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Is Michelle Bachmann a Christian?

Is Michelle Bachmann a Christian?

Frank Bruni asks from what messiah Michelle Bachmann learned her Christianity in The New York Times:

What I find most fascinating about Michele Bachmann — and there are many, many more where she came from — is that she presents herself as a godly woman, humbly devoted to her Christian faith. I’d like to meet that god, and I’d like to understand that Christianity.

Bachmann’s concept of Christian love brims with hate, and she has a deep satchel of stones to throw. From what kind of messiah did she learn that?

It’s to wonder why we accept her descriptions of herself, and in turn describe her, as a deeply religious woman. That grants too much credence to her particular, peculiar and highly selective definition of piety. And it offends the many admirable people of faith whose understanding and practice of religion aren’t, like hers, confrontational and small-minded.

Bachmann is an evangelical, and has spoken rhapsodically about the experience of being born again. After that moment, she said, “I absolutely understood sin, and I wanted no part of it.” She plunged into politics nonetheless.

We routinely place her in the “religious right,” a phrase that frustrates me, tidily linking a certain set of political beliefs with profound devotion. We talk much less frequently of any “religious left,” and that disparity implies that a seriously faithful person is most likely to land on just one end of the political spectrum.

Tell that to the Nuns on the Bus, who rolled across the country last month focusing on social welfare and expressing alarm about the impact that cuts in federal spending might have on struggling Americans. Their politics line up more neatly with liberal than conservative policies, but the nuns reflect a Catholicism no less true or widespread than that of the bishops carrying on about gay marriage and birth control.


Because he’s a social liberal, Cory Booker, the Newark mayor, is seldom mentioned in terms of religion, but it turns out that he’s made a study of the Bible, as well as other sacred texts, and given considerable thought to faith. On his Facebook page a few months ago, he mused thusly:

“Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people. Before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children.”

I know many progressive, big-hearted Christians who rise to that challenge, and it’s wrong for a single Christian label — without asterisk or annotation — to be attached both to them and to the likes of Bachmann.

So maybe it’s time for annotations. Most of us distinguish, rightly, between Muslim extremists and other followers of Islam. Perhaps we should start noting the difference between Christians of real compassion and those of exclusionary spite.

Bachmann’s on to something: dangerous fundamentalists have indeed set up camp deep inside the capital. She can find one in her office. She need only look in the mirror.

Too bad the NYTimes entitled this piece “The Divine Miss M” –when the real Divine Miss M, Bette Middler, has devoted her life to inclusion and compassion.


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Canon K F KKing Tssf

Without trying to make an erudite comment, I just am grateful to Ann Fontaine for this and other of her contributions that keep me thinking even in my 23rd year in retirement.

The Revd Canon Kale Francis King Tssf

Canon K F KKing Tssf

Without trying to make an erudite comment, I just am grateful to Ann Fontaine for this and other of her contributions that keep me thinking even in my 23rd year in retirement.

The Revd Canon Kale Francis King Tssf

Weiwen Ng

The problem I have is that the Tea Party-affiliated Christians, like Michelle Bachmann and Paul Ryan, are right on the edge of deviating from what I think most Christians would say is acceptable practice – or that they have deviated entirely from mainstream acceptable practice. Their proposals and actions reflect a stunning and callous disregard for the welfare of the poor. Bachmann especially is mean in her personal conduct.

Or, if most Christians are indifferent to the treatment of the poor, what do we say?

Jesus’ words to the Pharisees were probably very, very harsh. I agree we can’t simply throw out accusations of people being non-Christian, but the Republican Party in the US is becoming increasingly unhinged and dangerous.

You know, I often think that people don’t desire to become Christians because of the inference, by some, that God will only accept people who call themselves Christian. Jesus, I think, would’ve been told that He was a terrible example – so harsh, telling people they weren’t following God, that sort of thing . . . it puts people right off wanting to join up and pay dues.

Of course, He was a Jew, so it’s not important, anyway.

“Many will say ‘Lord, Lord’ . . . ”

– Mark Brunson


I did not call anyone “non-Christian” but rather “not evangelical”. I think a couple of comments are in order here.

One, evangelicalism has a long and honorable history in Christianity. We see examples of it in Christian history before the term evangelical was created, and came into full-flower with the Great Awakening in the English-speaking world. As such, evangelicalism revitalized a church that was in remission due to the 30 Years War, and stood at the forefront of social reformation. Evangelicals led the charge against slavery, child labor, entrenched poverty and illiteracy, etc. Williams Jennings Bryant may be remembered by most as the prosecutor in the Scopes Monkey Trial, but we need to remember that he also was a populist reformer politician, crusading for the underclass of society. It must also be remembered that, until recently, “evangelicalism” was a reasonable response to the rise of fundamentalism, attempting to pull back the bible-based wing of Christianity from the brink of fundamentalism. Billy Graham, Tony Campolo, and Jim Wallis are three examples of “real” evangelicals, as well a N.T. Wright, former bishop of Durham. I hope evangelicals continue to reclaim their name from reactionary fundamentalists.

Two, we really do need to respond to outrageous statements by other people who claim to speak with God’s authority. They damage God’s mission. No doubt, we in Christianity have differences of opinion. Always have, always will. That does not give license for a gadfly to say unkind things about people who are fighting cancer (Bachman), or say maliciously bizarre things like the people of Haiti suffered an earthquake because they made a pact with Satan (google Pat Robertson + Haitian earthquake). People of faith cannot stand by and allow such things to be said in God’s name. They need to be called out, or the un-churched or the disaffected will think this is who we really are.

Kevin McGrane

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