October 18th, 2011
10:29 AM ET

Opinion: Who does God want in the White House?

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named Journalist of the Year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. 

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor

Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) - Vote for me or burn in hell.

I can't imagine someone running for office saying that.

And yet four candidates - Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum - have said they had a sense that God was leading them to run. How far can we be from "vote for me or burn in hell" when it seems we're already comfortable with "vote for me, I've been called by God"?

Read LZ Granderson's commentary
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Herman Cain • Michele Bachmann • Opinion • Politics • Rick Perry • Rick Santorum

soundoff (386 Responses)
  1. Monica

    God is an observer of the politics of today but not a participant. Why participate in the very government he seeks to eventually eliminate? Daniel 2:44 says, “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom (government) that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite; ".

    October 22, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • Mirosal

      Don't sweat it to much. There is NO "watcher" or "observer". In this 28 billion (so far) light-year across universe, do you REALLY think there's an invisible sky-fairy looking at THIS planet? Just think of the numbers involved here. billions of galaxies, untold trillions of stars, we've already found over 200 planets orbiting neighboring stars just in OUR little corner of THIS galaxy, and you think there are eyes on our little rock floating in space? Get real, and get a life. You need to realize that actual history has proven that the religions of yesterday are today's mythology, and come tomorrow, today will be yesterday. Just ask Zeus lol

      October 22, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      600 se'xtillion stars

      October 24, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  2. smukers

    People everywhere can let their imaginations run rampant, so long as it does not harm others. However, radical politicians are special cases. The entire country may be in jeopardy, especially when someone like Geroge Bush said, "a higher power told me to invade Iraq".

    October 22, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  3. Rick

    So what? Its just their belief.

    October 21, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  4. Pravda

    We are a Christian nation, and the majority of Americans want a godly leader. I can't even fathom someone who has chosen the gay lifestyle and openly proclaiming it would have a chance at running this nation.

    October 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • tallulah13

      While there are many christians in America, we have a secular government. Religion and government are deliberately separated, in order to protect all beliefs. One would hope that the majority of Americans respect that fact, and elect someone who is competent as a leader and has realistic ideas and plans for revitalizing our economy. That's what we need, not some posturing fool who uses the blind religion of the naive as a way to gain power.

      The only reason why a gay or lesbian individual cannot be elected is the bigotry of that same blind religion. Se.xual orientation has nothing to do with competence or integrity.

      October 22, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  5. lastofall

    He wants as He did in king Saul, that once a person receives their office, they would choose righteousness over sin, and abide with Him. As therefore with king Saul, so also with every one in the kings office, God gives the office, but that person must either continue with God in righteousness, or else reject and turn away from God and follow sin; and there is no in between or third option, not with God.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Therefore, no person who holds his/her religion over the needs of this country should run for President. We need competent leaders for all Americans, not just the ones of a certain religion. A person who can't serve the Const.itution above all else is not worthy of the office.

      October 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  6. Jill

    I grew up in a United Church of Christ church which, despite its conservative-sounding name, is the most liberal of Christian denominations, having made ordaining gays official policy in the mid-1980's. I am dismayed that Biblical literalists have hijacked the word "Christian" so it now seems to apply only to their narrow definition. The media have made this situation worse by almost always interviewing only literalists on TV; Where are Marcus Boyd, John Shelby Spong, Dominic Crossan, and other theologians who accept science, women's full personhood, and can INTERPRET the Bible AND put it in its proper historical perspective? Just as only a puny minority of Muslims are terrorists, only a minority, about 20%, I think, of Christians are rigid literalists. There are enough different views about God among Christians that assuming that if they say they believe in God or have faith they must be foaming at the mouth fundies is a disservice to the many Christians who can accept that if they have 90 + % of the same DNA as a chimp that, oh, gee, maybe we are related. Politicians can believe in God, but voters might want to know if the God they believe in is a mean old Man in the Sky with a long beard and a perpetual, judgmental frown, or if He/She/It is a more subtle, unconditionally loving Presence–maybe one who is even in line with modern physics as well as modern biology and geology.

    October 21, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • keph

      Lots of confusion seemingly originating from a total lack of certainty about what we know, or what we perceive the world should know. However there is no way around knowing the truth but through having a real relationship with the Truth himself, i.e. the man Jesus Christ. You might be surprised how different His truth is from our truth..."those who know him will never be ashamed" Rom 9:33.
      If you are coming to live in the US, you need to make sure you know the US laws and apply them the way the US, not you, understands it...there is no way around it, no gray areas...
      We should make sure we are not trying to make the bible say what we want it to say, but we should ask God to help us get rid of our own agenda and fill us with His Truth as we are reading the bible. Be ready to let go of yourself when you read, for Heaven and Hell are real places and we should not play dice with the fate of our souls.
      Heavenly Father, let the readers of this message be enlightened by the wisdom and love of your Word coming from You. I pray that if they haven't had a direct and real relationship with your Son Jesus Christ, that you may draw them to Him. Lord Jesus, if any of the readers are willing to let go of themselves, to let go of any sinful life or activity, i pray that you accept their repentance as they talk directly to you, that you wash them in your blood, the blood of Golgotha, and that you make them children of God. Lead them to people that really know you and will care for them. In Jesus name i prayed. Amen.

