It’s a glorious time in America. A time when we can look towards the future with hope. A time when we can use our own voice to help this fine nation embrace positive change. A time that even the eldest among us has only experienced a handful of times, as it only comes around once every four years. It’s election season in America. So let’s gather ‘round and do something we haven’t done for four long years…let our voices be heard by Jesus Christ, our lord and savior, for it is he would will raise our president yet again.
Perhaps the greatest lie American citizens choose to believe is that they are an active member of a participatory democracy. With resounding vigor we attend political rallies and watch televised debates and our voices echo to the high heavens with glee as we listen to the latest guise of feigned sincerity and euphemisms espoused by the predetermined few we can cast our ballot for. For the citizens, there are a myriad of candidates to choose from that’s slowly narrowed down throughout the campaign process. These candidates are of diverse cultural backgrounds and educations. They’ve held a variety of different offices at different levels of state and national government. They have unique and distinct personalities and dramatic differences of opinion on how to run a nation. They have a profound variety of beliefs about science, technology and the future of America. There is literally only one thing that they consistently agree upon: The ultimate authority of the Judeo-Christian deity.
One would think that perhaps the greatest challenge a national political candidate faces is effectively appealing to a broad spectrum of individual. After all, there are dozens or races and hundreds of ethnic identities across a wide range of socioeconomic statuses and cultural worldviews. Quite a task it seems to be able to appeal similarly to all that. Yet one of the key advantages politicians have is that this same audience is filled with ignorance and empowered with the belief that their voice matters. As an example, the average voter is very open to hearing what the nominees have to say about real issues. Any random issue will work for this example. Say, an opinion on immigration or foreign policy or medical care. These are the types of issues we listen to. This is what’s debated. Ultimately, it’s these things that will “sell” that candidate best to voters. Yet while people readily seek to understand a particular candidate’s stance on similar issues, very few among us are willing to question why all the candidates are openly Christian. Or better yet, why we’ve had many prior openly Christian presidents, say for example, 43 in a row. It is facts such as the seemingly blind belief in Christianity that every past president has admitted to embracing that conveniently gets neglected by the average voter literally ever single election. Perhaps it’s a well-known fact that the majority of American voters readily identify with some branch of Christianity. Or perhaps it’s actually a legitimate occurrence that, by sheer coincidence, that last 43 qualified people to lead this country as elected by the citizenry just happened to be of the Christian faith. Or perhaps it’s good salesmanship.
In 1987 George Bush famously stated that atheists cannot be considered citizens or patriots and in doing so, he was well aware that such a statement posed absolutely no threat to his election. Indeed the dictum “one nation under god” is a concept wholly accepted by the vast majority of American voters. It is not merely allowed but fully expected that presidential candidates blatantly showcase their religiousness, no matter how supernatural the belief, so long as it runs parallel to the doctrines of Christianity.
Surely we can make a convincing argument that some of the more intellectual citizens elected as president couldn’t all possibly share the same religious outlook. What are the odds that there have truly been 43 consecutive Christian presidents? Rarely will you find a typical academic of the sciences who believes in a personal god and these are some of the most astute minds in existence. Yet somehow when it comes to becoming president, intelligent science doesn’t apply. There is a long standing history of presidential faith in Christianity, so much so that it might as well be part of the job description. So, let’s see. Must be a college graduate. Must have prior experience in high-ranking political office. Must be able to lift 50lbs from a squatting position. Must believe in Yahweh. Drug test required pending hire.
The only real alternative to believing that we’ve genuinely had a coincidental run of presidents subscribing to a similar faith is the possibility that some or many are lying. It’s an outlandish notion to think that a politician would lie. But if the general scholar of high academia rejects the idea of a personal god as so many do, one could only argue that the average intelligence and education of presidential nominees would put a great number of them in that same category. It’s certainly refreshing to believe that potential presidents might be lying about their religious views, as one’s metaphysical outlook shouldn’t much influence their ability to act as an intelligent and rational adult and yet they all seem to be well aware that a faith of any other kind or no faith at all would bar them from office. Intelligent Design aside, there’s no real reason to believe that a president of any faith ranging from staunch atheism to Jain dharma extremism couldn’t lead any more or less effectively than a Christian one. And yet this is what we’ve been left to choose from. Christians or liars.
The challenge in all this is doing the right thing. While the available candidates have been strongly restricted to you, your ability to vote for them is still your own free will. Ask yourself not what a particular nominee thinks is best for the oil industry or what their policy on Iran is, but ask them why they choose to believe in a being that has been utterly rejected by the very people guiding real, material change in this world. Perhaps ask them why their faith not lie with the Buddha or with other mythical beings of history like Odin or Zeus. Why are they being selective in their atheism? This is the real question at hand. While that answer may prove difficult to evoke, surely they can tell you about the monies available through the religious lobby. Or maybe they won’t tell you that. Maybe they’ll lie. Don’t get too close to the tree of knowledge, human.