This post is by National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason.
Showing strong early support in Iowa, where she was raised, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will announce her presidential campaign in her hometown of Waterloo today. Having prayed for political guidance, she says God encouraged her to run. When I reached out to Heaven for comment, however, the Almighty impatiently directed my attention to specific New Testament passages that refute Bachmann’s preference for the wealthy and disdain for the poor, such as Matthew 25, where Jesus explains: “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
Then I heard a thunderous voice ask: “Wasn’t that clear enough?” If not, there are many scriptural admonitions in both the New and Old Testaments on behalf of the poor and sick (and against the rich and uncaring). Jeremiah 7 urges us all to stop oppressing “the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow,” and to deal with each other justly. (The same verse also warns against shedding “innocent blood,” which could pose problems for Texas Gov. Rick Perry – another Republican Bible jock who is probably responsible for the execution of at least one innocent man.)
Indeed, the voice from above seemed to take grave umbrage at Bachmann’s claim of divine guidance — only the latest in a series of statements from politicians who suggest, rather blasphemously, that the Lord must not only be a registered Republican but an ultra-right Republican. For instance this year’s GOP hopefuls also includes Herman Cain, the pizza-chain magnate who believes God most likely saved him from cancer so that he could run for president.
Can both Cain and Bachmann be right? Would God need to test various candidacies to gauge reaction among primary voters? Let’s hope someone asks them at the next debate.