Those who want to throw their hats into the political arena for the 2012 presidential election keep trying to show how they are more “religious” than the next guy or gal. Whether it’s Sarah, Mitt, Mike H., The Donald, or the current “prez,” those looking for votes are sure the American people are insistent that there be as much religious blood flowing through their veins as possible.
Are they right? Maybe not. According to statistics noted in a recent Gallop Poll, 70% of Americans say that religion, defined by most as believing in God, is losing its influence on “American life.” Only 61%, the lowest percentage ever recorded in the poll, say they are a member of a church or synagogue.
Why are politicians hung up on the “God thing?” And who is God anyway? Where does he/she live? What does he/she do to make a living? What does he/she eat for a midnight snack?
For many, including most politicians who will admit it, these questions continue to boggle the mind. Some, of course, believe there is no God, that it is downright silly to believe that there is a he/she pulling the strings on what occurs in daily life. To many, Barack Obama is God based on all of his power. Others might say God is Lady Gaga as strange as that may seem.
What is the truth about God? Nobody knows since no one has croaked and then come back to mother earth to tell us about whether they saw the big fellow or big gal (I mean the latter in the kindest terms). We also don’t know whether there is a truly a heaven (look up) or a hell (look down), or whether there are truly angels and demons dancing around that look like Tom Hanks.
Perhaps the real problem is with the word “religion.” What does it mean? Some believe it is simply an institution, like marriage, or eating a hot dog at a Rockies game. We are supposed to be religious, or at least this is the social thing to do based on our upbringing, and so people say they are “religious” without having a clue as to what it involves. For many, what it does mean is that one, including the political hacks, may sin all week, be nasty and greedy and irreverent to people whether they are close friends or strangers, and then sit in church, hear a sermon about being a “good person,” perhaps take communion, and then be exonerated from all bad acts committed. “I am saved, I am born again,” they say. So let it be written; so let it be done.
In this day and age when everyone wants to be politically correct, and for political hopefuls this must include the notion that they are mucho “religious,” I’ll take a good, old fashioned, pure-heart atheist over a religious hypocrite any day. At least the non-believer isn’t knocking on my door saying, “Hey, I’m religious. Give me your vote.”