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God’s Away On Business

Something is obviously wrong in the God department. Cain, Bachmann, Perry and Santorum all believe God has called on them to run. Apparently, God couldn’t make up his mind after eschewing Gingrich and Paul. I don’t think God even knows Huntsman is running and he figures Romney doesn’t need his help since Mitt is already richer than God.

My opinion? I just think that God doesn’t have time for politicians. As Cookie Monster says: “God’s Away On Business“.

For those who can’t decipher Tom Waits here are the lyrics in a separate window.

– Iron Filing



  1. Tony wrote:

    This posting is much more jerk-like than a normal political irony post.
    Sure, it seems to stupid when you take what they said to mean “God wants me to be President”, but that isn’t what they said. They said “God wants me to run”, and that’s different.
    Maybe God wanted Herman Cain to run so that his sexual crimes against his wife could come out into the open, not so he could be president.
    And maybe God wanted Michele Bachman to run so that the people of Minnesota would see how crazy she is and vote a democrat into her seat in 2012.
    Maybe God wanted Rick Perry to run so that the country doesn’t get nostalgic and think we would be better off with more George W Bush.
    And maybe God wants Rick Santorum to run so that Republicans can see how unpopular the anti-gay religious psycho platform is with independents, and maybe they’ll change their ways in the future.

    God is complicated, and not so insignificant that the desperate ramblings of four uneducated politicians can undermine him.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 6:25 am | Permalink
  2. IL-08 wrote:

    Maybe true, but “There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby”

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink
  3. Michael wrote:

    Tony, interesting points. As for the posting being “more jerk-like than a normal political irony post,” notice that this post was from Iron Filing, who is filling in while Iron Knee is out of the country. It always takes a little while to develop a style, and I’m sure IF is figuring out his/her own.

    What I really wanted to mention was that this post reminded me of something I saw yesterday on CNN: Cafferty annoys me sometimes, and this is an example of why. A new poll reports that 40% of Republicans go to church weekly, whereas 27% of Dems do. So he immediately jumps in to ask why Repubs go to church more, showing a religious bias. That is, since church is (in general) associated with good behavior, this interpretation seems to imply that Repubs have better behavior than Dems. Innocence by association, if you will. But it seems to me that his framing of the question is completely wrong.

    Ask any 6 year old whether or not they believe in God. You’re likely to get an answer from many of them, because their parents have been dragging them to church every week. Now, ask them whether or not they believe in supply-side economics as a feasible economic policy. In general, the religion obviously comes before the politics. So the question should be (assuming there are the same number of Repubs and Dems), of the 33.5% of respondents that attend church weekly, why do they become Repubs with almost a 2-to-1 ratio? That is, why are the religious more likely to become Repubs than Dems?

    I’d be curious what others’ thoughts are on why this is so. Why does religion direct people toward the GOP? My personal argument would be that sermons are typically in line with the Republican platform (abortion is bad, gay marriage is bad, “my treasure is waiting in heaven”), and hearing that message weekly has a reinforcement effect. Add to that the fact that you’re surrounded by like-minded folks and the effect is even stronger, because you gain certainty.

    Any other thoughts? Anything I’m missing?

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink
  4. Patricia wrote:

    1. Tony, get a sense of humor. Fod has one, or we wouldn’t be here. 🙂
    2. Michael, aside from the proximity effect you speak of, I believe the real reason more Rs go to church than Ds is because the “church” has (in some cases) gotten off message. Churches can (and do) lazily buy R messages (some churches receive regular encouragement in that from right-leaning mailings) and forget that Jesus messages really track closer to classic “progressive” ideas. 19th century progressive thought in England and America grew out of a liberal (and I’m using that word in it’s non-political usage)understanding of scripture. If you don’t follow that, consider the soaring usage of scripture by MLK to push for civil rights. By the way, I’m one of those liberals who go to church 🙂

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  5. Patricia wrote:

    Oops! You see what I mean? Fod should be God!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Tony, the things you said sound more like a progressive wish-list than anything else. Pretty optimistic as well…these are the same Republicans that had no problem booing a soldier on TV because he was gay.

    Ironically I think you are demonstrating the problem that the original post identified: people often see the things they desire as the will of an all-powerful deity.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  7. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    FYI #6 is moi.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  8. Michael wrote:

    Patricia, good point.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink
  9. Arthanyel wrote:

    Michael: There was a great talk on TED about the difference in moral values between conservatives and liberals – here’s the link:

    Haidt’s work shows there are 5 major moral “baseline dimensions” as follows:

    Harm / Care
    Fairness / Reciprocity
    In Group Loyalty
    Authority / Respect
    Purity / Sanctity

    Liberals feel the first two are what morality is all about, and have a strong “openness to new experiences” while the discount the bottom three, while conservatives believe all five are crucial and they place high value on the bottom three.

    The conclusion in this case is that Democrats (being more liberal) are more focused on “openness to new experiences” (which trends towards multi-cultural and therefore less specific religion oriented) and consewrvatrives tend to have such a high value on sanctity, authority and loyalty that they tend to be more specific religion oriented.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink
  10. starluna wrote:

    Arthanyel – I was thinking about Haidt’s work too when I read Michael’s comment.

