WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Texas Governor Rick Perry's announcement Saturday that he would be seeking the presidency, spurred political insiders to wonder if the Heavenly Father had tipped His hand. The Governor had been on record that he would be consulting God on the decision.
Heavenly Kingdom Press Secretary Simon Peter dashed speculation by releasing this statement quickly on the heels of the Governor's announcment:
"Despite rumors to the contrary and multiple candidates claiming otherwise, Our Heavenly Father has yet to endorse a specific candidate in the upcoming election. There are many fine candidates in the running and His Omnipotency looks forward to hearing what they all have to say before making any formal announcements of support."
The decision by Our Heavenly Father to make an explicit announcement to the press corps is unprecedented and has politicos wondering if even this older-than-time political kingmaker is maturing in His approach to American electoral politics.
Some insiders speculate the Kingdom's announcement is a preemptive attempt to tamp down assumptions that Perry's decision to run is confirmation of him having received a direct go-ahead from The Almighty Himself. Still others suspect it points to a delicate finessing in God's relationship with key Perry rival Michele Bachmann. The two have been said to be very close.
Perry's campaign did not return repeated requests for comment by deadline.
Spox Simon Peter denies the Kingdom is attempting damage control after the blockbuster, embarrassing exposé that broke in last month's New York magazine: "God Caught Backing Multiple GOP Candidates for President." The magazine cited conflicting reports coming out of the Bachmann, Santorum and even the Herman Cain camp as to who was really The Chosen Candidate.
Peter downplayed there were concerns about the Heavenly Father's credibility, saying, "Do people misinterpret His attention? Sure, He's God. If they get Him on the line, they think they're special. The Heavenly Father talks to a lot of people, and He's infinitely supportive, but He doesn't have any favorites."
Both Perry and God's announcements are seen as setbacks to the Bachmann campaign. It was previously presumed Michele Bachmann was God's sweetheart. The Minnesota House Rep. has claimed to be in close and constant contact with The Heavenly Father, saying, "Well, every decision that I make, I pray about, as does my husband, and I can tell you, yes, I've had that calling and that tugging on my heart that this is the right thing to do."
But lately doubts have begun to surface about her continued favored status. Thursday, noted God confidant and sometime spokesman for the Heavenly Kingdom Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association claimed God considered Bachmann merely a candidate of last resort. He said:
"Now then the question becomes what if God can't find any men with the spine and with the testicular fortitude to provide the kind of leadership? Well, what he'll do is He'll send a woman to do a man's job."
Peter Simon denies God considers Bachmann a "last resort" calling Fischer's comment, "Not an accurate assessment of His Holiness's feelings on Rep. Bachmann, who he loves exactly the same as all his children."
Bachmann spokesperson Alice Stewart denies the relationship between the candidate and God has chilled, calling such talk "pure nonsense." But a senior level campaign staffer revealed a brewing frustration within the Bachmann camp. Speaking under condition of anonymity, the source said, "Of course she's ticked. While she's off on the campaign trail, Rick Perry throws together his little Prayer-A-Palooza and that turns God's head? That stadium was not even half full! And now Rick's the favorite?! For that?! For Chrissake! They didn't even handle snakes! Or burn a witch! Michele has been speaking in tongues in every TV appearance for years! What kinda gratitude is that?!"
God's opinion has long played a powerful role in American politics. But His Omnipotency has largely taken a behind-the-scenes approach, eschewing the public spotlight and quietly whispering in supporters, voters, candidates and electeds' ears to shore up popular support for his initiatives and candidates.
But contrary to conventional wisdom, political analysts are increasingly becoming divided on the net value in His Holiness' overt endorsement. The omnipotent creator of all Heaven and Earth unquestionably has tremendous favorability ratings owing in large part to his longstanding promise of eternal life. But differences over administrative qualifiers for entrance into the "eternal life program" remain a contentious source of disagreement in America.
Some critics say the buck stops with God himself, citing a bureaucratic tangle of outdated, confusing or even contradictory directives coming from on high. Even one enthusiastic God supporter concedes, "Leadership could be better, His organization's priorities at times seem confused." Still others maintain that His track record for actual delivery of eternal life remains in dispute by some.
Still, God's Q score remains in the high heavens, with most of those polled citing admiration for his "infinite love," "unerring wisdom" and "divine forgiveness."
David Silverman from American Atheists isn't so impressed. Noting God isn't even an American citizen, Silverman is quick to point out The Almighty's track record in backing political candidates and causes is not so good.
"Let's not forget it was God that told George W. Bush to run back in 2000. And it was God's brilliant idea to invade Iraq. When it comes to his meddling in American politics, it certainly isn't clear that God is good, God is great," says Silverman.
Indeed, some insiders speculate it was missteps the Heavenly Kingdom made during the Bush administration that prompted this unprecedented clarification. Is it possible that God is doing an image makeover after some problematic political alliances that have taken their toll?
Says an unnamed source in the Kingdom, also speaking under condition of anonymity, "Look, God is just looking to proceed cautiously here. In the past He's, maybe, you know, been a little too vulnerable to flattery, and thrown His weight behind some of the wrong people. And where's it gotten Him? The Vatican?
He won't even take the Pope's calls anymore. Shit, don't print that! Mormons? What a debacle that Prop 8 was. All that time and money spent over that? He totally wasn't on board with that. The megachurches? Do not bring up Ted Haggart in His presence!
"Look, the thing is, he's feeling burned. He's not entirely sure all this has been good for his image, or that these people really share His core values. I mean, He sent His son down there to minister to the poor and the sick! Not to stop gays from getting married and bomb Planned Parenthood clinics!
"For now, He just wants to keep his options open."
Asked if The Universal Force For All That Is Good And Holy was contemplating endorsing a Democrat in the General, the source only smiled and declined comment.
Update: Thanks for the warm reception. I think people understood I am not lampooning Christianity. I am lampooning people who think God gets to participate in our electoral process by proxy. Apologies to Michelangelo, I take that critique as entirely valid.
If you enjoy a laugh, try surfing to The Oatmeal sometime. This clever cartoonist just put up a hilarious series of panels on How God Screwed The Male Angler Fish. It's apropos of this discussion, as a funny take on "God's plan" for gender politics in His universe. Hard to square this with AFA's Bryan Fischer's sexist, misogynist worldview.