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What happens when candidates called by God drop out?
Kelly Oxford's tweet from Wednesday.
January 5th, 2012
11:59 AM ET

What happens when candidates called by God drop out?

By Stephen Walsh, CNN

On Wednesday, blogger and sitcom writer Kelly Oxford sent a tweet about the Republican race for the presidency that got a lot of folks asking: Is this God’s idea of a joke?

Oxford, whose Twitter feed was named by TIME magazine one of the 140 best of 2011, wrote, “Cain, Perry, Bachmann all claimed God told them to run for President, and all are out of the race. God is hilarious.”

It’s been reported that Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have all suggested that God called on them to enter the presidential race.

But here we are: Cain’s out. Bachmann’s out.

After returning to Texas to “reassess” his campaign, Perry announced he’s not throwing in the towel. Judging by his poor showing in the Iowa caucuses and the debates so far, however, many political experts think it’s just a matter of time.

The only one with supposed divine guidance who’s still in the race is Santorum.

So what gives? Did the candidates misread God’s supposed message? Does the defeat of a divinely-inspired candidate necessarily contradict a message from God?

We want to hear form you. What do you think?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (1,906 Responses)
  1. AnyGod

    you people who claim to know the "word of God" are not only brainwashed, you are narcissitic as well. You think out of the billions of people living and dead that this supreme being chose you to understand the one true religion? I doubt it.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  2. Mike Dywat

    Tax the churches!

    January 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  3. Victor-RETIRED NYC Public School Teacher and USAF Veteran

    In all of these cases, certain often-quoted pearls of wisdom seem to be appopriate;

    1."Many are called, but few are chosen"
    2. "It is better to sit silently and have people think that you are stupid, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt".
    3."A fool and his money are soon parted:.
    4. "You can fool some of the people some time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time"
    5. "God has a twisted sense of humor."

    I am sure that there are more, but those phrases seem to hit the spot

    January 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  4. Paul Ronco

    Good point. I'm glad CNN has pointed out the idiocy and arrogance of these false prophets.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  5. Monica

    I hope that non-religious people can finally get over this simple fact of faith: whatever you do, you try to do in God's name. If there's a big decision to make – you pray about it. If it feels right and you feel strongly and good about it, that's God's way of guiding you. Does it mean that Perry was told by God to run because he needs to be the next President? No. Perhaps he needs to go through the process, perhaps he needs to be called out on things he did that God didn't approve – that were wrong, and now Perry has to be pay the price. Perhaps it will bring him closer to his wife – like with Obamas, they were not a close marriage prior to this. There could be many reasons why someone feels a call from God to get into something like this. Maybe God wants Perry to speak of him, to draw attention to spirituality that America is slowly abandoning. Or maybe Perry will indeed be a president one day. There could be many reasons. That's what we believe in, that's what religion is. I don't expect people to believe it if they don't – but please, at least try to read about it before you say "God is hilarious" (he is but for other reasons:) because that just shows that she's ignorant about religious faith. It's like talking about particle travel without knowing anything about quantum physics – only religious faith is not nearly as complicated, understanding prayer is not that complicated. Learning – even about things you don't believe – won't kill you. Promise.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • lisa

      Very nicely stated. Thank you.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • derp

      I hope that non-religious people can finally get over this simple fact of faith: whatever you do, you try to do in Bigfoot's name. If there's a big decision to make – you talk in your own head to Bigfoot about it. If it feels right and you feel strongly and good about it, that's Bigfoot's way of guiding you. Does it mean that Perry was told by Bigfoot to run because he needs to be the next President? No. Perhaps he needs to go through the process, perhaps he needs to be called out on things he did that Bigfoot didn't approve – that were wrong, and now Perry has to be pay the price. Perhaps it will bring him closer to his wife – like with Obamas, they were not a close marriage prior to this. There could be many reasons why someone feels a call from Bigfoot to get into something like this. Maybe Bigfoot wants Perry to speak of him, to draw attention to spirituality that America is slowly abandoning. Or maybe Perry will indeed be a president one day. There could be many reasons. That's what we believe in, that's what religion is. I don't expect people to believe it if they don't – but please, at least try to read about it before you say "Bigfoot is hilarious" (he is but for other reasons:) because that just shows that she's ignorant about religious faith. It's like talking about particle travel without knowing anything about quantum physics – only religious faith is not nearly as complicated, understanding talking in your own head to Bigfoot is not that complicated. Learning – even about things you don't believe – won't kill you. Promise.

