was a political convention, not a tent revival, and the United States is electing a president, not a national evangelist.

Politically, it was cinderblock stupid.

What is it about Democrats that makes them so chronically naïve, so oblivious to political fallout a chimp could see coming? For a few years there, they had Bill Clinton and James Carville to slap them out of their historic determination to lose elections, and Clinton gave it his best shot again in Charlotte. But this Three Stooges handling of what should have been a non-event proves the party is once again in full Michael Dukakis mode.

Then, of course, after bungling the whole thing from the start they backpedaled and put God back on the agenda, once again vindicating the notion that they're weak and vacillating. Stand your ground on principle, or don't go there in the first place; you can't have it both ways. (Maybe Yoda should be on the platform.)

Personally, I'm so sick to death of Elmer Gantry politics I'd like to spend every election year on the far side of some planet that Earth's broadcast signals can't penetrate. The conceit that God wants the endorsement of politicians is truly profane, in every literal sense of that word. It's a smug and cynical and reckless kind of blasphemy.

Democrats openly debating the inclusion or exclusion of the word "God" in their platform was idiotic. Republicans giving Jerry Falwell a box seat at one of their conventions was obscene.

I don't presume to speak for God, which would automatically disqualify me from contemporary American politics -- as if I could care less, which I couldn't. But I can't help thinking that God doesn't need a plug from politicians, and that most of the time He'd just as soon do without it. Think He was really moved by campaign testimonials on the deep and abiding faith of John Edwards or Newt Gingrich -- or, for that matter, of Bill Clinton?

But this is worse than prime-time photo-op sanctimony; worse even than the sneering and manipulative hypocrisy that infests all Party of God politics. The reduction of God to a plank in a political platform ought to make us all shudder in moral and spiritual revulsion. Could the most profound mystery of creation be shrunk any smaller, trivialized any more shamelessly than that?

If Democrats should ever manage to grow some … "guts," I think, is the acceptable euphemism … maybe they'll tackle this nonsense head on. Maybe they'll say it's not the appropriate role of the Democratic Party -- indeed, of any political party in this manifestly non-theocratic constitutional republic -- to claim it's a standard-bearer for the Kingdom of God. Let the other guys think they built that.

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