More than any campaign in recent memory, the 2000 Presidential campaign placed both religion and faith in God front and center in the political process. Whether it was George Bush naming Jesus as his favorite philosopher on the nationally televised debates, Joe Lieberman taking Saturdays off in observance of the Sabbath, or Al Gore speaking in African American churches in the final days of the campaign, the invocation of the Almighty was never far from either side in their quest for the White House.
And if the candidates were aggressive in courting Americans of faith, media savvy religious leaders were positively rabid in their partisan support. For the Christian Right, this was especially true. Self-proclaimed men of God Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell mobilized an army of volunteers, spent a mountain of money, and poured forth an ocean of rhetoric, in support of their candidate, George W Bush.
The reason was simple. In the eyes of Mr. Robertson and Mr. Falwell, Bill Clinton had simply been the most immoral man to ever occupy the Whitehouse, and God demanded that his Vice President be defeated to forever remove the stain of his transgressions from the Oval Office. Now that Mr. Gore has conceded the contest to Mr. Bush, perhaps it is fair to ask, did God have a dog in this fight? For as the events of the past several months have made clear, nothing could have been less probable than a Bush presidency.
Mr. Bush began his campaign running against an incumbent administration blessed with the longest economic expansion in history, and immediately faced a 19 point drubbing in the New Hampshire primary. However, shortly thereafter, Mr. Bush benefited mightily from a massive telephone bank operation run by the Christian Coalition that shored up Lee Atwater's famed South Carolina firewall. Mr. McCain, perhaps sensing that these efforts had breathed new life into the wounded Bush campaign, went so far as to describe the pillars of Christianity who had rushed to Bush's side as "evil." But within a matter of days, Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson were vindicated and Mr. McCain's candidacy was over.
Later, after the general election had been held, it became increasingly clear that not only had Mr. Gore won in excess of 300,000 more votes than Mr. Bush across America, but that he had also received thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, more votes in the critical state of Florida, which would have put him over the top of the all important electoral college. But when the votes were counted, a mechanical fluke had shown Mr. Bush to be the winner. Was it the hand of God again intervening for the Bush team?
As events unfolded in the post election phase, Robertson repeatedly castigated Mr. Gore on his globally distributed religious television program for trying to "steal the election", Mr. Falwell sent out email missives urging his followers to pray for Mr. Bush, and in Florida, Christian Conservatives went on hunger strikes to entice their Eternal God to come to the aid of the Republican standard bearer. And then Vice President Al Gore conceded.
So perhaps the Almighty did intervene in this election.
But if Mr. Robertson and Mr. Falwell actually do speak for Lord, and it truly was God's hand has purged the remnants of the immoral Bill Clinton from the White House, it shouldn't be long before God's blessings rain down upon our formerly lost and wayward Nation. Indeed, if God himself chose Mr. Bush We can reasonably expect for things to be much, much better than they had been under President Clinton, and in short order.
Let the Anointing Begin!
Christians who believe Mr. Robertson's interpretation of the scripture should anticipate that unemployment, already at the lowest levels in history, will vanish altogether. Mr. Falwell's followers can expect, at a minimum, that the record economic expansion of the past 8 years will be dwarfed by an economy operating with the blessings of God the Father. Baptists across the South should anticipate 20% per year growth in the GDP at a minimum. And the Catholics, Pentecostals, and other various sects of Christianity who anointed Mr. Bush the candidate of righteousness, should anticipate a quick end to abortion, homosexuality and crime; as all of these blessings should quickly come to pass now that America has responded and picked God's candidate the President of the United States.
Of course, if these things do not come to pass; if the fighting among God's chosen in Israel does not subside, if the wages of the poor reverse their recent increases, and if American prosperity is not turbo-charged by Mr. Bush's plans to simultaneously provide billions of extra dollars to dubious defense programs and a massive tax cut for the rich, then Christians might want to consider the possibility that it wasn't God who put Mr. Bush in the White House.
Rather, they may wish to consider that it was a corrupt political system in a racist state run by his brother, and a Supreme Court that willingly sacrificed its own nobility on the alter of partisan politics. And they may then want to reconsider which political party God really favors.
© 2000 The Daily Brew http://www.thedailybrew.com/NEXT: GOD OVERRULES SCOTUS DECISION
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