Who will God vote for in the Republican primaries?

Vote for me or burn in hell. I can’t imagine someone running for office saying that. And yet four candidates — Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum — have said they had a sense that God was leading them to run.

How far can we be from “vote for me or burn in hell” when it seems we’re already comfortable with “vote for me, I’ve been called by God”?

There was a time when if a candidate wanted to inject faith into a campaign he or she would be photographed going to church or shaking the Rev. Billy Graham’s hand.

Now it seems many GOP campaigns aren’t complete without claiming God’s seal of approval, which suggests the other candidates may be running without it. Such a sentiment is an ideological piñata for comedians like Bill Maher and Jon Stewart, but for conservatives trying to secure the GOP nomination, it’s a highly manipulative campaign tool…

But why aren’t we questioning the candidates who make these kinds of statements the same way we would question whether God actually wanted a particular athlete to win a game?

I do believe a person’s faith is personal, but I’m not the one using it to get votes. Four candidates have claimed a level of divine intervention with their campaign, which either means the creator of heaven and Earth is hedging his bets or somebody’s mistaken…

If I could trade places with Anderson Cooper, who is moderating Tuesday’s debate, I would ask, “Now which ones of you were really called by God and which ones are hearing voices in your head?” then let them discuss among themselves.

God-baiting each other is probably something the nutball right-wing does in private, anyway. In public, they save it for the Democrats – who are only a smidge less opportunistic at pulling the same stunt.

The smartest line Obama came up with was the tag he started partway through his campaign for the presidency: “God bless you – and God bless the United States of America.”

You could practically see the Technicolor sunset fade away while WW2 fighter planes passed overhead in a salute to this courageous nation saving the world once again.