    Michael – I would be careful about taking anything from a poll. But even if there is any truth to the finding that more Republicans go to church than Democrats, I think you have to consider what impact the co-option of certain forms of evangelical Christianity by the Republican party, particularly since the early 1990s may have on these numbers. It is entirely possible that religious turn of the Republican party drove moderate or less religious Republicans to become independents. Or, it may have diminished the entrance of those would otherwise lean (and vote) Republican but who do not care for the association with evangelical Christianity.

    Of course, I am assuming that most of those who reported higher levels of religiosity and being Republican are Christian. The report on the Gallup poll itself did not make that clear. However, I feel comfortable that there is some support for this assumption. The Public Religion Research Institute found that only 18% of those surveyed reported being “somewhat” or “very” uncomfortable with an evangelical Christian president. I assume the 92% who were not uncomfortable are probably Christian. It’s possible that I’m wrong, but I’ll stick with this assumption until I get more data.

    What would be more interesting to see is how the modern relationship between party affiliation and religiosity compares to the past. The Gallup poll upon which this report is based only looks as far back as 2008. I would like to see 20-30 year trends.

    I would also like to note that the poll defines religiosity as the self-reported importance of religion to the respondent and the frequency of going to religious services. Many scholars would argue that this is a very simplistic view of religiosity. Religiosity is a very difficult concept to measure but among the many things missed here is how well the principles and values of the religion are practiced or are used to guide the behavior of the individual believer. How religious can you really say you are if you go to church every Sunday and then spend the rest of the week violating the major tenets of the religious you profess to be very important to you?

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Permalink
  11. GWN wrote:

    Yes, it is not clear whether ‘church’ includes synagogue, chapel, or any other number of multi-religious gatherings or practices (Buddhist meditation, anyone?)

    Given the leanings of the ‘poll’ I would guess that ‘church’ is republican-speak for god-lovin’ Christians who believe it means the opposite of what it was supposed to mean – e.g. hate your gay liberal poor neighbour and don’t share your trappings of greed.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink
  12. Tony wrote:

    TenThirtyTwo, None of the candidates booed that soldier. Sure, they stood there and let the audience of republicans boo a gay soldier and none of them stuck up for him, which is just as bad, but they didn’t boo him.

    I think we need to refrain from making stuff up about the republican candidates to try and make them look bad. There are plenty of real reasons to hate all of them, we don’t need to sink to their level and lie about them.

    As for the God stuff, I think that they are all crazy. However, same story… you can’t go putting words in their mouths.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink
  13. Iron Filing wrote:

    Tony, I actually agree with you that we should “refrain from making stuff up about the Republican candidates to try and make them look bad.” They make themselves look bad enough without our help. However, I don’t think I did that. I said they “believe God has called on them to run.” I did not say, as you claim, that each believes God wants them to be president although I think they do. I considered changing the post, as you suggest, to use “God wants me to run” but I just don’t see the difference between “God called on me to run” and “God wants me to run”. Honestly, I agree with most of what you’ve said except that I don’t see how I offended.

    As to Michael’s well intentioned defense that I may need time to mature as Iron Knee’s stand in: I hope that I continue to grow and improve, but actually I do have experience as a columnist and truth be told, this is probably close to as good as I’ll get 🙂

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Permalink
  14. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I think we also need to refrain from making stuff up. That’s why I don’t. I didn’t mention the candidates. I was talking about the “Republicans,” the same ones you mentioned in your post (“And maybe God wants Rick Santorum to run so that Republicans can see how unpopular the anti-gay religious psycho platform is with independents, and maybe they’ll change their ways in the future.”). You know, your post that I was responding to?

    So, while you are spending your time not making things up about the Republicans, consider also not making things up about what I said.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 8:00 am | Permalink
  15. Don wrote:

    “Liberals feel the first two are what morality is all about, and have a strong “openness to new experiences” while they discount the bottom three, while conservatives believe all five are crucial and they place high value on the bottom three.”

    I think he mischaracterizes his own data. It doesn’t show that liberals ignore the other three or discount the other three, for this would show a conscious decision to do so, but rather, for reasons of genetics and upbringing and experience liberals haven’t constructed their moral equations with the bottom three carrying as much weight as the top two. If they ignored them totally, the graph for those three lines would start at 00, not 30-40.

    I also found it very interesting in the TED talk that Harm/Care graph line stayed virtually level in some cultures.

    Getting back to the original jist of this thread and to Tony’s comments: for those of us who don’t believe that there is a supernatural power guiding the actions of individual humans, IF’s comments are simply humorous. At a simple level, they can be applied as an argument for the ineffectiveness of what to some is called God, or the failure of humans to truly grok this God, or God’s messages or it can be used as proof that there really isn’t a God. I will admit that my atheism is built partly on my sense that if there was an all knowing/caring/controlling God things wouldn’t be this messed up. I’ve gotten past the “Adam and Eve gave us free will when they were kicked out of Eden” argument as justification for the insane messes we as humans find ourselves in. During his TED talk, Haidt paints an interesting picture of what drives humans to religions from an anthropological perspective.

    As to Tony’s original sentence? When I first read the initial post, I was a little startled – although that could be because I’m only a day out from surgery and still under the influence of the pretty heavy mind altering drugs. Didn’t quite click right with me and when I read it, it still doesn’t. Seems a little low brow for PI. That being said, overall, I’ve been quite impressed with IF’s work and will continue to read it almost daily. Thanks for picking up for IK while he’s off gallivanting around the world.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink