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God and American Elections - varnamvarnam
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God and American Elections

During Pres. George Bush’s eight years there has never been a dull moment — 9/11, invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Libya and North Korea turning a new leaf, economic crash and nationalization of banks  and now the election of Sen. Barack Obama’s as the President of United States. All these are historic events about which books will be written and PBS documentaries made.

While the pundits are busy with their 800 word op-ed pieces analyzing why Joe the Biden trumped Joe the Plumber, one angle that may not get attention is the role of God in the campaign. In spite of the separation of church and state, often there was mention of our God versus theirs, godless people and various humans telling others what God wants.

At a rally, a pastor Arnold Conrad said in his invocation that Sen. McCain’s opponents are praying to their Gods — Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that Sen. Obama wins. The pastor portrayed the election as a battle between his God and other Gods. He wanted his God to do some magic so that his (God’s) reputation is maintained.

In California too few of God’s people told people what to do in a full page ad in various newspapers. The issue  was Proposition 8, which if passed would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. While Google, AppleBrad Pitt, Steven Spielberga vast majority of newspapers and mayors were against the proposition, various churches were for denying equal rights for same-sex couples.

Pastors around the country encouraged their followers to give up solid food for 40 days. One editorial writer quoted Genesis 1:26-28 and wrote, “The Constitution (of the U.S. and state) does not give lawmakers, judges or the people any right (so-called rights) to change the definition and responsibilities and joys of the marriage institution God established his way and in his ultimate wisdom.”

In the Senate election in North Carolina, it was not the presence of God, but the absence that was a campaign issue.  Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) released an ad attacking her opponent for being “Godless.”

Dole’s opponent Kay Hagan is a church member and taught Sunday school, but no one asked the question: What if she is godless? There were accusations that Sen. Obama was a Muslim and he came out explaining his Christian roots. What if he is a Muslim? Does that make him a lesser American?

The most eloquent response to this question came from Colin Powell, while endorsing Obama.

Finally as the results came out, Sen. Obama won, which in Pastor Arnold Conrad‘s world means, Hindu, Buddha and Allah triumphed over God. The “Godless” Kay Hagan beat Elizabeth Dole, but Proposition 8 passed in California which for some people means that God’s will triumphed over man’s.

By the way, the year now is 2008.


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