We need to vote God out of politics – Robert Kirby/The Salt Lake Tribune

by Newsstand

The Rev. Franklin Graham came to Salt Lake City last week to encourage us to put God back into politics. It was a waste of time. This is Utah. God has never left our politics. We’ve had (and still have) some really stupid laws to prove it.

I’m not saying God is stupid, but stupid laws are often created based on our version of the Creator. There are more than a couple of those. Last time I checked, the Almighty came in roughly 10,000 versions, give or take a million.

If our laws are idiotic, we only have ourselves to blame. I say this because, whatever God human beings choose to believe in is more often than not a reflection of our own fears and prejudices.

When people look toward their gods, it’s amazing how often they find themselves looking into a mirror.

For example, if you like the idea of a patriarchy, you’re more apt to believe in a god that backs you up on the proper place of women. If you’re homophobic, odds are that you are going to stay away from a god who isn’t. And if you think unbelievers of your god are going to suffer eternal torment, well then, lucky you.

I suspect that the Rev. Graham really meant to say that we should put a particular type of god back into politics, namely his God. His and everyone else who sees God the same way. After all, he certainly didn’t mean Allah or Yahweh or Vishnu.

The Rev. Graham didn’t mean that we put the Mormon God back into politics. If that happened, you can be sure he’d come back to Salt Lake City and encourage us to get the right (his) God.

In a quote I made up entirely, he would say, “Mormons don’t believe in the Trinity, in other words, the executive, judicial and legislative manifestations of God.”

Frankly, that’s what scares me about putting any God into politics. Things can get dictatorial really fast. If you don’t happen to be a follower of the preferred God, then the government eventually stops being your servant and becomes more your oppressor.

We have a name for the last time a god ran everything in government — the Dark Ages. And we have a name for it today — the Middle East.

What if we put the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl back into government? Hey, it might work. We could keep government moving by greasing the wheels with the blood of expendable people. Wouldn’t take long to empty our prisons and get rid of Social Security.

Pick any god from today or through history and it would be problematic to put Him, Her or It back into politics. How long would it take for people to object to the Hindu FDA approval of cow urine as an antibiotic?

What if there were a government mandated but religiously based dress code? And I’m not talking about Muslims. I’m talking about Mormons. Who wants to get a ticket for not wearing a suit and tie to work?

And let’s not forget the Christian charismatics. Next time you testify in court, would you like to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth while holding a rattlesnake?

Sounds preposterous and completely outside the realm of common sense, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But no more than people who currently want their god-based government to mandate the teaching of creationism as a science.

Then there are those on the left of the God in politics, who make “gods” of their own, people who believe any Muslim woman in a hijab is oppressed, or that their god doesn’t care what you do as long as you drive a Prius and go vegan.

I say we leave our gods out of politics as much as possible. Not only has the past proved they don’t work as well as we like, but we can almost certainly do just as well/poorly on our own.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley

Kirby: We need to vote God out of politics | The Salt Lake Tribune