      October 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  7. Guest

    'god' wants to stay OUT of the white house

    October 21, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  8. goptan

    Whether or not you live a moral life, our accepted social constraints were founded on Biblical principle!

    October 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Which were based on non-religious principles that pre-date The Babble...

      October 20, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Doh Me Noose Vo Bis Koom

      Which were founded on other principles extant at the time "some" of the books of your bible were written, and, even though there are MANY contradictions in the bible. The bible was NOT the originator of morality or law.

      October 24, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  9. goptan

    “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” –John F. Kennedy
    I find it overwhelmingly ignorant that so many preach acceptance and tolerance of all… EXCEPT for the God-fearing Christians! What is it about Christianity that threatens everyone so much? You know, I don’t spend my time writing articles or trying to disprove alien existence. So, what about the candidates’ proclamation bothers you? If they believe in God I would expect that the fruit of their faith would be evident in their personal lives and in front of a podium. I would be more frightened of the one that professes faith in their personal lives but not in their public life. The media would be quick to cry out hypocrisy!

    October 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      goptan..personally it is all religions that I fear. Christians, more than others think they are victimized but that is part of the mindset and is not true..When believers, of all faiths, tell us that gods law is above that of man how can that make for a stable society? Hearing "god" in your head is bad enough... how many kids have died because god told mum or dad their children were "devils" Do we need a deluded leader who would be just as empowered to do crazy for god? Religion empowers those who are weak minded to act on delusions... that is why Atheists are speaking up.. the power to do instant crazy.. as Muslims like to prove, is very real. As most religions, including Christianity glorify death and some of its adherents racing to get there, it is essential we take a stand.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:55 am |
  10. jason

    So what does a sodomite know of the Lord? They have no sound reasoning or judgment and as such have nothing worthwhile in this matter to say. And Mr LZ Granderson is certainly no exception.

    October 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Of course, you have no proof of your god, or any god, so you simply sound like an ignorant buffoon. It must be tough, being afraid of things you don't understand.

      October 21, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Keith

      what makes you think jason is afraid? He probably has the "peace that surpasses all understanding". You, on the other hand, may just be the ignorant bafoon. Like a man standing on the beach saying, "I don't believe in Tsunami's", while one is bearing down on you. But, like I told you before, even if God set foot on the 50-yard line of Giants Stadium, you still wouldn't believe. Your mind is reprobate. In your case, ignorance is bliss.

      October 21, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • Doh Me Noose Vo Bis Koom

      Sodomy is practiced as much by straight people, as by gay people. Grow up.

      October 24, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  11. TimesRchanging

    Granderson, would you rather have candidates say "Vote for me, I am gay?" You know you would if they claimed that.
    The mass majority of Americans want a godly leader, not a fruit loop.

    October 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Can someone be Gay or Lesbian and be one of the Faithful or are only straight members of society able to be?

      October 21, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • tallulah13

      The majority of Americans want an honest leader, which is something the Tea Party is unable to provide.

      October 21, 2011 at 2:26 am |
  12. dont ask

    LZ you took the words right out of my mouth. It's about time someone put an article out there demonstrating how rediculous these politicians sound. I CAN'T STAND when they use God as the reason for their decisions/political campaign. Do you know what happens when you make decisions and laws based on religious beliefs? You make laws and decisions that lead to treating people like they are not human beings! And to top it off, if God is the one behind everything, the politicians never have to be held accountable for anything that goes wrong. Why? Because according to them, it's Gods will. Hense why Rick Perry has everyone in Texas wrapped around his little finger while he never has to lift one. I would LOVE to have a presidential candidate who never mentions what their religious views are....EVER. Make decisions based on what is in the best interest of everyone. That's all there is too it. No one should care about politicians personal opinions or religious views.

    October 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  13. Portland tony

    Ludicrous question to ask grown ups!

    October 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  14. Vincent Pinson

    "How far can we be from "vote for me or burn in hell" when it seems we're already comfortable with "vote for me, I've been called by God"?

    What an absurd question. This is such a common statement among Christians, that it is obvious Mr. Granderson has not spent too much time around any Christians, which makes him an odd choice to opine on religion in America. And there is no logical connection between someone saying they believe themselves led by God to pursue a certain path and delaring condemned people who vote for someone else.

