With a grain of salt (and light)

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week that that she believes it was God … Continued

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week that that she believes it was God plan for her to campaign and ultimately, to win:

“God continued to strengthen and empower us when, you know, His strength is perfected in our weakness. And that’s what’s exciting because you see, that if it weren’t for faith, when all logic said it’s time to quit, we pursued. We marched on because we knew God was not releasing us to quit. And now with such an important lame duck session you realize why we were to endure all that stuff.”



How should constituents interpret statements by politicians who see their campaigns and causes as part of God’s plan? How do you decipher God’s intentions for you?

“God continued to strengthen and empower us when, you know, His strength is perfected in our weakness. And that’s what’s exciting because you see, that if it weren’t for faith, when all logic said it’s time to quit, we pursued. We marched on because we knew God was not releasing us to quit. And now with such an important lame duck session you realize why we were to endure all that stuff.”

I take it as theologically axiomatic that it is not my place to tell God what he can and cannot do. I don’t believe it’s outside the realm of possibility that he would call somebody to run for office; in fact, a friend of mine came to that conclusion through an extensive process of prayer and discernment with other people he trusted and respected.

He lost in the primary.

But should I draw from that the conclusion that he was mistaken in thinking God was calling him to run? Perhaps there were other purposes to be achieved by his running, so that the point was simply to run a campaign with integrity and lose honorably. That may not make sense to me, but going back to the initial axiom, it’s not for me to tell God what he can and can’t do.

In some ways a politician crediting God for victory can be seen as akin to a football player crediting God for his victory. (One thing I always appreciated about the Ravens’ Matt Stover was that whether he made or missed his kick, he always pointed to the sky in order to affirm that God deserved the glory for Matt’s outstanding performances.)

But that note can sound off-key, as when a Baltimore city councilwoman credited God for a recent procedural victory in an ethics case (saying in an email to supporters, “God that can do anything but fail has found favor with this child of his … HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!”)…in which she later pleaded nolo contendere.

How should constituents interpret these kind of statements? My inclination is that if they are self-serving — if the politician is claiming a divine imprimatur for his political agenda — that such claims are inherently suspect. At the same time, people of faith do not believe that God is actively present in their lives in all areas but their political campaigns. Admittedly it can be difficult to read the fine line between “I think God is calling me to this and I want to be faithful to it” and “God wants me to be the congressman from this district.”

Jason Poling
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  • PapaRick

    So if a person thinks that God is calling him (in its non-gender sense) to run for office, would it be prudent for him to appoint an inexperienced and incompetent campaign manger to make sure that it really was God’s plan for him to run?

  • CHAOTICIAN101

    Good Grief, people! Do you seriously think a god, any God, especially your Jesus God, would actually care 1 bit about who would hold some grubby little political job in some arbitrary geographical area on some nondescript planet surrounding a remote star in 1 of a billion galaxies in an universe which might be just 1 of infinite number which itself may be just a mote in eternity itself? And stop quoting the ridiculous Christian book as some sort of basis for anything! With thousands of sects and thousands of interpretations, this book has no authority at all except to bludgeon its sects people to blindly follow their chosen priests!