Religious leaders pushing for Bush with all their might have a vested interest. It’s about power and it’s about money, not so much about God or right and wrong answers.
The power thing is pretty simple. Religious leaders like to win. Being a minister is supposed to be about service, but often it’s more about power. People who go into the ministry are often power hungry people. They want to tell others what to do, how to do it, and are happy to manage the lives of others. They like claiming God as backup to their demands, harangues, and edicts. Sometimes they forget they aren’t God themselves.
So, they love it when they have enough leverage to elect a President, or make him/her do their bidding. George Bush trades on the knowledge of what makes the ministerial pressurizers tick. He gives them what they want, and they give him what he wants: votes.
To do this, they have to create urgency and fear among their adherents and congregations. They have to have an alarm bell ringing issue on a regular basis.
A friend of mine, who was co-author of a university textbook on marketing and taught marketing at a well known Evangelical graduate school told me that he knew exactly how to create a lucrative broadcast ministry. He said that they had researched it thoroughly and had it down to a science, that they could take anyone and make them a “ministry” success in a few months.
One of the essentials, he said, for a successful broadcast ministry (successful meaning bringing in lots of money) was the absolute necessity of having at least two emergencies per year. That is, the ministry had to have an alarming situation that needed action (including a cash contribution) from viewers every six months. If a real need wasn’t available, one had to be manufactured.
If you observe these broadcast ministries for awhile, and it won’t take long, you’ll notice that almost all of them play the game this way. They are in financial trouble and might lose their license if the viewers don’t come up with the money, or their transmitter blew over in a storm, or the Devil is after them and people are accusing them of wrongdoing, or some other emergency. And, of course, they are going to need buckets full of money to remedy it.
Conveniently, political action is always there as a possible substitute for a real need. And that is where George Bush comes in. He undoubtedly knows how the ministries operate. If they haven’t told him, he or someone working for him has figured it out. Partnership with politicians is a ready and fertile field of opportunity for the broadcasters to satisfy their ever expanding desires for cash, and for the politician who knows the game to get votes.
It works this way: The broadcaster uses a news story or “investigative report” to rile the troops by making dire predictions of societal or religious disaster if certain actions are not taken. For example, if homosexuals want equal human rights, this is fodder for insisting that the destruction of the family is imminent. Save the family! is the cry, and to do that the cash must come in to support the effort, and a letter writing campaign to the appropriate politicians is launched. The letters are to prove to the politician that the broadcaster has clout and had better be consulted and catered to. The cash is so the broadcaster will have more money.
The more letters that come in, the more the politicians give at least lip service to whatever cause the broadcaster is pushing. And when voting time comes around, there’s a partnership between the politician and the broadcaster. The broadcasters are consulted and included in meetings, not because they have wise counsel, but because the politicians are afraid not to include them.
The broadcaster who has been admitted into the inner circle of the politician then defends the candidate against all critics. As in, Pat Robertson saying that even though Bush has made mistakes, he’s sure he will win, in fact God told Robertson that he would. And the reason is that God’s blessing is upon him, whatever that means, because Bush is a praying man.
Of course, we don’t know whether Kerry is an even more fervent and frequent praying man, because he, perhaps heeding the biblical instruction to pray in secret and not noise it about that one has been doing it, doesn’t tell us about all his praying.