Holy 2012, Batman!
A Godbeat pro who shall remain nameless (unless he chooses to identify himself) posted this news story on his Facebook page with a tongue-in-cheek analysis:
CBS discovers that a Christian politician prays.
Another religion writer chimed in:
Always amazed at how some media just don’t get it.
Preaching to the choir, guys. But thank you for the GetReligion fodder.
The story concerns a politician you may have heard about: Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the Republican presidential candidate. (Sarah tackled a different Bachmann story Monday.)
Here’s the CBS headline:
Bachmann: Got “sense” from God to run for office
(Somebody cue the dramatic music, please.)
The top of the story, based on Bachmann’s interview with “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer on Sunday:
(CBS News) Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., says that she prayed to God about whether or not to run for political office and that those prayers provided her with a “sense from God” of “assurance about the direction” she was taking.
In a Sunday morning appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Bachmann – who will formally announce her presidential campaign in Iowa on Monday – responded to questions about statements she has made in the past that God “called me to run for the United States Congress.”
The story doesn’t actually include the questions that Schieffer asked (in a remarkably awkward way), but here’s how he broached the subject:
Schieffer: “You are a proud Christian, and my feeling had always been that people in public life, if they want to talk about their religion and what it means to them, fine. If they don’t, that’s their business. And you can say, ‘None of your business.’ But I would like to ask you this question. You can answer it or not answer it. You said you had no idea of going into politics, but God called you to go into politics. If you’d like to answer that question, I’d like to know the circumstances of that.”
Bachmann: “Sure, I’d be happy to.”
My first reaction: If someone aspires to be president of the United States, and claims that God told her to run, why wouldn’t that be a legitimate question? I mean, don’t the voters have a right to know? (Whether or not that’s what she claims is an entirely different issue.) But I digress …
More from the story:
“I am a Christian, as is my husband. I became a Christian when I was 16 years old. I gave my heart to Jesus Christ,” Bachmann told CBS’ Bob Schieffer. “Since that time, I’ve been a person of prayer. And so when I pray, I pray believing that God will speak to me and give me an answer to that prayer.
“That’s what a calling is,” continued the Tea Party favorite. “If I pray, a calling means that I feel like I have a sense from God.”
Bachmann says she asked God about running for political office.
“Did God tell you He wanted you to run for the Minnesota State Senate, or something like that?” Schieffer asked.
“I prayed about that, as well,” Bachmann said. “And that’s really what that means. It means that I have a sense of assurance about the direction I think that God is speaking into my heart that I should go.”
After that exchange, Schieffer quickly detoured to political issues.
The CBS report is actually pretty straightforward about what Bachmann said, allowing her to express her faith and God’s role in her decision in her own words. I guess what’s either frustrating or amusing — take your pick — is that the report provides no insight or analysis into Bachmann’s response. As Sarah put it so well in her Bachmann post:
Let’s clear this up once and for all. It’s not unusual for Christians to say they believe God intended them to do something. They might cite certain circumstances, advice from other people, say they “felt called,” etc. etc. to different degrees, but this is not strange. There’s a big difference between someone who thinks that they are “called by God” to public service and someone who believes God ordained their specific votes.
Your turn, GetReligion readers: Was Schieffer right or wrong to be so timid in asking about Bachmann’s faith?
What follow-up questions, if any, should he have asked about her Christianity?