US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Rick Perry and why I love The Onion

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

No one does satire better than The Onion, and I've always especially liked their religion "reporting," most recently their July 21 "God urges Rick Perry not to run for president": “I prayed last night and asked the Lord to support my candidacy, and He said no,” said Perry, according to The Onion. (Just a reminder: that means he didn't really say it!)

But there is more than a grain of truth in that fake quote, and I wish U.S. politicians and their religious allies would keep it in mind. There's no more earthly matter than politics, and as a believer nothing offends me more than politicians who lead prayer meetings or yammer on about their faith to pander to their bases during an election cycle. It's easy to see only evangelicals and the Religious Right in the GOP as the only offenders, but must admit I have never been comfortable with candidates giving political speeches in any church during the campaign season. Many historically African American churches here in Chicago do that, and it's always made me uncomfortable.

I'm not one who says relgious should be private, and I don't check my faith at the door of the voting booth. But the confluence of religion and political power has always been corrupting, and I think the credibility of religious communities suffer more seriously. Rick Perry may feel "called" to run for president, but I'm not sure it's God who is doing the talking.