      Makes just as much sense

      January 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • mandarax

      Sounds to me like a magical rationalization to go ahead and do something as long "it feels right and you feel strongly and good about it." Also sounds to me like avoiding the responsibility for having made the decision yourself.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Steve

      thanks for a thoughtful reply - discerning God's will is a daily call-challenge. sometimes it is only when we look back that we can see how God's hand/voice was guiding us.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • JN

      And how do you know the Obamas were not a close marriage before he became president? Please give us the source of your insightful information.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Monica

      Barack Obama spoke in his books about problems in his marriage. Even in public appearances, if you compare and paid attention in the past, they look much closer now, in the past Michelle didn't even show up, she felt he was abandoning his family which he admitted to doing. So don't wet your knickers, it wasn't meant as a dis.. He isn't perfect, and doesn't have to be! It was big of him to write about it.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  6. Rich

    Oh, the fun here! You all made my day, I promise. Now, on to textural analysis. Since the "bible" has been re-translated and re-formatted numerous times throughout written history–let's not get into Samaria or cuneiforms–and each time by a person in charge of either the government (kings and such) or a church (Martin Luther, etc.), and is recently being re-translated from at least three languages, one of which is no longer spoken or used (see The Dead Sea Scrolls), I always want to ask the bible team which VERSION of that book they like the best and why? If you move a comma or something, you get an entirely different meaning from a sentence here and there that completely changes the "message" from "god" that you believe in. So, has "god" set this up so that confusion reigns? Where do we get Baptists, Episcopalians, Catholics, etc., etc., etc. from if "god" has spoken the one and final "true words" even if they were, inconveniently, not in 2012 American English? Just askin'...

    January 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Chuckles

      For instance

      I helped my uncle Jack off a horse

      compared with

      I helped my uncle jack off a horse

      Punctuation is important.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • JN

      I think you meant: I helped my uncle jack off a horse. As compared to: I helped my Uncle Jack, off a horse.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Monica

      You know nothing about the Bible, obviously, so it's hard to talk to someone like you about something as complex. Bible is not a book – it's a collection of historical manuscripts, just like any other manuscripts that are 2000 years + old anyone can believe them or not. Some of them, most of them, we have for this day. Some are as old as 150 BCE. Most of Old Testament was passed down orally – of course, but when Jesus came he confirmed it (except for some details, such as issue of divorce) so to those of us who are Christian that's all that is needed. They were written in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. You don't have read the Bible that has been translated time and time again – you can translate originals. The reason why you have different versions of the Bible is because linguistic historians try to make it easier for us to understand old language and how it was used. However, there are exact translations so knock yourself out. The notion that the Bible was translated by Kings and religious leaders is.... well ....funny – people have had access to these writings for always, there was never a situation when some King locked up all the manuscripts and he was the only one who could tell people what they say or changed it and re-wrote it. Anyway, there is not enough time or room to explain the history of the Bible, but there are books and films -highly recommend them.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  7. TROY in UTAH

    Maybe God wanted them to learn a lesson in humility.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • David, CA

      That's giving these mentally impaired twits entirely too much credit. They'll just blame it on liberals, the media, the devil, anyone but their own shortcomings- and man are they shortcomings!!!!!

      January 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  8. JiminTX

    The belief in an Invisible Sky Friend who Grants Wishes is inconsistent with mental health. Normally, if one goes around saying my invisible friend told me to do this or that, you'd be locked up. But when a religious zealot says that they are elevated to presidential candidate. Scary.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • batteryinme

      rAmen!

      January 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • ETM

      Yup. Everyone stops believing in the Easter bunny and Santa Claus but not in the magical old man in the sky.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Paul Ronco

      I'm listening to an invisible Sky Friend right now... the radio. Oh wait... there was a time when someone thought that was insane and incompatible with mental health, too.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • lisa

      God doesn't grant wishes. Why do some non-believers, like yourself, feel the need to name call and be hostile? Almost seems like you're afraid you might be wrong 🙂

      January 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • David, CA

      lisa- Tebow thanks God for touchdowns (answers to his prayers or wishes), these politicians have claimed that God told them they would be president (WISHfull thinking on their part) Sorry you haven't been paying attention.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Monica

      So doesn't that make you pause for a minute? That for thousands of years people believe in this one thing, they abandoned all else – Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, pagan believes – but not God. We're talking at this point about billions of people, throughout centuries, by far a huge majority of living people today believe in this one thing, the greatest minds of all time like Einstein – and it doesn't make you wonder that maybe – just maybe – they're onto something here?

