Wendy Davis and Secular Politics

Last night, I was at the event where State Senator Wendy Davis (D-10) announced her candidacy for the Governorship of Texas.

Here’s a picture of her of me at the after-party later that night!

Sen. Wendy Davis and Me!My hair looks like shit…

I stood outside in the heat and annoying wind for at least an hour before they let us inside. Once there, I stood for two hours waiting for Wendy Davis to even appear.

An hour before she spoke, the official sign of her campaign was revealed. Here’s the photo I took the second the veil was lifted from it:

Wendy Davis Campaign Sign

Needless to say, I was very excited about this. I was very excited to see Sen. Davis and to hear her speak, een though my legs were about to give out by the time she took the stage.

While I was there, I was very optimistic about the future of Texas. The feelings I had while I was waiting for her to come out were elated and pumped. I have never been to a political rally like this before (I guess, the Reason Rally kind of counts), so these are kind of new feelings for me to experience.

It was also great meeting somewhat like-minded people and being able to converse with them, which was mostly bitching about Republicans and the government shutdown that they caused.

Although I realize that Texas is still very red, I know that if real progressives work at it, Texas can at least become a valuable swing state within this decade.

About half an hour before Sen. Davis came out at five o’clock, we were led in the Pledge of Allegiance. That, I can understand. Sure, I don’t understand the nationalistic aspect of it or the part about “Under God,” but I do understand somewhat why this happens at nearly every public event in America.

Next came out (who I assume was also a State Senator because I honestly can’t remember who they were) someone who delivered an invocation. This is where Shayrah and myself started having a problem with the event. While nearly everyone had their heads bowed, some with their hands in the air like at a megachurch, Shayrah and I kept our eyes on the speaker with a look merely of disapproval.

It didn’t really seem like an invocation though. It felt like preaching. He was very loud and passionate about the things he was saying, throwing in God every few words or saying that something was a gift from God. He said that Wendy Davis was a gift from God. He said that God was a rock and Davis was our anchor to that rock. Religious metaphors that I understood but didn’t see the need for.

Usually at political rallies, they have someone who introduces the candidate with a sort of pre-speech. This “invocation” seemed more like that than invoking the power or blessing of a deity.

If this man had been commissioned by the organizers of this rally to not give an invocation but to simply give an introductory speech for Sen. Davis, would anyone have noticed?

If they had left out the invocation completely, would anyone have noticed?

If the speaker had left out all mentions of God, would anyone have noticed?

Would anyone have noticed or really even cared?

Do political rallies somehow require God to be constantly mentioned? Can’t there be political rallies or public events that simply don’t mention deities or how much we supposedly need them to make our country better? Can’t we make a better world without God?

Why do politicians feel the need to mention God so much? I understand that many of these politicians are Christians, but what good does it do to constantly thank or mention God? You can’t thank the American people or the things that they actually did?

Astrophysicist and popularizer of science Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said that for every football team that thanks God for a win, there is an equal number of teams that can blame God for a loss. Well, if both Democrats and Republicans say they have God on their side or invoke God in some way in hopes of winning an election, the same argument can be made, so what point is there in invoking God?

American politics has created a culture where God has to be mentioned, or else. It has created a culture where there must be a prayer before a rally, or else. If you don’t, then you get called out by the religious right for hating America or for being a godless heathen (which for many Americans is worse, Democrat and Republican alike).

If politicians simply did not mention God all the time or have invocations all the time before events, then they would be seen with less and less importance by the American people, regardless of political party or ideology. Politicians would no longer feel the need to be the most Christian-ey Christian of all the Christians in Christian Land.

This would not only create a secular culture in politics (I’m talking about politics, not government), where one does not need to appease the religious majority anymore, but it would also allow for nonreligious candidates to no longer feel like they need to hide or that they don’t belong in American politics.

Religion and religious affiliation should be irrelevant though. It should not be something that is even worth noting.

I didn’t care that Mitt Romney was a Mormon or that Paul Ryan was a Catholic. I cared that they believed that gays should not have the right to marry and women should not have the right to control their own bodies, among many other things. Whether they justified that through their religion or through secular means was irrelevant to me.

I’m not saying for Christian politicians to hide their Christianity (far from it), but in order to make all people, of all religious beliefs, feel more welcome, that requires a secular culture in politics and in the broader society as a whole.

Simply don’t have invocations before rallies. What purpose do they serve? We’re attending a rally, not a church service.

Again, I have to ask. Would anyone have noticed if they just did not have an invocation before Sen. Wendy Davis spoke and announced her candidacy? Probably not.

About Daniel Moran

Daniel Moran is an openly atheist candidate for the Texas legislature. Currently earning his degree in Political Science at the University of North Texas, he plans to continue his education in law school. Daniel is also on the UNT Moot Court Team and Vice-President of the UNT Secular Student Alliance.

Posted on October 4, 2013, in Internet, Personal, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. That’ really disappointing, especially considering Perry’s obsessive god-talk is one of the (many) things making him such a buffoon. Did Davis spend any time spewing any such pablum? If she tries to out-god a republican in the coming election, that won’t go, or bode, well. We’re all waiting for a candidate who will come out and say ‘god is a crock’, it’s just one little extra letter.

  2. Did you have the chance to share your reservations with Wendy?

  3. I can’t say much else except that this saddens me. I live in TX and also find this obsession with starting everything with a prayer, actually preaching, to be offensive and off putting to say the least. Thanks for reporting on this. I think I will say something about this when/if I make another donation to Wendy’s campaign.

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