    Who does God want in the White House? I can tell you that right now, He wants Barack Obama in the White House. We don't know who He wants there in Jan. 2013, though. One thing IS certain: Whoever is there is there because the Sovereign God of the Universe ordained it.

    October 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • IDK

      Hopefully who ever is in the white house in 2013 is there because we voted that person there. Not because some non-existent magic man in the sky ordained it.

      October 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • steveinmo

      @ IDK,
      I have to hope, as you say, that "some non-existent magic man in the sky" called the Lord, and named Jesus Christ, puts who He chooses in the government at all levels in the next election, and that we, his Church will be standing where we should that He might grant us that wish. I also have to hope that those of us who believe can show even in this day and age that hoping against hope is real and works, and that even you might see and know that He is real. My prayers go out for you.

      October 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Steveinmo. Do you really think that you need to have someone in the Whitehouse who would receive instructions from an alien? How do you know that a mum or dad who is told by god to kill their child because the child is "satan", is lying,,. why would you most likely consider that as demented, but some one telling you they have been instructed by god to run for office is rational? What criteria do you use to filter the "real" from bogus.. and why would evidence be required in some situations and faith in others?

      October 21, 2011 at 2:11 am |
  15. Keith

    I never thought that I would agree a cnn writer, but in my eyes the Republican party has hijacked the "church" for votes. My personal belief is that God is giving us what we want-garbage leadership from both parties. There will be no messiah president to turn this country around-we're stuck with a slow, grinding, agonizing decline in America. I'm not sure national repentance is likely. It seems the judgement phase has begun. Sad really.

    October 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • jason

      No kidding Keith. Some days I wonder if the current self-proclaimed dem messiah (mr hope & change, speaking pleasantries) is the beast himself.

      October 20, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  16. hippypoet

    the non existent god wants me in the white house...duh!

    October 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  17. Reality

    If you are an agnostic like me or an atheist, the following prayer sums it up:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    October 20, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  18. Reality

    If you are a believer in "God", some rational conclusions by a top theologian:

    As per the famous contemporary theologian, Father Edward Schillebeeckx, God is not omniscient. Please read, pause and contemplate the following:

    from his book, Church: The Human Story of God,
    Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

    "Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."

    "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices.

    Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

    For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

    October 20, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  19. jwas1914

    God and Politics
    For many years people have associated God with politics. Though our forefathers believed in God, is it practical to associate God with politics? What can we learn from our past history? Let's take a look at what the Bible teaches in respect to this. There was a time when Jesus awed a crowd of thousands by performing powerful signs and by sharing teachings of God. Well, after seeing Jesus’ miracles and his skillful leadership in managing the crowds and caring for their needs, the people conclude that Jesus would be a perfect king. (John 6:14) “Jesus, knowing they were about to come and seize him to make him king, withdrew again into the mountain all alone,” says John 6:15. Jesus’ neutrality regarding the politics of this world was well-grounded in Scriptural principles. Consider just two.

    1. “Man has dominated man to his injury.” (Ecclesiastes 8:9) This is how the Bible sums up the history of human rule and Jesus wanted no part of it.

    2. “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Do you find that statement startling? Many do. They think of sincere people who get involved in government because they want to make the world a better, safer place. Try as they might, though, even the most sincere rulers cannot overcome the influence of the one whom Jesus called “the ruler of this world.” (John 12:31; 14:30) That is why Jesus said to one worldly politician: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) Jesus was the prospective King of God’s heavenly government. Had Jesus mixed in politics, he would have sacrificed his loyalty to his Father’s government.

    The book On the Road to Civilization notes: “Early Christianity was little understood and was regarded with little favor by those who ruled the pagan world. . . . Christians refused to share certain duties of Roman citizens. . . . They would not hold political office.” Since we have learned that God and politics have nothing in common; why is it that politicians use him as a stepping tool to win the confidence of the people? It is why we must read our Bible daily to take in knowledge of Jehovah God's purpose, not man.

    October 20, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • JenM

      Very well explained, brother. So sad how Satan has masked so many and even when the answer is there...they are still blind. God and Politics do not mix and if people were to truly study the bible, they would see that Jesus himself gave the best example of this. Hopefully the well explained scriptures you quoted will make someone see that there is a religion out there guided by bible teachings that stays neutral when it comes to politics, just like Jesus did.

      October 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  20. Victor


    October 20, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • Victor

      If you ask:
      GOD then the answer probably Christians ..
      YAHWEH then the answer probably Jews ..
      BUDDHA then the answer probably Buddhis ..
      ALLAH then the answer probably ISLAM ..
      ME then the answer absolutely ME .. 😀

      October 20, 2011 at 1:11 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.