      January 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  9. kaeffie

    It means that God is a Democrat. He called them all to help Obama win!

    January 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Dualities

      Apparently, He (God) speaks to the wingnuts on the extreme Right but at the same time answers the prayers of the rest of us in the oh-so-boring-reality-clinging Center....

      January 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  10. Emilio

    Apparently the Republican slate of candidates are delusional, at best, and quite possibly psychotic. No, really, I think the whole lot of them are totally sane, cynical, power-hungry, money-motivated, creeps. And not just the Republicans, my remarks apply equally well to the obsequious Democrats who are always ready to fall into line for their paymasters then claim that they had no choice. Yes, the two heads of the two-headed Establishment snake think they have all of us fooled.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Monica

      Shouldn't you be occupying something right now?

      January 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • KC

      Hear! Hear! Let my cynicism show, but there is no such thing as an honest politician. They say whatever it takes to get elected and then do as they damn well please. And as to all the promises that the presidential hopefuls make.... they are not King, Emperor, Dictator or God. They can't do jack on their own as can easily be seen by how much of the big stuff Obama has been able to get done with a congress full of Republicans that see their entire job as stonewalling him at every turn. Even things that were originally Republican ideas they shoot down because Obama wants to pass it.

      January 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  11. Jimmy

    The people that actually believed these candidates would fit in perfectly in Iran or North Korea.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  12. ETM

    “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” Pascal

    January 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Chad

      "Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is." – Pascal

      January 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  13. Jake

    Everyone who says God told them to do something hasn't lasted. Just ask Bin Laden.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Paul Ronco

      Joan of Arc disagrees

      January 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  14. Duane

    Imaginary friends usually tell people what they what to hear

    January 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • JiminTX

      Ya. The only difference between the Son of Sam and Bachmann, Perry, and Cain is wealth.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  15. Stephen K

    God told them to run because God hates the Republican party and all it stands for these days, clearly.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  16. jobeycarl

    Ms. Smithe, Thank you for the authors name. I did not know who said or wrote it; I just have a lot of humor quotes like that over my desk.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  17. FrankC

    John the Baptist was called by God to declare the coming of the Lord Jesus. Many repented of their sins based on his message of righteousness and were made ready for belief in Christ. Shortly after that, John was imprisoned and subsequently beheaded. During his imprisonment, many (including John himself) wondered if God's message to him had been genuine. Jesus went on to die for our sins and rise from the dead proving himself to be God. He still stands as the central figure in all of human history and is rightly worshipped by 100's of millions of people worldwide. God's callings and purposes are often only fully realized in retrospect. Kudos to Cain, Perry, and Bachmann for heeding God's call as leaders and for risking the beheading they're now receiving by an arrogant blogger like Oxford and her rowdy followers.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Calvin

      Amen. Thanks!

      January 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • ETM

      Sorry, most of what you wrote is mythology. Try to get back to reality.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Joe

      Comparing Cain, Perry and Bachmann to John the Baptist? Now that is just too funny! Thanks for the humorous post.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • JiminTX

      Right out of God's Big Book of Lies and Fairy Tales. There is no difference between the Grimm Brothers and the authors of the Gospels.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Antonio666

      FrankC, you need a really, really big reality check. These people are the complete opposite of what Jesus preached and stood for. How about reading your New testament for a while.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • PeegLateen

      Ohnjay ethay aptistbay asway alledcay byay odgay otay eclareday ethay omingcay ofway ethay ordlay esusjay. Anymay epentedray ofway eirthay inssay asedbay onway ishay essagemay ofway ighteousnessray andway ereway ademay eadyray orfay eliefbay inway istchray. Ortlyshay afterway atthay, ohnjay asway imprisonedway andway ubsequentlysay eheadedbay. Uringday ishay imprisonmentway, anymay including(ay ohnjay imself)hay onderedway ifway od'sgay essagemay otay imhay adhay eenbay enuinegay. Esusjay entway onway otay ieday orfay ourway inssay andway iseray omfray ethay eadday ovingpray imselfhay otay ebay odgay. Ehay illstay andsstay asway ethay entralcay igurefay inway
      Jaweh said unto his minions,
      allway ofway umanhay istoryhay andway isway ightlyray orshippedway byay 100'say ofway illionsmay ofway eoplepay orldwideway. Od'sgay allingscay andway urposespay areway oftenway onlyway ullyfay ealizedray inway etrospectray. Udoskay otay aincay, errypay, andway achmannbay orfay eedinghay od'sgay allcay asway eaderslay andway orfay iskingray ethay eheadingbay ey'rethay ownay eceivingray byay anway arrogantway oggerblay ikelay oxfordway andway erhay owdyray ollowersfay.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      I'm just sad the beheadings didn't come much sooner.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • PeegLateen

