Just 17 months ago, President Bush and the Republican Party seemed to be riding a divine tide. At the GOP convention in the summer of 2004, religious rhetoric flew through the air like streamers and confetti. The GOP was being cast as "God's Official Party." Typifying the spirit of the campaign season, one alternate convention delegate, Judith Manning, declared to the press, "President Bush supports God, and God supports President Bush, absolutely."By all accounts, the GOP has no problem with hypocrisy. Not a one loses sleep at night. No shame. None.
Dubious at the time, the God's-on-our-side rhetoric is looking even less credible now, after more than a year of frequently bad news for the president and his administration.
Tellingly, the president and his political brethren aren't invoking the divine as frequently or boldly these days. It's reminiscent of high-profile athletes who are eager to cite God in moments of triumph, but rarely invoke religion after an embarrassing failure or big loss.
To a large degree, religious-talking Republicans have brought the hypocrisy charges on themselves in their rush to position their party as God's chosen. It hasn't taken long for events to demonstrate how silly God's-on-our-side political rhetoric can end up looking when things go south.
It's hard to argue against those who would summon universal ideals from the great religious texts in the pursuit of justice. But that's a far cry from what we've seen in recent years, where officeholders, candidates and political operatives have played the God card in a craven bid for electoral advantage, and where one party, the GOP, has all but co-opted conservative Christians to help carry out a not-so-holy partisan agenda.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Tom Krattenmaker in USA Today:
Posted by Grey Matter at 9:12 PM