If a recipe for cake calls for 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, to not include the vanilla would be to omit it. However, not adding a half-teaspoon of vanilla extract to your scrambled eggs isn’t omission; it simply isn’t inclusion. The Christian-right in America seem to believe that god and prayer are part of the recipe for politics. This is despite the fact that our country’s cookbook, the Constitution, specifically prohibits religion from being an ingredient in government. This is because our founders understood that mixing church and state is always a recipe for disaster.
Nevertheless, the religious have continued to inject god into politics, regardless whoever else it disagrees with, to selfishly suit their own palettes. And not only do they insert faith into everything, but they insist that everyone else do so also.
On the recent anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Fox News criticized President Obama for failing to include god in his public address.
‘Fox and Friends’ co-host, Gretchen Carlson, asserted:
“Eleven years ago after the attack on America, the president calls for a moment of silence, but he does not call for the word ‘God’. So some people are asking, why is God being left out again?”
And co-host Steve Doocy added:
“Does the president of the United States call on people to pray for those lives lost? No, he calls on people to observe a moment of silence and then go out and do some community service. He proclaims today as Patriot Day, a national day of service and remembrance and go perform community service to remember those who lost their lives.”
This is far from the first time the President has been attacked for not mentioning god. And while Obama may be a consistent political target, it’s not limited to just him, but political opposition overall. Consider the recent news about the word “God” being omitted from the 2012 Democratic platform.
What I would like to know is this though; What is the criteria for appealing to the almighty? Of course the religious-right would prefer constant references to god in all matters, but there are many instances where no backlash is aimed at politicians who do not. Even Conservative candidates do not refer to god in every statement they make.
I would like to, for a moment, take a practical look at the 9/11 example. Let’s say that Christians are correct… what purpose does prayer serve here? The tragedy occurred 11 years ago. What is accomplished by praying for the victims at this point in time? Wherever their souls were headed, they must have reached that destination by now. Or maybe it’s just the victims’ families. But surely in the same post-decade they’ve gotten on with their lives, learned to live with their loss, etcetera. It occurs to me that most of the people who insist on prayer at such a time don’t even know why themselves. It’s simply a matter of feeling that they’re supposed to. And the expectation of the President to make reference to it is simply wanting to retain their privileged position.
Do appeals to god really makes a difference? I suspect that few people actually think so. Even the most conservative would shy away from saying they believe that their god plays political favoritism. Among politicians, appealing to god is simply an appeal to Christian voters, and criticisms of the opposite party for not doing so is merely a way of vilifying them.
For non-politicians I think it boils down to the fear of secularism. So long as politicians are referencing god, people are free to rest easy and perpetuate their delusions that this is a “Christian Nation”. And when god is “omitted” they become afraid of the reality that it isn’t.