      aaaaOhnjay ethay aptistbay asway alledcay byay odgay otay eclareday ethay omingcay ofway ethay ordlay esusjay. Anymay epentedray ofway eirthay inssay asedbay onway ishay essagemay ofway ighteousnessray andway ereway ademay eadyray orfay eliefbay inway istchray. Ortlyshay afterway atthay, ohnjay asway imprisonedway andway ubsequentlysay eheadedbay. Uringday ishay imprisonmentway, anymay including(ay ohnjay imself)hay onderedway ifway od'sgay essagemay otay imhay adhay eenbay enuinegay. Esusjay entway onway otay ieday orfay ourway inssay andway iseray omfray ethay eadday ovingpray imselfhay otay ebay odgay. Ehay illstay andsstay asway ethay entralcay igurefay inway
      Jaweh said unto his minions,
      allway ofway umanhay istoryhay andway isway ightlyray orshippedway byay 100'say ofway illionsmay ofway eoplepay orldwideway. Od'sgay allingscay andway urposespay areway oftenway onlyway ullyfay ealizedray inway etrospectray. Udoskay otay aincay, errypay, andway achmannbay orfay eedinghay od'sgay allcay asway eaderslay andway orfay iskingray ethay eheadingbay ey'rethay ownay eceivingray byay anway arrogantway oggerblay ikelay oxfordway andway erhay owdyray ollowersfay.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • JN

      None of what you write proves that God called John the Baptist, Cain, Perry, or Bachman.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • notogop

      Seems to me that if God were going to call someone to run for president, it wouldn't be a teaspublican who stands for so many things his Son preached against. Remember the money changers that got thrown out of the temple, helping the poor, the rich man going through the eye of the needle thing, etc.? So many Christians use only those parts of the Bible that suit their purposes.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • derp

      Santa Claus was called by Bigfoot to declare the coming of the leprechauns. Many repented of their sins based on his message of righteousness and were made ready for belief in Leprechauns. Shortly after that, satna Claus was imprisoned and subsequently beheaded. During his imprisonment, many (including Santa himself) wondered if Bigfoot's message to him had been genuine. Unicorns went on to die for our sins and rise from the dead proving himself to be Bigfoot. He still stands as the central figure in all of human history and is rightly worshipped by 100's of millions of people worldwide. Bigfoot's callings and purposes are often only fully realized in retrospect. Kudos to Cain, Perry, and Bachmann for heeding Bigfoot's call as leaders and for risking the beheading they're now receiving by an arrogant blogger like Oxford and her rowdy followers.

      Makes just as much sense

      January 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Emilio

      A myth is a myth is a myth, especially when it purports to be the word of God. Who has ever heard or seen God and live to relate the event? The Bible, as we know it, is a contrivance devised as a weapon with which to keep the servile authoritarians within our midst firmly and obediently in line whilst they're being fleeced by their unscrupulous "witch-doctors."

      January 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • KC

      Dude! If JtB had made the same kind of stupid, asinine comments and answers to questions that all of the current crop of Rep candidates did I doubt he would have had to worry about Harrod. The fact that JtB was not an idiot, but a charismatic and dedicated man is what got him noticed. These blockheads have brought themselves down by their own tongues and actions. They are uneducated, ignorant, sefl-righteous and hypocritical. The first lesson they ALL have to learn is people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones....

      January 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  18. ReligionPoisonsEverything

    Yeah, God cares more about elections and who wins football games than about kids who at this moment are dying of cancer.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  19. Scott

    When did God become a political activist endorsing candidates? Regardless, of those candidates endorsed by God, to run for the Republican Nomination, 2 have dropped. Did God instruct them to do so? Will these candidates now suffer the fury of God for having dropped from the race?

    January 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • JN

      I am pretty convinced a poor showing in the voting convinced them to drop out, not God.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  20. Scott

    Obviously, in 2012 this crowd uses their supposed connection to God like backwoods preachers from days gone by. Charlatans, them all. Just shameful that they use religion to serve their own ego and career agenda.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • ETM

      The real shame is that so many people still believe in these backwoods hucksters.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      One of these days, one of these guys will come along and be just smart enough to hide their crazy from the public right up until they get into office.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
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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.