As "This Week in God" settles in on Saturday mornings, the God Machine has plenty to offer again this week.
First up is a look back, now that the race for the Republican presidential nomination is over, at all the candidates who seemed rather certain that their campaigns were the result of divine inspiration. Herman Cain, for example, said a year ago that God told him in 2006, "I've got something else for you to do." He was referring, of course, to running for president. Similarly, Rick Santorum said of his campaign, "We believe with all our hearts that this is what God wants." Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry made similar comments.
It led Dan Amira to make an amusing observation. (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip)
The end -- sorry, um, suspension -- of Rick Santorum's presidential campaign is a major milestone in the primary race, clearing the way, as it does, for Mitt Romney to cruise here on out to the nomination essentially unchallenged.
But Santorum's withdrawal is also a major milestone for God, the beloved all-powerful deity whose personal endorsement somehow failed to secure the nomination for any of the numerous Republicans -- Santorum, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry -- whom he reportedly encouraged to run for president. It is unclear at this point whether God will even bother to offer anyone his apparently useless endorsement in the general election.
For the record, Mitt Romney was one of the only competitive Republican candidates who didn't say God inspired and/or motivated his campaign, and he won by a wide margin.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* In the wake of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) assertion that his right-wing budget plan was shaped by his Catholic faith, nearly 60 prominent theologians, priests, nuns, and national Catholic social justice leaders released a statement yesterday rejecting the claim. "If Rep. Ryan thinks a budget that takes food and healthcare away from millions of vulnerable people upholds Catholic values, then he also probably believes Jesus was a Tea Partier who lectured the poor to stop being so lazy and work harder," said John Gehring, Catholic Outreach Coordinator at Faith in Public Life. "This budget turns centuries of Catholic social teaching on its head. These Catholic leaders and many Catholics in the pews are tired of faith being misused to bless an immoral agenda."
* The nation's Roman Catholic bishops issued a proclamation on Thursday, warning that religious liberty is "under attack, both at home and abroad." It's not just about contraception -- the bishops also noted several state immigration laws that make it illegal to care for undocumented immigrants.
* The anti-gay Truth in Action Ministries noted the anniversary of the Titanic disaster by producing an unintentionally-funny video, comparing the LGBT "lifestyle" with icebergs.
* And finally, Pat Robertson, demon hunter.