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Pastor Kristi Too Busy Preaching to Make Policy

I'm a preacher, Jim, not a politician!

Rep. Kristi Noem offers this disgusting deflection as she dresses up her failure as a Congresswoman in some sort of clergywoman's collar:

God kinda taught me a lesson through the several months that I was there [in D.C.] right away that, you know, He placed me there yes to work on policy, but maybe my biggest job was gonna be to minister to individuals [Rep. Kristi Noem, interview, 700 Club, reposted by Dakota War College, 2013.12.17].

Noem inarticulates two major errors in this one brief statement:

  1. The people of South Dakota, not God, placed Noem in Congress.
  2. Nowhere does job for which the people of South Dakota hired Noem include "ministering to individuals" in her duties. Her biggest job really is to work on policy.

If Noem really believes the words spilling out of her mouth, she may have explained why we have no Farm Bill, and why she has no other legislative legacy for the interviewer to cite in this fluff piece. Evidently we are to believe that she's too busy running around witnessing to all those desperate profligates in Washington to make her committee meetings and represent South Dakota.

Maybe that's where Annette Bosworth has gotten her latest campaign idea to post a series of daily religious devotional readings instead of discussing real issues of concern to the public. If you can't do policy, pretend to be a preacher.

I regularly cite Tom Joad and Jim Casy; the citation is amply appropriate here:

Tom: Prayer never brought in no side-meat. Takes a shoat to bring in pork.

Jim: Yeah. An' Almighty God never raised no wages [John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, 1939].

Get off your pious horse, Kristi, and get back to work.


  1. crossgrain 2013.12.18

    I agree that there's too much butt-dragging and toeing the party line in Noem's "work" on the Farm Bill, but I think you miss the actual point she was trying to make with her comments.

    Yeah, the PEOPLE elected her, but in the eyes of most Christians, they were just carrying out the 'will of God', so she's thinking it's pre-ordained that she take her rightful place as Cover-Girl-in-Chief of South Dakota. Like scoring a touchdown or murdering a baby, it's all part of God's Plan.

    To the second bullet point, many of the Christians I meet often talk about individual ministry. It doesn't mean that you're ramming the Bible down everyone's throat or that you're preaching to people from the pulpit of your armchair. From what I'm given to understand, they believe that even just simple caring conversation and listening to the needs of others and responding in a 'WWJD' way is "ministry". Google up some Stephen Ministry or Peer Ministry to get a more complete definition.

    Noem's job involves a LOT of talking to constituents (and the argument can certainly be made that she needs to work on the 'listening' part), but I don't think she meant she was preaching to those depraved Washingtonians as much as she was trying to be a caregiver for South Dakotans.

    Anyway, we all know this is simply pandering to the base Christian/Tea Party who gobble up these platitudes like so much manna from Heaven above. Entitled bastards, yeah?

  2. Rorschach 2013.12.18

    I sure do like her televangelizing on Fox News. It doesn't take medicine (Obamacare) to make the lame walk, just laying on of the hands. It doesn't take government to feed the poor (SNAP) just five loaves of bread and two fish. Praise God and pass the offering plate!

  3. Lora 2013.12.18

    Care Cory...your Hatred for God is showing. Just stick to covering it up with progressive works for you

  4. interested party 2013.12.18

    Care Lora...your Hatred for Earth is showing. Just stick to covering it up with christofascist works for you.

  5. wyatt 2013.12.18

    Lora, I'm not getting Cory, actually hates, god....i'm getting he is in reality and might think there probably isn't one...

  6. chris 2013.12.18

    I'm sorry, Sarah. Your services are no longer required.

  7. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.12.18

    Good job Cory, calling Noem on her pandering.

    I agree with crossgrain about how some Christians, especially fundamentalists and some Evangelicals look at God as the Master Puppeteer in the Sky. That is certainly a little too harsh a description for the large majority of believers. In fact, the number of those who believe biblical inerrancy is diminishing, now down to 38%, from 45% just a decade ago.

    I too believe that there are a limitless number of ways for one to do ministry, and some of the best happen in the most unexpected ways. One part of doing one's best as a Christian is vocation. One can evangelize or witness or minister, whatever language you like, at one's place of work. The integrity with which one does one's work is also a ministry. I do not believe ministry is an excuse to fail at one's work.

    If the ministry overwhelms the work, then it seems pretty clear that God is saying, "Drop the work and focus on the ministry."

  8. Joan Brown 2013.12.18

    I agree with Deb about the religions she mentioned, the members they have seem to think they are the only true Christians and have a tendency to go around trying to cram their religion down other people's throats.

  9. Donald Pay 2013.12.18

    God could do us all a favor and rapture all of these pseudo-Christian idiots away from the rest of us. Does she really think she won't have to answer for the nonsense she spews. I guess our personal hell is to live in a world where Noem's brand of self-bragging sanctimoniousness exhibits itself in a majority of the so-called "Christian" community. The fact that some Christians talk this way is no excuse. It just shows how much the Christian right misunderstands both religion and government.

  10. Jessie 2013.12.18

    Cory, didn't you mean "get to work," not "get back to work?"

    Wonder how that national mammal thing is working out for her.

  11. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.12.18

    Many and many Christians are working on something to call ourselves that will distinguish us from extreme right. One is these initials: NALT. Not All Like That. It's a natural for all of us who say, "Yes, I'm a Christian, but not like that."

    In fact, NALT has a website,, that describes their work to decrease suicides.

    My favorite appellation is "Red-Letter Christian." That means that my guide above all else, is Jesus Christ. Many Bibles use red ink for words thought to be spoken by Jesus. So when an Old Testament writer says that God told a military guy to slaughter everyone, I check out Jesus. Hmm. Quite a contrast there, eh? I'll go with Jesus. After all, I'm a "Christ"ian.

