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Saturday, October 06, 2007
(8:48 PM) | Stephen:
God On The Campaign Trail

With so many candidates for President from both parties - including Lee L. Mercer, who the damn Em-Ess-Em refuses to cover - it might be hard for even dedicated political junkies to know, moment by moment, just how much each candidate is saying about God.

Well, thank somebody for Beliefnet and Time, because they've created the God-o-Meter (pronounced "gah-DOM-meter*).

With the God-o-Meter, we have a scientific tool that scientifically measures the just how much each candidate is Godding up his or her campaign. For example, Obama, Richardson, Huckabee, Romney and McCain all top the rating at 8 apiece, with Dodd and Giuliani occupying the bottom rung at 3 apiece.

There is also a handy visual which gives Beliefnet's opinion as to whether a particular candidate is a "theocrat" or a "secularist." It may look random, but it's scientific. It says so at the top of the browser!

Neil and other Edwards fans will be pleased to see that their Johnny ranks a 5 from the God-o-Meter, right in the middle between secularist and theocrat. Apparently he really is the Baby Bear of this presidential election, with everything about him neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right.

As silly as the God-o-Meter seems, it does appear to be a fairly accurate reading of just how much God extract is being used by each candidate. Further, this tool strikes me as representative of a shift in the way Goddyness is being reported this time around. In previous elections the Godicity question has always seemed to be treated as a relevant question for all Americans, and that certainly is still there. But there seems to be more coverage of how each candidate's particular application of Godissitude represents just another campaign strategy, a way to please one of the myriad special interest groups.

In that sense, I really do think that the Religious Right is changing from the arbiter of American morality and identity to a special interest group that a candidate can seek to enlist or not, with all the usual benefits and costs associated with reaching out to any particular group.

I'd be very interested in anyone's thoughts on this in the comments.

*The first syllable of which probably sounding quite like what you said upon hearing about it.

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