Minnesota congresswoman— and now official presidential candidate — Michele Bachmann (R) told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer on Sunday that she believes God is calling her to run for the nation’s highest office. The evangelical politician said she has a ”sense” that her prayer of whether or not to run has been answered:
“I am a Christian as is my husband. I became a Christian at 16 years old, I gave my heart to Jesus Christ and since that time I’ve been a person of prayer.
When I pray, I pray believing that God will speak to me and give me an answer to that prayer, and so that’s what a calling is. If I pray, a calling means that I have a sense from God which direction I’m supposed to go.
It means I have a sense of assurance about the direction I think that God is speaking into my heart that I should go.”
Bachmann’s prayer may have more practical application: Her social conservative bona fides are expected to play well in Iowa, where a new poll revealed she is statistically tied with Mitt Romney as a frontrunner. Religion News Service’s Dan Burke’s report on Bachmann indicated that her evangelical beliefs may give her an edge over Mormon Romney in places like Iowa where evangelicals make up nearly 60 percent of the primary voters. “She comes from us, not to us,” one conservative activist told Burke: “She speaks our code.”
But is Bachmann really so coded? Are claims that God guides her decision-making process out of the mainstream? And will they play well outside of Iowa?
A 2005 study by Barna revealed that 83 percent of Americans said they had prayed in the last week, putting Bachmann well into the devout mainstream. Politicians, like many religious people, talk about their faith because it is central to how they see the world, and because it’s a language that many voters understand. But Bachmann’s political reach may be limited, as the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that only 26 percent of Americans identify as evangelical Protestants, and her distinctly Christian approach to her political vocation may not resonate with a wider audience.
Do you want your representatives to speak your religious language and values?