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New Great Awakening: When Politicians Speak for God

It’s not unusual to hear politicians claiming to speak for God. Some discuss their religious beliefs as a sincere outpouring of their faith and others do it for political expediency—they think invoking God will help them win their arguments and convince voters or constituents to support their policies.

In recent months, Ohio Governor John Kasich has used his faith to swat down objections—from the Tea Party and others in his own party—to expanding Medicaid.

During his February State of the State address, Kasich suggested that failing to expand Medicaid (which will be paid for with money the federal government has to borrow) would be a failure of true Christian faith:

“My personal faith and the lessons I’ve learned from the Good Book, they’re, like run my life. I mean, I’m serious. They’re very important to me – not just on Sunday, but just about every day. And I’ve gotta tell ya, I can’t look at the disabled, I can’t look at the poor, I can’t look at the mentally ill, I can’t look at the addicted and think we oughta ignore them.”

Kasich added, “I respect the decision you’re all gonna make, I know it’s controversial, just please examine your conscience, keep an open mind, and I think we can work and get there—I sure hope so. We’re an administration that thinks no one should be left behind.”

In a recent interview Kasich implied that failure to expand Medicaid in Ohio could have eternal consequences:

“I’ll tell ya somethin’, I had a...I had a comment; I had a conversation with a — one of the leaders… wasn’t one of the leaders, but one of the members of the legislature the other day. I said, ‘I respect the fact that you believe in small government. I do too. I also happen to know that you’re a person of faith. Now, when you die and get to the, get to the, uh, to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not gonna ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor. Better have a good answer.’”