Believe it or not, we here at the Odd Dominion have never harbored any illusions about the fundamentally religious nature of our government. Squawk all you want about the First Amendment, but it doesn’t take a brainiac to figure out that the Establishment and Free Exercise of Religion clauses were designed by the founding fathers to corral a bunch of autonomous states (each with its own state religion, mind you) into some semblance of a working nation, not to make the U.S. government a shining bastion of freethinking humanism.
Like a locust, but with a better-looking wife and kids? Virginia’s own Michael Farris compares Obama to a plague.
If you don’t believe us, just consider this: Not only is trust in the heavenly executive emblazoned on our currency, and new office-holders sworn in on the holy book of his or her choice, but a recent inquiry by the Secular Coalition for America (a lobbying group that “represents the interests of atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheists”) found exactly one member of Congress willing to go on the record as a nonbeliever. (Representative Pete Stark of California, come on down! You’re the next—and only—contestant on “Who Wants to be a Godless Heathen?”)
Now, we have our own problem with mixing politics and religion, but it’s certainly not due to any deep-seated moral or spiritual convictions. On the contrary, it’s our firmly held belief that the American political system is an irredeemably wicked swamp of iniquity, and that any God-fearing person with a lick of sense in his head would avoid it like Lot high-tailing it out of Gomorrah.
But, as usual, nobody listens to us, and so candidates continue to sully their religious beliefs by mixing them with the black tar of electoral politics, thereby inviting God’s wrath one stump speech at a time.
Of course, having said all of that, we’ll be the first to admit that—if you simply must mix your faith and your politicking—there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
The right way, as far as we’re concerned, is best exemplified by current congressional aspirant Tom Perriello, whose fresh-faced challenge to Charlottesville’s offensively entertaining U.S. Representative Virgil Goode has (thank the Lord!) spared us yet another election season full of Goode/Weed jokes.
Perriello, who is by all accounts a devout and dedicated fellow, has hit upon an ingenious plan to help folks out and garner votes, while simultaneously highlighting his opponent’s “loathe thy brother” anti-Muslim intolerance. The gimmick goes like this: Perriello asks his dedicated group of volunteers to “tithe” 10 percent of their time to community service projects around the district, thereby evoking all of the decent and charitable aspects of your local church, while also reminding voters of the extensive volunteer work he himself has done in vacation hot spots such as Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Darfur. This is the sort of plan that we’d normally call Machiavellian in its nefarious, poll-tested brilliance—but Perriello seems so darned earnest, we’re willing to put our cynicism aside and applaud him for designing such a smart, community-building campaign tactic. (But don’t push us, Poindexter—we can only hold our snark for so long.)
On the flip side of this politico-religious coin, however, is Virginia’s biggest home-school advocate Michael Farris, chancellor of Purcellville’s Patrick Henry College and 1993’s losingest candidate for lieutenant governor. According to a recent column by uber-Republican insider Robert Novak, Farris—who backed Mike Huckabee for president—has been spreading the word in evangelical circles that, since the Huckster has been thwarted in his divine quest for the Oval Office, God obviously wants to punish America with “an Obama plague-like presidency.”
That’s just great. You’ve got to love it when a purported man of faith speaks vaingloriously for the almighty, disparages his own party’s nominee, and calls the leading Democratic presidential candidate the anti-Christ behind closed doors. Well, you’d better watch out, chancellor: with that kind of talk, you might actually make the cesspool of politics look good by comparison. And Lord knows, we wouldn’t want that!