WASHINGTON (RNS) Truth be told, when asked to name a spiritual role model, few people would likely pick a sitting U.S. senator.
In fact, with congressional approval ratings at record lows, few lawmakers — Democrats or Republicans — would seem to qualify as a profile in righteousness.
To be sure, DeMint and Lieberman have differences both political and religious: DeMint is a Tea Party Republican from South Carolina and a self-described “follower of Christ,” while Lieberman, an observant Jew from Connecticut, is a sometimes unpredictable Independent.
But their books offer equally intimate glimpses into the spiritual lives of America’s elected officials.
On the surface, DeMint’s “The Great American Awakening” is primarily focused on the insurgent conservative movement, particularly the Tea Party.
“The book is really about what Americans did between when Obama was elected and the 2010 elections,” DeMint said in an interview. “The power has shifted out of the hands of Washington and back into the hands of the people where it belongs.”
While the topic is technically more about politics than religion, DeMint said the title of the book is meant to echo the Second Great Awakening, a period of religious revival in the early 19th century.
“(The Tea Party) is as much a spiritual awakening as a political awakening,” said DeMint, a Presbyterian. “The concern about our country … has awakened the faith of many people.”
DeMint frequently cites Christian theology and biblical passages to help make his points. “The spiritual assessment is just the lens I look through,” he said.
Such strong connections between faith and politics seem second nature to DeMint in his book. Arguing that the separation of church and state “is contrary to what our founders envisioned,” he attacks the idea of big government on spiritual grounds.
“Big government is a religious issue,” DeMint writes. “History shows in nations where there is a big government, there is a little God. When people are dependent on government, they are less dependent on God, and their spiritual fervor fades. Socialism and secularism go hand in hand, as do faith and freedom.”
DeMint admitted that he hasn’t Read the rest of this entry »