God-o-Meter Adjustment Criteria*
- Discusses his/her faith and how it would influence his/her presidency publicly or in an advertisement, or has staff or surrogates do the same.
- Publicly quotes from the Bible or other scripture, uses overtly religious language, or discusses personal religious life, even outside the context of how it influences his/her policy positions, e.g. discussing personal prayer life or own sinfulness.
- Frames issues in religious or spiritual terms, e.g. environmentalism as “Creation Care” or one-man/one-woman marriage as “God’s plan.”
- Delivers a speech or makes an appearance in an overtly religious setting, e.g. a house of worship, denominational convention, religious college, etc.
- Lobbies a religious leader/activist/organization/denomination for support, either personally or through staff and surrogates.
- Receives an endorsement or is the object of favorable comments from a religious leader/activist/organization.
- Buys ads in religious media, e.g. Christian radio or a Mormon magazine.
- Embraces an issue important to a key religious constituency, e.g. a Republican vowing to appoint Supreme Court judges who would overturn Roe or a Democrat vowing to retain President Bush’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.
- Takes steps to build or strengthen a faith outreach program.
- Grants an interview to a religious broadcaster or publication.
The needle on God-o-Meter goes down if a candidate…
- Says his/her faith doesn’t inform policy positions.
- Declines to discuss his/her personal faith life when asked, e.g. by a debate moderator.
- Consistently strikes a secular tone by foregoing mentions of God or faith in situations where it would be appropriate to do so
- Makes a remark offensive to an important religious constituency, e.g. a politically incorrect joke.
- Is seen to be disingenuous in discussing his/her faith.
- Is knocked by a religious leader/activist.
- Watches support of a religious leader/activist he/she was lobbying go to a competitor.
- Takes stand on an issue that rankles a religious community.
- Declines an invitation to participate in an overtly religious event
*God-o-Meter is agonistic on the question of whether it’s preferable for a candidate to have a high or low rating.