I know, I know, every community has their political crackpots. One of the most notorious in our area is Minneapolis City Council Member Phyllis Kahn. She is known for suggesting that the right to vote be granted to 12-year olds and that the MN State Legislature pay the salary of MN Twins pitcher Brad Radke. A nutball to be sure. But no politician anywhere in the country, not even Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave comes close to the lunacy that is 6th district Republican candidate Michele Bachmann.
For those who aren't up on MN politics Michele Bachmann currently holds a seat in the MN State Senate, in a very conservative and very "Christian" portion of the Twin Cities metro area. Her support is based largely on people who identify themselves as values voters. Unfortunately for her, the wheels seem to be coming off the "values voters" train.
The most recent incident took place over the weekend at a local evangelical church where she was introduced from the pulpit by Reverend Mac Hammond and offered the opportunity to disguise a campaign speech as a sermon, even though the practice is a violation of the law. But that didn't stop her from stumping for votes anyway. And she did so in true Michele Bachmann style, by catering to her audience's lowest common denominator. Rather than discuss the issues of the day she simply spoke the code language of Evangelical Christians in an effort to lull them in to supporting her otherwise vacuous campaign. Here is a sample of her speech:
God called me to run for the Unite States Congress...And I thought...who in their right mind would spend two years to run for a job that lasts two years? You'd have to be absolutely a fool to do that. You are now looking at a fool for Christ.
So God speaks to Michele Bachmann, fine. And perhaps she does indeed see her candidacy as a calling, that's fine too. But I have to wonder if she ever stopped to ask why God chose her and what he told her she should do with her time in office. Based on her record in the Minnesota State Legislature I have few questions of my own:
* Did God tell you to hate gay people? Even your own family member?
* Did God tell you that you should spy on your political adversaries? And then lie about your intentions?
* Did God tell you demonize the entire judicial system by labeling jurists with whom you disagree, "activist judges".
* Did God tell you to legislate against a minimum wage?
* Did God tell you to claim the education is your #1 issue and yet center your efforts on destroying public schools?
* Did God tell you that some cultures are superior to others or did you make that one up on your own?
* Did God tell you we should consider nuking Iran?
* If God had told you not to run would you have listened?
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Republicans or Evangelical Christians. In fact some of my best family members fall into one or both of those categories. Just don't confuse your religious convictions for a political mandate. Keep in mind that every major world conflict throughout history had its basis in religion. In fact ever since Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in the 4th century, the church in all its forms, has used its power in decidedly un-Christian ways. In the words of Pastor Greg Boyd, of Woodland Hills Church, and author of The Myth of a Christian Nation, "When we pick up the sword we put down the cross."
Perhaps if more of us Christians carried crosses instead of swords we might actually begin to live the word of God. Rather than exercising power over we should instead focus on power under. Serving with love not might.
As for Reverend Hammond, it seems he is in a bit of hot water himself. During the service he announced that he, "Can't publicly endorse as a church and would not for any candidate. But I can tell you personally that I'm going to vote for Michele Bachmann." Except that he can't. You see the good Reverend lives in the 3rd district and therefore can't vote for Michelle Bachmann or her rival, child safety advocate, Patty Wetterling. Why would he lie from the pulpit unless it was to endorse a candidate? The weekend's antics have also run afoul of IRS for violating their tax exempt status.
Is that how we give Glory to God?