EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 2, 2012

Column: We should be able to discuss politics without divine intervention

“R convention delay due to Isaac: I guess God has ways to shut that whole thing down.”

Tweet from Jennifer Granholm, former Democratic governor of Michigan, 25 Aug. 25

Some Republican partisans are all a-twitter about that remark, but I think it’s pretty funny, coming from a Democratic partisan who is reacting to issues promoted by some Republican religious conservatives. Obviously she’s joking. I’d just had a similar irreverent thought, but mine was, how can this be happening? I thought God was on the Republicans’ side.

Actually, I imagine God annoyed with both parties for using Him to attack the First Amendment’s separation of church and state. Some social conservatives want constitutional amendments to make all Americans define human life and marriage using their churches’ teachings. Some liberals object to public schoolchildren singing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”, want to remove “God” from the Pledge of Allegiance and prohibit government employees from saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes.

None of these is joking. One group doesn’t acknowledge that the Founding Fathers didn’t want either the Church of England or any other churches connected to our government, and the other groups think this means America shouldn’t worship, mention, or cite God in general. Heaven help us.

But staying with the hurricane theme, and trusting in Wikipedia: Yosef, a prominent ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi, declared Hurricane Katrina to be “God’s punishment for President Bush’s support of the August 2005 withdrawal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza strip.”

Protestant evangelical Jack Chick, in his fundamentalist comic book, also explained the hurricane as a sign of God’s wrath over U.S. pressure on Israel. Not to be outdone, al-Qaida-in-Iraq declared of the hurricane that “God attacked America, and the prayers of the oppressed were answered.” Minister Louis Farrakhan asserted that Hurricane Katrina was “God’s way of punishing America for its warmongering and racism.”

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