God-o-Meter

God-o-Meter

The God-o-Meter (pronounced Gah-DOM-meter) scientifically measures factors such as rate of God-talk (mentions per 30 seconds), context (invoking God to, say, justify tax cuts would send the God-o-Meter into a frenzy), and other top-secret criteria.

Today's verdict: The presidential race with the most faith-talk of any in the 20th century concludes with both victor and vanquished invoking God. God-o-Meter agrees the divine is the only one who will ever really know who the dimpled ballots were for. In celebration, God-o-Meter signs off both campaigns with a 5, the perfect balance between theocracy and secularism. Spiritually redeeming virtue of all this: Focus on Florida has kept anyone from saying that Joe Lieberman's Jewish faith sunk the Democratic ticket.

Event What Happened Rating
Gore Concedes, Bush Accepts, Both Invoke God
December 13, 2000
In concession speech, Al Gore quotes Stephen Douglas as telling Abraham Lincoln, "I'm with you Mr. President, and God bless you," then says of Bush, "may God bless his stewardship of this country." Bush says, "I ask your prayers for leaders from both parties. I thank you for your prayers for me and my family, and I ask you to pray for Vice President Gore and his family." Suggests of the post-election controversy, "I believe things happen for a reason."
Everyone but Warren G. Harding Adds Religious References to the Recount Arguments
November 28, 2000
Suddenly, the supernatural is being invoked in the Florida mess. "There's God-loving Americans all over this land that are getting impatient," Bush campaign official Don Evans said. Al Gore ended his nationally televised speech with, "God bless you and God bless America." Katherine Harris, making her certification announcement, thanked supporters "for your prayers."
Beliefnet Breaks Down Presidential Votes by Religion
November 8, 2000
No one knows! There was a presidential election, and, well, somebody won. Voter breakdown by faith shows George W. Bush swept white Protestants, while Al Gore swept black Protestants, Jews, other faiths (surely he did well with California Buddhists!), and nonreligious voters. The two split the Catholic vote. All this clearly means...we have no idea.
Bush and Gore Politic on the Pre-Election Sabbath
November 6, 2000
Gore, at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Philadelphia, takes to the pulpit and lectures about voter turnout and Social Security. Bush, at Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, sits in the pew and worships.
Lieberman Gives Speech at Notre Dame University Extolling Religion
October 24, 2000
Speaking at Notre Dame, Joe Lieberman said he and Gore would use the White House to promote religious faith, saying, "We share a commitment to using our office and our influence to support and encourage this new burst of moral and cultural renewal." Veep candidate, quoting Torah, New Testament, and Qur'an, also calls for a "new great American awakening" based on religion.
Gore's Tormented Relationship With His Southern Baptist Faith Described in Lengthy New York Times Article.
October 22, 2000
Close Al Gore adviser Martin Peretz, who is Jewish, derides hometown church where Gore worships as the "New Salem Bible Thumping Good News Evangelical High Hope Church." Imagine if a close Christian adviser to Gore derided the place Joe Lieberman worships as the "Kesher Israel Bagel Chomping We Demand Special Privileges Synagogue."
Lieberman: Environmentalism Has Religious Foundation
October 18, 2000
"If you believe in God, I think it's hard not to be an environmentalist, because you see the environment as the work of God." Weird quirk: Though the God-talk was the essence of Lieberman's speech, the campaign's own official website makes no mention of it in its account of the Wausau event.
Final Presidential Debate
October 17, 2000
Not much to chew on here. George W. Bush made glancing reference to "faith based" after-school programs and appeared somber, not lighthearted, when asked again about capital punishment. That was about it for both camps in a debate with surprisingly few direct references to spiritual themes.
Beliefnet Interviews George W. Bush
October 16, 2000
"I am a lowly sinner." Emphasizing your own sinfulness is essential to conservative Protestantism and to traditional Catholicism--it's the sort of thing religious liberals, such as Al Gore, rarely say. But Bush dodged the question of whether, if Christianity is right, other faiths must be wrong; his response was the noncommittal: "[I]t's important to recognize that there are great religions in the world."
Second Presidential Debate: Winston-Salem, N.C.
October 11, 2000
On close-to-religion issues, Bush sternly said he opposes gay marriage but openly favored debt relief for impoverished nations. Gore warmly quoted the Sermon on the Mount as an argument for global warming reform, though his reasoning was somewhat obscure.
Gore Quotes Jesus at Second Debate
October 11, 2000
He noted Matthew as saying, "for where your heart is, there your treasure is also." Not bad for speaking from memory. The full reference, from Matthew 6:19-21, New Revised Standard Version: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Lieberman's Performance at the Veep Debate
October 5, 2000
