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Peter Waldron has long been deeply involved in explicitly theocratic elements of the Religious Right, here and abroad.  And so it was no big surprise when he turned up last summer, working as a faith outreach aide to Michele Bachmann, focusing on Iowa and South Carolina.  He is credited with playing a key role in organizing Bachmann's success in the Iowa straw poll.

But Waldron's recent appearance on a prominent conservative radio show, (written up by Warren Throckmorton) added further intrigue regarding what God is up to this election year, since no less than four candidates for the GOP presidential nomination have claimed to have received a divine nudge.

Waldron said that the Holy Ghost led him to Bachmann.

Waldron revealed his revelation on the conservative Iowa radio talk show hosted by Steve Deace. Warren Throckmorton reported:

When Deace asked Waldron at 49:33, “Why Michele Bachmann?” Waldron replied:

   

Waldron: I’m compelled by Scripture.  If I may tell you the story of Michele Bachmann, how I came

    Deace: Can you do it in 60 seconds?

    Waldron: I can do it in less than 60 seconds.

    Deace: Go ahead.

    Waldron:  I was interviewed by several candidates.  I came to Iowa to be interviewed by Hermann Cain.  I met with him at the Holiday Inn in downtown Des Moines.  He was scheduled to speak at a home schooling event over at the capital.  I went over to hear him speak and this woman came out and she spoke and the Holy Ghost said to me as I was standing there, uh, this is the one.  And I left Des Moines, returned to my offices in Tennessee, I prayed and God said volunteer.  So literally I volunteered for Michele Bachmann and a funny thing happened on the way to Des Moines.

    Deace: Peter Waldron is here and he is working for the Michele Bachmann campaign and he makes the case that if you are an uncommitted values voters, she is your candidate.


After a break, Waldron made the case that Bachmann was the only candidate to look at every sector of society (law, politics, arts, etc) through a “biblical worldview” and thus the only candidate that God would bless to heal the nation.  Waldron invoked I Chronicles 7:14 (“if my people pray and turn from their wicked ways, then…I will heal their land”) and said Bachmann was the only candidate who would bring prayer to the White House.  Waldron compared Bachmann’s religious views to William Jennings Bryan and that this election is the most important election since the Civil War.  Bachmann, says Waldron, is a Proverbs 31 woman who lives out her faith.  Without such a President, the country is headed for a catastrophic end.

The intrigue about what God is up to this year extends from what pols are trying to imply when they make statements invoking a divine call to run for office.  As I wrote a few weeks ago:

The inference is that they somehow embody God's politics.  That their policy ideas are God's policy ideas.  That they are God's chosen pol. That they have God's endorsement.  

While it is hard to top an endorsement from God, what if God has, as seems to be the case this time, several candidates in the same race?   Maybe they were mistaken. Or perhaps God was up to something else.  

Perhaps God wanted people to see the shameless way that pols invoke his name. Perhaps God wanted treat us to some spectacular displays of political sleazebaggery in the way pols will use and abuse God to achieve vainglorious ends.  Perhaps God wanted us all to see the difference between people who honestly aspire to public service and those who are all about egotism and extreme vanity.  (If that was God's intention, Herman Cain was a great pick!)  

Cain [who was the latest candidate to declare that God told him to run] and his GOP colleagues forget or ignore the fact that we live in a pluralist society in which as a matter of constitutional authority, plus more than two centuries of legal development, and a profound matter of cultural ethos, we are equal as citizens.  This reality stays the same whatever our religious or non-religious views may be, whether we change our minds and how often we might do so.  As we have seen, faith-based political appeals can lead to some pretty spectacular cases of religious bigotry as well as outrageous pandering that undermines the civic and religious integrity of anyone who engages in, encourages, or otherwise supports such behavior.

Such behavior also helps us to distinguish whose ends are theocratic.  Throckmorton further reported:

Host Deace asked Waldron what Bachmann would do about the Supreme Court rulings with which she disagreed.  Specifically, Deace asked what Bachmann would do if the Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act.  Deace believes that any law that “does not square” with God’s law is no law at all.  Although he said he wasn’t speaking for Bachmann, Waldron’s answer was to defund the judges and/or impeach them. He did promise this on behalf of Bachmann:

   

I make three promises for her in the last 20 seconds – First, she will protect the people, she will promote righteousness and she will punish wickedness, all defined by the Bible.

Waldron's answer, may help us to understand what Bachmann meant when she was recently asked about dominionism and theocracy by Christianity Today.  Speaking about what is constitutional and what is not, she said:

...if the people want something that is not in accordance with the Constitution, it's up to the President and the people's representatives to explain why something is unconstitutional.  For instance, Obamacare has the individual mandate that forces every American as a condition of citizenship to purchase a product or service even if they don't want to.  That's never happened before, that's unconstitutional.  

While the president and the Congress have their obligations to act in accordance with the Constitution and necessarily have views about what is and is not constitutional, notice that Bachmann left out any mention of the federal courts, the branch of government to which we have historically accorded the final say about what is and is not constitutional.  

