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God And The GOP Platform

David Noon reviewed Republican Party platforms going all the way back to the GOP’s founding in 1856, and came up with this graph:

One wonders how the Republican Party survived for so long with so few reference to God or other related deities.

Andrew Sullivan comments:

 That’s also a superb graph revealing just how new the God fixation is in American politics. Of course there was always constant, rote invocation of the Almighty in decades passed – but the neurotic quality of rigid, truth-denying fundamentalism is waxing particularly strongly right now, and not just in Christianity. Head to the West Bank settlements or Timbuktu. It’s real and it’s in America too.

It is, perhaps, a little silly to judge such things by word counts in a party platform, but I’d suggest that this is a fairly good reflection of the zeitgeist of the party as a whole, and of American politics. Religion has become far more politicized than it has been in the past, and it seems to have taken particular hold in the Republican Party.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    This is why I have the following suggested platform language for next year’s Democratic platform committee:

    God x Infinity.

    Let’s see the Republicans beat that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  2. C. Clavin says:

    “…Religion has become far more politicized than it has been in the past, and it seems to have taken particular hold in the Republican Party…”

    No…the Republican Party has become a religion unto itself…full of theology and ideology and catechisms and dogma and doctrine.
    Killer graph though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  3. al-Ameda says:

    And of course, the somewhat discredited and out-of-favor Catholic Church has decided to throw its lot in with the Republican Party too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  4. PD Shaw says:

    God is in the 1860 Republican platform (“Creator”).

    What Sullivan doesn’t know about U.S. history could fill several history books.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  5. This was a specific word search for one word. And Sullivan didn’t do it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  6. CSK says:

    I think there’s a very strong relationship between the very steep rise in Republican religiosity in 2008 and the concurrent rise of Sarah Palin. She gave a voice and a face to the God-fixated, who realized then that they had a certain amount of power to wield and did so–by threatening not to vote for any candidate who didn’t kowtow to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. PD Shaw says:

    @Doug, I understand the lmitations of the word search, but its Sullivan who derives a conclusion about the arch of American history from that one word. Sullivan’s chief tallent is an outsider observor of America, but he is not well versed in its history, from this and other posts. Do English school boys read Lincoln’s Second Inaugral?

    Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.

    I don’t disagree that the focus on the number of references to “God” in a platform isn’t entirely petty and silly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Rafer Janders says:

    And yet there are zero references to the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the GOP platform. As a Pastafarian, I can’t help but conclude that Republicans don’t represent me.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  9. Bleev K says:

    The graph with republican stupidity would probably be the exact same one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  10. C. Clavin says:

    @ Rafer…
    Was the Spaghetti Monster the Intelligent Designer I keep hearing about???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  11. C. Clavin says:

    I think that graph shold go “all the way to 11…one louder” if you know what I mean.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. Rafer Janders says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Pastafarians don’t claim that the Flying Spaghetti Monster (blessed be his meatballs) is an Intelligent Designer. Merely a Semi-Competent Designer. Rather like John Galliano.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  13. Ernieyeball says:

    This graph demonstrates that the Republican Platform is about as reliable as the Mayan Calendar for divining the future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  14. Ernieyeball says:

    @Rafer Janders: Do the Pastafarians accept converts?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. mantis says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    Do the Pastafarians accept converts?

    Of course! All who are touched by His Noodly Appendage are welcome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. Ernieyeball says:

    @mantis: I’m askin’ for someone else…don’t want no “noodly apendages” touchin’ me!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I want a platform that contains the line, “Don’t you know there ain’t no Devil, that’s just God when He’s drunk.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  18. @Rafer Janders:

    Flying Spaghetti Monster (blessed be his meatballs)

    I belive the preferred appellation for the FSM is “(Pizza be upon him)”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. Tony W says:

    @Ernieyeball: That’s because you haven’t yet heard about the stripper factories and beer volcanos

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. swbarnes2 says:

    Doug, the Republican platform committee chair is your pal, Bob McDonnell, and you voted for him with no regrets. The platform is what it is because you vote people who think like that into political power.

    You don’t have to do that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  21. Ernieyeball says:

    @Tony W: Yeah right! I’m sure they all look like this too!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Armitage_Siren.JPG

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. al-Ameda says:

    Just back from running some errands and listened to Michael Savage on the radio.

    He’s saying that the “God” omission by Democrats is going to swing the election to Romney-Ryan, that this denial of God is the tipping point. It’s also worth noting that Savage lives in Southern Marin County, also known to conservatives as the Peoples Republic of Marin.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  23. Dave says:

    The insertion of God into the platform is an obvious retaliation to multiculturalism and the growing rights of minorities in this country. At least in the 19th century when WASP’s attacked catholics they were both white. The country has gone from being extremely anti-catholic to now accepting them. What is now unacceptable to the GOP is the growing number of non-christians who are as they say a “threat to the American way of life.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. Rafer Janders says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I belive the preferred appellation for the FSM is “(Pizza be upon him)”

    Many are the paths to our Lord.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  25. LC says:

    Re the FSM, I must decline any invitation to join. As a vegan, both the pizza (cheese) and the meatballs (obivously) present insurmountable barriers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. Richard Gardner says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Toy Story: “To infinity, and Beeeeyonddddd”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. JohnMcC says:

    @PD Shaw: “God is in the 1860 Republican platform (‘Creator’)”….. So Mr Shaw, you think that a reference to the “Creator” in a document from a previous century is pretty much identical to the use of the word “God” by a modern evangelical.

    What P.D. Shaw doesn’t know about American history would fill far more volumes than what Mr Sullivan doesn’t know about American history. (Hint: PhD from Oxford…)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. grumpy realist says:

    Go read anything from the 1890s–similar swaggering religosity. Thomas Beer has a great description in his book The Mauve Decade: “[Politicians] invoked Christ with the freedom of medieval kings in a brawl over the border.”

    references of “God” in speaches by politicians make me nervous. It’s far too easy to use God as a justification for anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. Rafer Janders says:

    @LC:

    Re the FSM, I must decline any invitation to join. As a vegan, both the pizza (cheese) and the meatballs (obivously) present insurmountable barriers.

    Well, do what you want. There is no compulsion in Pastafarianism. Don’t blame me, however, if after you die you find yourself boiling in a sea of molten puttanesca sauce for all eternity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. The Q says:

    Here in Beverly Hills, we call all the lazy, indolent trust fund baby boomers, the “trustafarians”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Ernieyeball says:

    @The Q: What does it take to join the trustafarians? After 50 years of working I ‘m more than ready for some lazy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. Michael Merritt says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Sounds like a schism is a-brewing!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. de stijl says:

    One wonders how the Republican Party survived for so long with so few reference to God or other related deities.

    Sinclair Lewis was a prophet, but he didn’t give a timeline.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1