South Carolina Primary Humor, Intentional and Unintentional

For me the highlight of the South Carolina primary campaign was hearing Stephen Colbert speak to an overflow crowd on my College of Charleston campus. I think he is the most honest “politician” of the primary season, and he spoke both eloquently and humorously about what should be a critical campaign issue–the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision that paved the way for Super PACs as long as there is no coordination between the PAC and the candidate.

Colbert’s coordination with Jon Stewart on the “Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC” shows how coordinated such uncoordinated Super PACs can legally be.

Sometimes the most effective way to change a corrupted system is to make fun of it. I heard more student (and faculty) laughs than during any other political visit. I also think people learned more about an issue than at most campaign events.

I almost always vote against rather than for a candidate. My vote on Saturday morning, the day after Stephen Colbert spoke, was an exception. I voted FOR Herman Cain, because Colbert endorsed and introduced Cain at the rally. I’m not sure if Cain understood that Colbert’s endorsement of Cain was really an endorsement for Colbert, but that doesn’t matter. Despite what I heard from the viable candidates in South Carolina, I walked out of my polling place with a smile on my face.

There is good and bad news about advancements in religious diversity. Before we ever had a Catholic president, many Protestants feared that Jack Kennedy would govern by his church’s doctrine. He eased some concerns at a September 12, 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association when he said, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.”

Since then, Catholic politicians haven’t been grilled about their papal allegiance. Something that would have been unheard of in 1960 is for evangelical leaders to overwhelmingly endorse the two Catholic candidates in a primary.

Now for the bad news. Santorum, who received the most support from evangelicals, is no Jack Kennedy. In fact, he called JFK a radical for believing in the separation of church and state. Perhaps Santorum also endeared himself to evangelicals for his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

Newt Gingrich, the other Catholic, won the South Carolina primary with strong evangelical support. All he seems to have in common with JFK is well-publicized, adulterous relationships. To JFK’s credit, he never focused on family values. Newt sounded funnier than Colbert when he indicated that his passion for our country led him to adulterous affairs.

Newt, the pope, and evangelicals probably agree that Christianity is in grave danger by the threat of a “secular atheist” takeover of America. Just to throw in more red meat for South Carolina voters, Gingrich also worried that the country would be taken over by radical Islamists who would put us under Sharia law. Speaking as a secular atheist, I believe we want to preserve our country as one that is governed neither by Sharia nor Biblical law.

Perhaps Newt won South Carolina because of his attack on mainstream media for asking about his second ex-wife. I guess evangelicals are more opposed to liberal media than to adultery, as long as you claim God forgave you for it.

But here’s the media story in South Carolina I think Newt really appreciated: key endorsements from two beauty queens, Miss Teen Powdersville and Miss Powdersville. Miss Teen said she liked Newt and would vote for him because he is a great guy, but she is only 15. Miss Powdersville liked him because he supports Christianity and he would take us back to the Bible. She couldn’t think of any other issues.

And finally, my candidate, Herman (ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan) Cain, seems to have the same command of foreign policy as a former Miss Teen South Carolina.

Stephen Colbert is intentionally funny, but not the funniest person I heard during the South Carolina primary spectacle.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/herb-silverman/south-carolina-primary-hu_b_1222620.html?ref=offthebus

About Herb Silverman

Herb Silverman is Founder and President of the Secular Coalition for America, and founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in Charleston, South Carolina. He was founder and faculty advisor to the College of Charleston student Atheist/Humanist Alliance. He is a board member of the American Humanist Association as well as a Humanist Celebrant, advisory board member of the Secular Student Alliance, and member of the Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He has served on the boards of the Atheist Alliance and the Humanist Institute. He has written for "On Faith" at the Washington Post and for the Huffington Post. He has spoken at a number of conferences and written articles for many freethought publications. He has appeared in a number of debates on topics like: Can we be moral without God? Does God exist? Is America a Christian nation? He has also debated at the Oxford Union in Oxford, England on the topic: Does American Religion Undermine American Values? Here is information on his recent book, Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt
http://pitchstonepublishing.com/site/candidate_without_a_prayer.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04029133398946303654 David B Marshall

    When you think about it, the fact that the US government is now more than $15 trillion dollars in hock, largely to unfriendly countries, is not all that funny. Nor is it funny that the said liberal media asks questions of other triviality, while we hit the gas going over the waterfall.

    That's $200,000 in debt for a family of four. We can't afford our share. I've been trying to find someone on the Left, maybe one of those evil 1%s, or even 20%s, who would be willing to pay their own share, and our share, too. No luck, yet.

    As for all this other junk, trivia.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Newt, of course, has to mouth the standard theocratic platitudes. However, I take comfort from the fact that the only God Newt worships is Newt. in fact, playing the religious right for suckers is an old, old game with Republicans. Ronald Reagan was a master of the craft. On the campaign trail he made creationist noises and rhetorically aligned himself with the "pro family" and "pro life" crowd. In office he basically did squat for them.

    George W. Bush, though certainly not the brightest candle on the cake, could also play that game. Early in his first term he established an Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. Don Willett was appointed head of the Faith-Based Initiatives, and was expected to have an up-and-running program though the Bush Administration gave him basically no support or resources. According to David Kuo's tell-all account, Willett objected to Karl Rove that his office was being required to make bricks without straw, and Rove replied, "Look. Just get me a fucking faith-based thing, OK?"

    With friends like that the religious right hardly needs us. I only hope the Republicans keep stiffing them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17494202980192328411 Jennifer

    Thanks for the post