Bill Clinton, addressing the congregation of the Church of the Pentecost in Asheville, NC, yesterday: "I didn't come here to ask you to vote for my wife. I came here to ask you to pray for her. And to vote. Do whatever you want. Show up. Our country is in dire distress. ... I just want you to pray for her and to make your voices heard. Do whatever you think is right. But don't sit this out, because we are being called upon to return to our true purpose."
For months now I've complained about Barack Obama playing the Jesus card. Frankly, it's the main beef I have with the candidate whom I still plan to cast a vote for tomorrow and, if the good Lord is willing, in November.
I'd feel a lot better about my support of Obama if he didn't so often play upon the superstitiousness and gullibility of the American public.
Now the Clinton have lost the sole advantage I gave them over Obama (how else to refer to Clinton except in the plural?--like the Borg or Jefferson Starship).
I'm being a little less than genuine here, since the Clinton have long used religion for political ends--who in American politics does not? In 1998, on the eve of Kenneth Starr's publication of the Monica Lewinsky report, needing some extra stars in his crown, Bill Clinton even glad-handed Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Republican John McCain made my heart flutter when he stated bluntly that he was not "born again" and had never been baptized as a non-infant (kind of a requirement for a Baptist, which he claims to be). To his credit, he's made a point of keeping his religious views quiet--remarkable for a Republican or any American running for public office. Sure, lately, he's sought the support of homophobic nut-case John Hagee and considered (I heard) going through with an official full-Baptist dunking, but all this is nothing compared to "hosting" a "gospel" tour, as Obama did in the fall.
Frankly, if I were a one-issue voter (and did not mind another 100 years of the US in Iraq--and gave only half a shit about the Geneva Conventions, health care. and Social Security), I might now be feeling "called" to vote for McCain, for his unusual scruples against idolatry, pharisaic hypocrisy, and taking the Lord's name in vain.
Yes, I would agree that "our country is in dire distress." It's a point that can no longer be argued. I'm just not sure that magical thinking and blind belief--or any faith-based approaches to problem-solving that ignore credible evidence or logic, not to mention due processes of law--are the means to keep the country from entirely falling apart at the seams.
Prayer can't hurt, to be sure ... unless it's the only trick we've got.