Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Holy Ketchup

In Gore Vidal’s 1960 play, “The Best Man,” a former President recalls the old days when politicians “had to pour God over everything like ketchup.”

At a time when Americans were electing their first Catholic President and saying, in effect, that religion is a private matter for those in public life, that quaint line always drew a laugh.

Now the ketchup is flowing again, and nobody is laughing. Yesterday on CNN, before an audience of evangelicals, the three leading Democratic candidates testified to their private religious beliefs.

The tenor of their answers tells more than the content.

John Edwards, revealing that he prays and sins every day, proclaimed "a deep and abiding love for my Lord, Jesus Christ” and that “the Lord got me through” his son’s death and wife’s cancer diagnosis.

Hillary Clinton said, “I take my faith very seriously and very personally, and I come from a tradition that is perhaps a little too suspicious of people who wear their faith on their sleeves" while admitting it helped her get through her highly publicized marital difficulties.

Barack Obama was less personal: "The danger of using good verses evil in the context of war is that it may lead us to be not as critical as we should about our own actions.”

There is no way of knowing what evangelicals made of this grilling about God, but after seeing the results of George Bush’s piety, those of lesser faith may be willing to settle for reason and decency in his successor.


Unknown said...

Well said Robert.

Vox Digitatus said...

Not to take anything away from Mr. Vidal (as if I could), but the ketchup comment was first used, IIRC, in an obscure Guy Kibbee film from the 30s titled The Dark Horse.

One other memorable humorous moment has Kibbee's (Zachary Hicks') election opponent fulminating over a newspaper headline (paraphrasing here): "Look at this headline! 'Hicks in favor of fresh air and sunshine' How can I fight that?"