Patrick Hynes

In a recent USA Today op-ed, Tom Krattenmaker argues that “playing the God card” has backfired on President George W. Bush. The president’s favorability has fallen through the floor, Krattenmaker argues. And surely God would never side with unpopular presidents. “The God’s-on-our-side rhetoric is looking even less credible now, after more than a year of frequently bad news for the president and his administration,” he writes.

As for the actual “God’s-on-our-side” rhetoric, Mr. Krattenmaker’s examples are pretty lame. He quotes an obscure alternate delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention and New York Governor George Pataki (no favorite of the religious Right, to be sure) as proof that the GOP considers itself “God’s Official Party.” He then chides the president himself for calling freedom “God’s gift to every man and woman in this world”; a florid idea every president since George Washington has expressed in one manner or another.

To be fair, Krattenmaker cites equally lame examples to show Democrats take the Lord’s name in vain, too.  But nowhere in his piece does Krattenmaker make reference to the Left’s recent extraordinary claims to divine endorsement.  Since their 2004 drubbing at the hands of roughly 30 million conservative Christians, Democrats have invoked the Lord’s name in such ways and with such frequency; it would make the Rev. Pat Robertson blush.

“God is a liberal,” declare Jim Carville and Paul Begala in their latest book Take It Back.  “Jesus is not a Republican,” demands Clint Wallis, editor of, among other tomes, the very un-Christian sounding The I Hate Republicans Reader.  “Jesus is a progressive.” 

“When did Jesus become pro-rich?” asks liberal evangelical author and activist Jim Wallis. “Jesus cared for the poor/so do we,” reads a South Dakota Democratic Party bumper sticker. “The role of government is to protect its people and work for the common good. This is not the time for a budget reconciliation process. To do so is not only unjust, it’s a sin,” echoed the Leftist National Council of Churches USA. 

Here’s how The Hill described a Nancy Pelosi floor speech on the budget process in 2005, “In the final Democratic speech before the vote, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said a vote in favor of the bill amounted to a ‘sin.’” 

Patrick Hynes

Patrick Hynes is the president of New Media Strategics, a blog relations consultancy. He is the proprietor of Ankle Biting Pundits and the author of In Defense of the Religious Right (Nelson Current).

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