Dearce and Christianity Today are onto something that merits further questions to Bachmann, and undoubtedly other candidates.  The basic questions of how we distinguish between democracy and theocracy don't change over time.  And, although we would like to think so, the struggle between democracy and theocracy did not end with the ratification of the Constitution. Theocratic elements are alive and active in contemporary public life, and wielding far more influence than we usually allow ourselves to see.

Crossposted from Talk to Action

Originally posted to Frederick Clarkson on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:18 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Waldron may not know fuckall about democracy... (5+ / 0-)

    but he did meet Herman Cain at a Holiday Inn.

  •  G-d has a very sick sense of humor... (6+ / 0-)

    ...these days!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:28:53 PM PST

  •  Well, I asked God about this . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, luckylizard, annrose

    A few days ago I asked God who her candidate is -- she said she'd get back to me.

  •  This is Everyday Language of Evangelicals. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, gizmo59, Lonely Texan, annrose

    It's a premise of the entire belief system. There is nothing whatsoever out of the ordinary for these various figures to be talking in terms of certain knowledge of the mind of God about everyday matters.

    I cut them slack on the matter of the multiple callings. So far I haven't heard one of these people said the Lord said he's making them President. It's just that he's called on several of them to run, which is something that even human political parties and donors do.

    You're so right about the democracy/theocracy struggle not ending with adoption of the Constitution.

    There's the case of Madison, the literally original author of the original draft, vetoing an 1811 faith-based initiative passed by congress to fund feeding of poor children. He called it an improper establishment of religion for carrying out a "civic duty."

    A few years later Jefferson's 1814 letter to Cooper involves refuting the lie that our system is grounded in Christianity, mentioning the 2 centuries its basis of English Common Law was founded and evolved before Christianity had first reached England.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:42:10 PM PST

    •  When pols (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cany, JeffW, gizmo59, Lonely Texan, cacamp, annrose

      claim a divine mandate to run for high office, it can and I think as we have seen, often does, take on something far more profound than a passing sense of God's favor.  Evangelicals have no corner on having a sense of being in the presence of or blessed in some way by God. What one does with that sense is what is at issue here. It can reveal the vaingloriousness of a candidate and even theocratic intentions.  I think it is well worth paying close attention when a candidate makes such claims, and exploring with them what they mean. We are talking here about politicians.

  •  Actually G-d just called me to run. (3+ / 0-)

    No wait.  It was a wrong number.  Opps.  

    I used to eat lunch in a "Christian" restaurant.  The food was good and cheap and actually the people were nice.  They maintained that G-d had called them to open this tiny local lunch restaurant to further his work.  The wife was a Philippine and they had started a church on some god forsaken little island where she came from and the restaurant was supposed to support it.  The unfortunate thing was that they had sent her brother, who turned out to be an alcoholic, over to run the place. So it soon ran out of money.  Then the restaurant failed because it happened that there weren't that many people who wanted a Jesus theme with there lunch hash and the minister of the church that they were affiliated with ran off with the church secretary and the church failed.  

    I believe that they were well intended and set out to do some good in the world and G-d does knows that the world needs all the good that it can get.   For instance they had a weekly free feed for the poor (here) and they set up a pure water system there on the island etc.   So when it all fell apart, what happened to G-d's call?  If G-d sets you to do something, then shouldn't you succeed?  

    They had no answer but interestingly it didn't deter their faith.  When they closed the business they just set off on another mission from G-d.  But then as they say G-d has mysterious ways.  Maybe it does call various people to run for office knowing that they will fail.  Maybe it really does have just a strange sense of humor.
    Whose to say?

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    by YellerDog on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 08:58:45 PM PST

  •  Godless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose

    Peter Waldron= Michele Bachmann are unholy basterds.I will tell them to their face they are of the anti christ

  •  Proverbs 31... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frederick Clarkson

    While I don't get what this has to do with the presidential race, I find the choice of that chapter interesting.  That chapter has at least two distinct sections.  I suspect that the first section is not the one to which Waldron refers:

    8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
       for the rights of all who are destitute.
    9 Speak up and judge fairly;
       defend the rights of the poor and needy.

    OTOH, I'm having trouble understanding what the second and longer section has to do with, well, anything.  It's all about the "noble wife" and ends with this familiar (to anyone who goes to many weddings) passage:

    30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
       but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
    31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
       and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 06:52:06 AM PST

  •  I guess that God... (0+ / 0-)

    is punking at least 3 of the Republican candidates, eh?

    Abortion Clinics OnLine, the world's first and largest source for online abortion clinic information. Join my DK Abortion Group.

    by annrose on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 08:03:57 AM PST

  •  I'm thinking a "Holy Ghost-Off" (0+ / 0-)

    between Bachmann, Santorum, Perry, and Gingrich on Pay-Per-View. I'm seeing a large cage; "4 idiots enter, 1 idiot leave" kinda thing.

    apparently due to ancient hardware and the transition to dk4 I can't recc tip jars or comments any longer so in lieu of the 'standard nod' you'll see a variety of replies until this gets fixed or becomes a mighty big fucking pain in the ass

    by oopsaDaisy on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 08:57:35 AM PST

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