There was a time, not that long ago, when the president of the United States would, on occasion, lead the nation in a public prayer to—God forbid—well, God Almighty. Am I referring to Ronald Reagan? George Herbert Walker Bush? The evangelical W? No, I’m referring to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I know it sounds surreal, a progressive Democrat humbly beseeching the Lord’s favor and blessing. And not just on his knees in his private prayer closet. No, the New Deal president offered up his prayers over the nation’s radio airwaves. These were not merely obligatory unctuous, pietistic interludes embedded in a presidential address; these heart-felt supplications were full-fledged prayers that were the address.
Since then, we the people, inspired by the ACLU, have become more squeamish about such overt piety manifested by our presidents. FDR’s successors have been lucky if they can get away with a perfunctory, “God bless America”, at the end of a major speech.
But then came Barack. And everything has shifted again. Now, instead of public embarrassment over the president saying a prayer to the Lord of Hosts on the nation’s behalf, we actually are witnessing citizens praying to our president. Not for our president or with our president but to The One currently occupying the Oval Office. Yes, another video has surfaced, this one showing a group of devotees praying to Barack Hussein Obama with refrains in unison such as “Hear our cry Obama” and “Deliver us Obama”. Surely, such creepy blatant idolatry might be dismissed as silly exuberance on the part of a few nut jobs, right? But such religious devotion to Barry of Hyde Park was presaged by testimony to the Democrats’ Godhead when one intellectual, Newsweek’s editor, Evan Thomas, literally referred to our sitting president as “God”. Even the esteemed Chris Matthews, normally reserved—I wish—admitted to experiencing Pentecostal ecstasy—at least in one of his legs—when in the thrall of The One. And then there were all those school children across the fruited plains bravely singing hymns to our blessed Messiah.
Conservatives admire their presidents, especially those who adhere to conservative principles. They tend to reserve their worship for the more transcendent. (We might revisit the issue if it can be demonstrated that Barry can literally walk on water.) But, now, spiritually-vacuous secular liberals, too, are finally “getting religion”. Hallelujah! The irony is almost toxic. The words of G.K. Chesterton come to mind: “When Man stops believing in God he doesn¹t then believe in nothing, he believes [in] anything.” Or anyone—even a skinny community organizer from Chicago’s South Side, a neophyte politician with an anemic portfolio who fraternized with unsavory characters, a Senator who voted “present” when he ever bothered to show up for work, a smooth-talking pretender with zip executive experience and a laughable naïveté toward foreign affairs.
From Jesus to Barack. We’ve come a long way.