How big of an uproar would there be if a governor was “praised … as a leader annointed by God” by 1,400 people during a three-hour worship service lead by more than 75 clergy? What if they said it was “the providence of God” that brought the governor to the office? What if they compared the governor to Esther or even called her a “modern-day Mary, who will give birth to a fresh vision, a fresh hope, a fresh renewall.” What if this was only one of the three inaugural prayer services marking the governor’s re-election?
Turns out, there’s not much controversy because Gov. Jennifer Granholm happens to be a Democrat.
Gov. Granholm, a Catholic, has a history of using mixing religion in her politics.
During Granholm’s first year in office, she made a significant number of budget cuts. She was upset by proposals to cut state funding to social welfare programs, such as homeless shelters and mental health agencies. During an interview, she reflected on the proper perspective of budget cuts:
“Often those who cloak themselves in a cape of religiosity happen to be some who are the biggest cutters. Now, some of that can balance out. But when you get to cutting the services for the least of these — in the 25th chapter of Matthew in the 37th verse the Lord says, ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of these, so also you do unto me’ — that’s when I question whether somebody is really living out the faith that they profess.”
The interviewer noted that Granholm would be criticized, but she hoped that everyone would “keep those values in mind . . .through the budget process.” Betsy DeVos, the chair of the Michigan Republican Party, was upset that Granhom had decided “to cloak her views on balancing the budget in religious terms in order to demonize her political opponents.” Granholm responded that she did not think her response was controversial, and she said that many people of faith are serving in state government.