No longer content to play a role only in Bible Belt politics, the Almighty has entered the fray in Republican Sharron Angle’s bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada.
So far, there’s no word on God’s positions on legalized gambling and prostitution, but he is weighing in on abortion and school choice. (Surely I jest.)
The top of a Sunday Page 1 story in the Las Vegas Sun:
RENO — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle describes her motivation for seeking elected office as a religious calling.
Politics, including her bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is God’s purpose for her life — one he has long been preparing her for, she says.
“When God calls you, he also equips you and he doesn’t just say ‘Well, today you’re going to run against Harry Reid.’ There is a preparation,” she said during a recent interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network. “Moses had his preparatory time. Paul had his preparatory time. Even Jesus had his preparatory time, and so my preparation began on a school board.”
Now, at first glance, Angle’s comments don’t surprise me. For a Southern Baptist politician to suggest that she’s following God’s calling in her life impresses me as, well, exactly what you’d expect an evangelical to say.
The bigger question is this: Is she heeding God’s general direction in her life or saying that God handpicked her to unseat Reid?
The Sun story and an earlier Associated Press report provide little insight into that. To be fair, Angle appears to be cherry-picking friendly interviewers and avoiding mainstream media questions about her religious beliefs.
Nonetheless, the Sun used Angle’s CBN interview remarks last week to focus on her public policy positions concerning separation of church and state:
A Southern Baptist active in her church, Angle’s religious convictions have informed many of her positions throughout her years in politics. She believes abortion is a violation of God’s will and should be banned in all cases. She argued for the religious freedom of private and home schools. And she has said that public policy should support the “traditional” family structure as described in the Bible, in which one parent stays home with the children while the other works.
Note the scare quotes around “traditional.” Some of that space might have been better used to explain precisely what Angle means by a traditional family structure. Moreover, the reporter might have included the specific Bible chapter and verse that refers to one parent staying home with the children while the other works.
The story then goes into a lengthy exploration of “a religious political movement — Christian Reconstructionism — seeking to return American civil society to biblical law”:
The movement’s more extreme beliefs are based on a strict interpretation of Mosaic law described in the Old Testament and include the execution of homosexuals and unchaste women and the denial of citizenship to those who don’t adhere to Reconstructionists’ religious beliefs. Angle has never advocated those views.
Angle has never advocated those views. But what the heck? Let’s bring them up anyway.
Now, given the amount of ink devoted to this movement, you might assume that Angle has subscribed to it. Well, not exactly. But she does consider her candidacy a calling from God.
In general, the Sun story reports too many details as fact — about Christian Reconstructionism and Angle herself — for my tastes. In this kind of politically and religiously charged story, I prefer over-attribution to facts hanging out there with no sources.
So, there you have it. A Southern Baptist running for high political office in the home of Sin City.
Her opponent: Oh, he’s a practicing Mormon who said in 2001 that you can’t “separate your religion from your politics; it’s part of your personality. It is part of who you are.” He also describes himself as anti-abortion.
For now, though, it’s Angle’s faith — not Reid’s — that’s making headlines. And that’s just fine with the Democrat, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist who wrote about Angle’s calling from God:
Of course, Reid’s camp is having a field day with this. In hardball politics, this is batting practice.
There’s a reason Angle’s poll numbers are tanking despite Reid’s resounding unpopularity and Nevada’s high unemployment rate. But you can’t blame the good Lord or the Searchlight senator for it.
Given the subject matter, just a reminder: GetReligion is interested in the media coverage and journalistic issues related to this Senate race. Please take political comments somewhere else.