Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Donald Trump's speech was six words short of God-less

CLEVELAND -- Donald J. Trump isn’t in the White House yet. But last night, he nearly accomplished something that, to the best of our knowledge, no other presidential candidate of a major party has done.

Trump came within six words of excising God from his acceptance speech. This was where it happened: “God bless you and good night.”

In other words, gesundheit.

In an age of disbelief, many of you might wonder why this is worth mentioning. First, in the past, invocation of the deity is associated with a display of one’s values and policies -- good or bad. Moreover, the citation of a higher authority is often -- though not always -- reassuring evidence of humility.

Secondly, since the rise of Ronald Reagan in 1980, conservative Christians have formed the base of the Republican party.

Their new lack of clout could be seen not just in Trump’s speech, but in the reticence in the speeches of evangelical leaders on Thursday. Neither Tony Perkins nor Jerry Falwell Jr. could bring themselves to testify as to Trump theological underpinnings.

Count on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to bring this up today, when he campaigns for Mike Crane in west Georgia. Crane faces Drew Ferguson in an all-Republican runoff on Tuesday.

Here’s a bit of history of past RNC acceptance speeches

Ronald Reagan, 1980:

This evening marks the last step--save one--of a campaign that has taken Nancy and me from one end of this great land to the other, over many months and thousands of miles. There are those who question the way we choose a president; who say that our process imposes difficult and exhausting burdens on those who seek the office. I have not found it so.

It is impossible to capture in words the splendor of this vast continent which God has granted as our portion of this creation. There are no words to express the extraordinary strength and character of this breed of people we call Americans.

George H.W. Bush, 1992:

“You see, there is a yearning in America, a feeling that maybe it's time to get back to our roots. Sure we must change, but some values are timeless. I believe in families that stick together, fathers who stick around. I happen to believe very deeply in the worth of each individual human being, born or unborn.

I believe in teaching our kids the difference between what's wrong and what's right, teaching them respect for hard work and to love their neighbors. I believe that America will always have a special place in God's heart, as long as He has a special place in ours. Maybe that's why I've always believed that patriotism is not just another point of view.

George W. Bush, 1980:

I believe that America is called to lead the cause of freedom in a new century. I believe that millions in the Middle East plead in silence for their liberty. I believe that given the chance, they will embrace the most honorable form of government ever devised by man. 

I believe all these things because freedom is not America's gift to the world; it is the almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world.

Incidentally, the word “abortion” wasn’t uttered by Trump, either. See for yourself:


Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.