I was driving yesterday and caught a bit of George McGovern on the Diane Rehm show.
Rehm: […]And let me just tell you that Republican Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann told Floridians on Sunday that hurricane Irene and the earthquake felt along much of the East coast, last week were messages from God to warn politicians to start heeding divine guidance. I’m not sure what that means, but I wonder about your own thoughts.
McGovern: Well, I know Congresswoman Bachmann insists that she’s following the word of God at all times, that God told her to run for president and He’s guiding her in what she says. I think that’s pretty risky ground to be on. You know, and then blaming this hurricane on God, 21 people were killed in that hurricane and my heart goes out to all of those families, but I don’t think that was God intervening to try to teach us a lesson.
Let me tell you about a little story I experienced when I was 10 years old. I was watching two of my friends peg a baseball back and forth and one ball went high, it went out into the street with the person that it was intended for hard after it, right into the path of an oncoming truck. He was killed instantly. And a few minutes later, the minister from our church came over and he said to the mother, well, Mrs. So-and-so, I know this is a hard day for you, but this was God’s will. She says, no, reverend, I don’t think so. I think Roger just didn’t look where he was going.
Well, I agreed with the mother. I don’t think it’s right for us to blame these tragedies, […] to blame all the calamities on God and say, that’s his way of publishing — of punishing us. I wouldn’t be interested in a God who deliberately kills people in order to give them a lesson, so I think in all due respects to Mrs. Bachmann, who may be a very fine woman, I don’t know her, I’ve never met her, but I don’t think that she has a monopoly on the word of God.
That’s a pretty good political story – a little bit of light b.s. (who knows what happened in 1932 when McGovern was 10), an overall gentle tone, and a pretty powerful message.