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A Christian presents herself for office as an integrated whole.
BY KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ
The Republican field may get the press corps on its knees yet. Between Rick Perry leading prayer rallies and Michele Bachmann considering God more a part of her life than a mere “safe harbor,” newsrooms may be praying for someone who doesn’t take their faith so seriously!
It all began during Thursday night’s Fox News Washington Examiner debate. My friend and former colleague Bryon York asked the Minnesota congresswoman: “In 2006, when you were running for Congress, you described a moment in your life when your husband said you should study for a degree in tax law. You said you hated the idea. And then you explained, But the Lord said, ‘Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.’ As president, would you be submissive to your husband?”
And he was booed.
Bachmann, without missing a beat, answered the question before she even started talking, with a smile.
After the Minnesota congresswoman won the Iowa straw poll in Ames Saturday, she did a round of Sunday-show interviews. NBC host David Gregory dug deeper on the submission issue, putting the question in some more context and pressing Bachmann.
And on much more than submission. He went exactly where he had to for full context: to God.
Gregory asked Bachmann: “To what extent is he a motivator for decisions that you make?” He pressed, with the sound of disbelief — pun intended — in his voice: “Would God guide your decisions you would make as president of the United States?” He went on: “There is a difference between God as a sense of comfort and safe harbor and inspiration and God telling you to take a particular action.”
Well, there sure is.
I’ve always had an uncomfortable relationship with the Sunday shows. As someone who has always taken an interest in politics, seeing its relationship to human lives, yelling at the TV on Sunday morning before or after church has never seemed quite right. Of course, maybe the problem has always been my yelling, not the day of the week the talking points are being delivered and challenged. But you see my point.
And if you were watching Meet the Press Sunday morning, you saw the clearest example yet of the problem.
The problem is far deeper than the day of the week or the time of day for a talking-head show. The problem is how we make God work in our schedule. The problem is that it could ever be considered mainstream Christianity to see God as nothing but a safe harbor and inspiration, like a lone quote on an inspirational calendar. David Gregory went on to ask whether she would appoint atheists in her administration. Meanwhile, how many Americans, particularly those in and around Washington, would consider the only qualified Christian one who didn’t actually take Christianity all that seriously?
I asked Nancy French, an evangelical writer, to address the submission issue on National Review Online on Friday. She wrote about how she frequently has to make decisions about what freelance jobs she is going to pursue and which she is going to decline.
She have no time for even reinventing the f-word.) As men and women more openly tire of the pain the sexual revolution has wrought, she’s a candidate for our times, reasserting the conviction that nothing good comes from relegating God to an hour on Sunday, fit in between things we’ve decided matter more.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a nationally syndicated columnist.