Avoids the J-word but says abortion is between "a woman, her doctor, and her God;" gays and lesbians are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights; Israel is a "sacred" land; and marriage is a "religious institution." He even "forgives" moderator Bernard Shaw for a procedural boo-boo. With 11 God-talk mentions, Joe's back in the game and God-o-Meter says amen.
Cheney's Performance at the Veep Debate
October 5, 2000
Didn't mention God, values, or faith once. Even the divine must have lost interest: "Hey Gabriel, bring me that neutrino physics manual, will you? Might as well use this time to brush up."
First Presidential Debate: The University of Massachusetts, Boston
October 3, 2000
Nothing! At the first presidential debate, they not only skipped past the Supreme Being, both Al Gore and George Bush scrupulously avoided anything suggesting faith, religion, or higher purpose. They sure liked the terms "lock box" and "fuzzy math" though. Maybe Ralph Nader can become the religion candidate.
George W. Bush to Skip Christian Coalition Convention
Opening Sept. 29, 2000
George Bush in 1992 and Bob Dole in 1996 spoke to the Christian Coalition, but a spokesman for W. says he won't because the date "conflicts with our debate preparations." Is godlessness breaking out on both Rep. and Dem. tickets? Next event: Atheist Political Action Committee.
Gore, Lieberman Cozy Up to the Splatter Crowd in Hollywood
September 19, 2000
Just nine days after Gore denounced movie glorification of violence as a threat to our moral values, he and Lieberman appeared at a $4.2 million Beverly Hills fundraiser. "Al and I have a tremendous regard for this industry," Lieberman gushed. Like Moses announcing he had "tremendous regard" for the golden calf?
Lieberman Talks to the I-Man
September 15, 2000
Lieberman tells shock jock Don Imus that intermarriage is kosher. He's also downgraded his religious status from Orthodox to Observant. Is a Lieberman Christmas tree far behind?
Gore Jewish jokes on Letterman
September 14, 2000
The vice president reads the Top Ten list: "Slogans Rejected by the Gore/Lieberman Campaign." God-o-Meter's favorite: "With Lieberman on the ticket, you get all kinds of fun new days off. Vote for us, we're going to work 24/6."
Bush Is "a Lowly Sinner"
September 13, 2000
An extra incentive not to break campaign promises: "If you accept Christ and then stray, the consequences are more severe than ever." Ouch. In the Baptist Press "lowly sinner" interview, he says "Billy Graham re-introduced me to Jesus Christ."
Lieberman Defends Religion Talk at a Detroit Union Rally
September 5, 2000
Despite criticism, he says he'll keep up his references to an "endowment by our Creator" and people "created in the image of God." But many would rather see a new stump speech, created in the image of the Democratic party.
Cheney Speaks to Fellowship of Christian Athletes
August 29, 2000
The usually religion-reticent Cheney reminds Christian athletes of the importance of teaching tolerance "as Christ taught"--but quickly added that he wasn't intending to "strike any religious themes."
Bush talks to B'nai B'rith--on the Phone
August 28, 2000
Announces that he wants "armies of compassion.that will recognize that every person is created in the image and likeness of God." Even Gore?
Lieberman Talks Up God at Detroit's Fellowship Chapel
August 27, 2000
Tells congregants that Americans must renew "our nation and ourselves to God and God's purposes." Also tells an interfaith breakfast: "We are citizens of God." ("Will the Senator from God yield the floor...") Even the Anti-Defamation League thinks he may be too Jewish.
Lieberman Observes Shabbat
August 19, 2000
Sen. Joseph Lieberman observes the Sabbath. Again. Like every week.
Gore Convention Speech
August 17, 2000
Three God mentions, but none count, as two were tritely prepackaged ("God Bless you. God bless America"), and the other equated HMOs with God. Is Lieberman the designated God-talker?
Lieberman Convention Speech
August 16, 2000
Seven God mentions, including reference to God's children (that would be us).
Lieberman After Selection
August 8, 2000
Lieberman talks about God, Lord, Spirit, cites Scripture, even says "God Almighty" as he describes Gore: "He never wavered in his responsibilities as a father, as a husband, and yes, as a servant of God Almighty." (Had you scared there for a minute, didn't we?)
Gore Nominates Lieberman
August 8, 2000
One measly God mention: "We are one step closer to truly being one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Bush Convention Speech
August 3, 2000
Four God mentions, three faith mentions, one Bible mention, one worship mention, one prayer mention, and one mention of "synagogues, churches, and mosques."
Cheney Convention Speech
August 2, 2000
No God mentions. Is he godless, or merely speechless before the deity?
Cheney After Selection
July 25, 2000
Never mentions God. Too busy thanking W.
Bush Nominates Cheney
July 25, 2000
Didn't thank God. Bush may have been waiting for poll results first.
Gore Announces Candidacy
June 16, 1999
Three God mentions, including a nod to tree-huggers: "We teach our kids respect by our own actions, and also by showing respect ourselves for God's green earth."
Bush Announces Candidacy
June 12, 1999
No God but a passing reference to "churches and synagogues and mosques." God-o-meter likes the Islam reference but wonders what about the Buddhists, Hindus and Zoroastrians?

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