Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SOTU Godcount

Last night was the annual State of the Union (SOTU) speech by the President of the United States (POTUS) to the people of the United States (PUS). Following the POTUS SOTU opposition party members queued up to “respond”. This morning I pulled up transcripts of the SOTU and a couple SOTU-responses, and counted the number of times “God” was invoked.

The winner, and in this case winning is refraining from invoking “God”, was my own senator Mike Lee. Mike provided the Tea Party response. He only used one single “God’ at the end of his speech, and it was used in such a way as to appear more as a figure of speech than an actual invocation:

Good night, and God bless.” – Senator Mike Lee (R) Utah

Mike spent an awfully large amount of his allotted time invoking the 1773 Boston Tea Party. He needed to re-frame it as a purely antibureaucracy protest; any mention of a progressive taxation motivation was expunged. He also went on to explicitly defend religiously motivated homophobia and abortion restriction, but he avoided the G-word.

The POTUS came in second with three “God”s. One was a second-hand “God” as he was quoting another individual saying “God Bless America”, and the other two were included in the traditional SOTU closing:

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.” – POTUS Barack Obama

The official GOP response, provided by representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, invoked “God” four times. Once by describing her own response to realizing her child had Down’s syndrome: “We saw a gift from God.” .

The other three official GOP “God”s were in Cathy’s closing remarks. Instead of “God” as a simple or traditional closing she went full pulpit-style prayer on the American people.

That, with the guidance of God, we may prove worthy of His blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For when we embrace these gifts, we are each doing our part to form a more perfect union.

May God guide you and our president, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.” -- Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) Washington

I am always intrigued when theists assign gender to their deity. Since Cathy assigned gender to a theist God while acting in an official capacity for the people of Washington State does this mean that “God” in Washington officially refers to a male deity? If so what does it state about divine organs? Does the term “teabagging” have a more spiritual meaning in Washington State?

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