Campaign Poetry: Begging to be lied to

Following a tough primary campaign against the pro-life Reverend Butler, The West Wing‘s fictional Republican presidential nominee Arnold Vinick (played by actor Alan Alda) was posed the following question during a news conference [1]: “Senator, are you going to reconsider Reverend Butler’s invitation to his church this weekend?”

Vinick responded:

I fully respect Reverend Butler’s position. I mean – I appreciate his invitation. And, ah… Look, … I respect the Reverend Butler, and I respect his Church too much to use it for my own political purposes, and that’s exactly what I’d be doing if I went down there this Sunday – cause the truth is it would just be an act of political phoniness. I may be wrong, but I – I suspect our churches already have enough political phonies.

I don’t see how we can have the separation of church and state in this government if you have to pass a religious test, to get in this government. And I wanna warn everyone in the press and all the voters out there: if you demand expressions of religious faith from politicians, you are just begging to be lied to. They won’t all lie to you, but a lot of them will. And it will be the easiest lie they ever have to tell to get your votes. So every day until the end of this campaign, I’ll answer any question anyone has on government, but if you, if you have a question on religion – please, go to church.

[1] The West Wing, Season 6, Episode 20: “In God We Trust” [41:27-42:45] (transcribed by yours truly, January 26, 2010).

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