god2Bill McGraw writes in the Detroit Free Press about what seems like the increasing tendency of political figures to invoke the name of God to justify virtually anything. The immediate inspiration for McGraw’s column was a remark by Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, who is in the crosshairs of a potential federal bribery indictment. “On Tuesday,” McGraw writes, “when it became clear the feds were closing in on Conyers, she described herself to viewers of her weekly TV show as ‘a child of God,’ and told viewers ‘if you’re not praying for me, then you’re just adding to the problem.’ Then she added: ‘All these things that are going on right now … I believe in my heart that God will deliver me from them.’ ”

McGraw went on to reminisce about invocations of the Diety by Detroit public figures over the past couple of decades, including former Police Chief William Hart who was charged in 1989 with using public funds to subsidize $72,000 in rent on his daughter’s former home in Beverly Hills. “With God as my witness,” Hart said, “I swear I did not do that.” He was subsequently convicted of stealing $2.3 million.

GodMcGraw observed that few office holders have made as many public references to God as did George W. Bush while president of these United States. “I trust God speaks through me,” the president told an audience in Lancaster, Pa., in July 2004. “Without that, I couldn’t do my job.” I’ve seen that quote many times, and I’ve always suspected that the president said, or at least meant, “I trust God speaks to me.” I don’t know about George Bush, but I don’t think I would attribute to God many of the things that come out of my mouth.