Despite his oh so obvious liberal leanings, Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman is a regular read for me. I would even go so far as to say I have enjoyed some of his musings. Unfortunately, his worthwhile efforts are all too often overshadowed by his condescension, belligerence and flat out ignorance.
Mr. Coleman manages to indulge in all three characteristics with his latest offering.
Weirdest. Election. Ever.
And there are still three weeks of campaigning to go.
More evidence that the country is off its rocker comes with news that a Twin Cities pastor named Mac Hammond has endorsed congressional candidate Michele Bachmann from the same TV stage he uses to promise salvation to the faithful and worldly riches, too.
First offering from Nick: Condescension.
As if there is something wrong with worldly riches.
Jesus himself said in John 10:9-10 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Hammond calls himself a businessman and presides over the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park. I haven't heard him preach, but I know people who love his upbeat Bible-based message that the Lord wants us all to be "winners" and that he will help us find earthly success while we await our heavenly reward.
Hammond calls his program "The Winner's Way" (poor people, I'm afraid, are not just losers, but sinners, too).
Now Mr. Coleman throws in a small dash of belligerence.
Genesis 1:26-27 says “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
I would venture a guess that the Almighty hardly considers Himself a loser. Therefore, all humans (rich or poor) would definitely be considered winners all around. When God gives of his only son so that we may not perish but have eternal life, it appears we’ve already won. It’s now our choice whether or not we live in the abundance He desires us to have.
(Hammond) also sells books and videos about the Rapture and the soon-to-come end of the world. Bottom line: We better hurry up and find worldly success, because time is running out. For all of us. Including Michele Bachmann.
Uh, define worldly success there, Nick. Bachmann had a prestigious career as a tax litigation attorney and her husband has been quite successful in his own independent business. By the world’s standards, they epitomize success. In your view, I suppose a position of power (i.e. member of Congress) is merely another way to augment her worldly success. Yeah, I guess it’s totally out of the realm of possibility that Bachmann is running for Congress to … oh, I don’t know….faithfully and passionately serve the people in the 6th CD.
Time may be really short for Bachmann: There are just 20 days to the election, and polls show the conservative Republican falling behind Patty Wetterling, a DFLer, in the race for the Sixth Congressional District seat.
You mean that poll in your newspaper? Yeah, that’s credible.
I'll miss her.
Bachmann is rich material, and is known for her controversial stance on outlawing gay marriage and her role in organizing pray-ins at the State Capitol. She once held hands in a prayer circle around the desk of an openly gay state senator. She was also caught spying on a Capitol gay rights rally while squatting behind a bush.
Maybe the bush spoke.
Well, if you can determine that is Michele Bachmann in that photo of the aforementioned “gay rights rally” then you should be able to read the license plate number on that gray pick-up near said bush.
Bachmann gave Christian "testimonies" at services in Hammond's church last weekend, discussing her faith and revealing that Jesus "called" her to run for Congress. This falls into the category of personal belief and merits no comment, or judgment, from anyone else, least of all me. Everyone has their beliefs. But here's where it gets troublesome:
Rev. Hammond, urging his flock to vote (registration materials were on hand in the lobby), strongly endorsed Bachmann's candidacy, saying he intended to vote for her. He says he was only expressing his personal opinion, but to do so in church may have been a violation of IRS rules against churches making political endorsements (a complaint has been filed with the IRS).
Bachmann is running for Congress, the legislative branch of government. This is a position designed to make laws. Romans 13:1 says “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
You said it yourself, Nick. Everyone has their beliefs. Wouldn’t it behoove Rev. Hammond to support a candidate who he believes would operate under the purview of God’s authority?
Besides, I don't recall a complaint being filed after a certain Democratic candidate for President spoke at a Baptist church in October 2004. In fact, Rev. Gaston E. Smith of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Miami endorsed Kerry, saying, "To bring our country out of despair, despondency and disgust, God has a John Kerry."
Here's what I think: 1) If Rev. Mac says Bachmann is part of the Winner's Way, and, 2) She says the Lord has called her to Congress, and, 3) I hope to find success in this life before the Rapture comes, well, then, 4) I better not take any chances.
I have begun to think the end really is near, by the way. And not just the end of the election. Something is up. For one thing, the battle over whether it would be wise to preserve the separation of church and state is over. The church won.
Bachmann's supporters sometimes literally have thumped Bibles on the heads of secular citizens inside the Capitol. (Such an indignity was visited in 2004 on Sue Rockne, the well-known women's rights activist, who died last year.) And Bachmann has been among the leaders of the religious right in her party who have tried for years to break down the church-and-state barrier. Their campaign has been so successful that maybe Rev. Hammond thought the battle was over.
"I don't want any more letters about 'Church and politics don't mix,' " Hammond scolded his congregation after Bachmann spoke, almost daring anyone to object. "If [a belief in separation of church and state] is your opinion, then you need to get saved."
There you have it.
If you are a believer in separation of church and state, you will find yourself in the burning pit. Pretty simple.
Ah, the favorite liberal myth: Separation of church and state, something they believe is in the Constitution. With that, Coleman has completed the trifecta with his ignorance.
What the Constitution in fact says is that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Churches cannot mandate the way members of a congregation will vote. And that is certainly not what Rev. Hammond was advocating. At the same time, the vast majority of Christians believe strongly in the sanctity of life. I am quite certain they would appreciate in knowing the caliber of people they are sending to Washington to make laws.
Oh, and the religion has already been established at Living Word: It’s called “Christianity.” And the government had nothing to do with that establishment.
A lot of us need saving, then. And we better get at it, because the end is near. The election is Nov. 7, and not everyone will wake up the next day on "Winner's Way."
Some will wake up losers.
I hate to break it to you, Nick. My salvation is not predicated on who wins elections.