    Here is a survey that shows the ongoing decline of fundamentalist/right wing Evangelicals.
    The survey is done by Public Religion, a well-respected, nonpartisan organization. The website fully discloses whatever you may want to know about them and their methodology.

    The article I linked to shows a couple of bar graphs that show changes in American religiosity. I encourage you especially to notice the second graph.

  12. Jerry 2013.12.18

    Good that she went to the 700 Club to get some more lessons on how to sell the snake oil to the widdle old ladies in the homes. Ole Pat has got that down to a science (oops, forgot, these charlatans do not believe in science), change that to an art. Their voices change and go off in tongues and try to convince the rubes that their words are the trumpets of the angels, all while they fleece you of all that is legal tender. If she is such a believer, why cannot she deliver a FARM BILL? There are hundreds of folks that lost damned near everything in that blizzard and she is off blathering nonsense to try and fool the folks into thinking she deserves another term. Nope, NO More NOem (I think the Baby Jesus would approve of this message).

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.18

    I don't miss the point; I say that point is wrong.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.18

    Caregiving for South Dakotans? Baloney. (1) Listen to the full interview. The commentary the interviewer adds makes it sound like the ministering comments are directed toward Washington. (2) The context also makes clear she's talking about religious ministering, not merely being nice to other people. Voters did not put her in this job to preach, nor do they pay her to do so. (3) Noem is infamously bad at constituent service compared to Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.18

    "hate God"? I say this in one of the most intensely religious media markets in America: I don't hate God; I deny the existence of God. But if some God is hijacking my electoral process to send a lay preacher to Washington instead of an effective Congresswoman, I want to give this God a stern talking-to. Send her back to teaching Sunday school at the fundie church in Watertown; the rest of us have bigger business to take care of. Amen. (So am I praying right, Kristi?)

  16. grudznick 2013.12.18

    I appreciate that Mr. H acknowledges that even he cannot rage or hate on something that does not exist.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.18

    Jessie: good editorial call! The "back" is the most inaccurate word in my text.

    Deb, thank you for your observations. I hope your evidence about the hard-right decline is right. I can get along with a lot of Christians, including the one I married. But the one I married never says silly things like the pandering Noem offers.

  18. Bill Dithmer 2013.12.19

    Lora, just because I don't choose to believe the same thing as you doesn't mean that I hate a religion, does it? Not hardly. I in fact respect those that let their religions define them. I find intolerable those that want us to think that they are their gods disciples. Isnt that what Kristi is trying to do with the 700 appearance?

    The one thing that has always stuck in my mind about the times that I used to read your bible was this. "Beware of false prophets." After all its in the bible. If there is a god I think she would get a kick out of this thread.

    As for me and religion, who knows there might be something out there. But there again who are we supposed to believe when it comes to something like that? I think the right thing to do here would be to just treat everyone like you would want to be treated. But that doesn't mean that if I see and or step in some dog crap I'm going to call it chocolate candy. I've see a lot of dog crap in my life.

    Here's a little something for you Lora. I wrote this song a while back. Its about religion the way I see it. There is even an explanation to go with it.

    From my book THE CHURCH OF BILL
    CHAPTER 12


    I admit that I put this off for a while because I respect those that follow religion, not just Christianity but all of them. In the next couple of words I'm going to try to explained why organized religion isn't for me, anymore.

    It wasn't always this way. Early in life we didn't go to church, but church came to us in the form of a traveling preacher. Every week he would show up at one of several ranches in this part of the country and preach.

    I don't remember much about the man while he was here except for one thing, he never told us how we should live our lives, he just gave us the word and let us figure it out for ourselves if we were right or wrong. He never got in anyone's face and told them they were going to hell because they weren't living the way he thought god thought they should live. His name was Reverend Bushnell and he was the last preacher that I ever respected. I knew him for almost my whole life and he never strayed from his path with god.

    From then on our church consisted of working cattle on Sunday mornings in the summer time and watching church on TV in the winter time. My Uncle Cars would say lets go to church when we were getting ready to ride on those Sundays. I guess in a way that's what we were doing. There is nothing like nature to make you feel close to whoever or whatever is out there.

    Now I would like to talk to you about the reason that I don't go to church anymore. TV preachers. From the beginning of TV history there have been preachers trying to separate you from your money. There I said it. They all had their little spiels that didn't really have anything to do with religion but had everything to do with their pocket books. Lets talk about a couple of these that I have know through our TV set.

    Kenneth Copeland, Told amusing stories about the bible and tried to bring it up to todays standards. He's still around and still asking for money.Self proclaimed Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, TV evangelist

    Jerry Falwell, a true pain in the ass until the day he died. He thought everything hinged on the problems that the gay people were causing in his world. Earthquakes, blame the gays, bad storms, blame the gays, economic collapse yup blame the gays. This mans only redeeming quality was his ability to raise money from those that loved him and his bullshit. He built a collage from that money. More on him in a little bit.

    Kathryn Kuhlman, This old girl was actually fun to watch. She knew how to get your attention with the fire she spat from the pulpit. She used to have these two bubbas that stood around until she wanted to heal someone. She would get in front of the sick or crippled and yell and scream and talk to god. Then she would reach out and touch um on the head. They would go down like a sack of rocks only to be caught by the two bubbas before they reach the ground. Then she would have them stand up and walk across the stage. To a person they all said thank you Jesus right along with Kate. Of course then she would ask for money to keep the good times rolling.

    Rex Humbard was another one of the miracle workers on TV. He was the first preacher on our TV that had first class entertainment. The place where he worked the most magic was taking money form people and depositing it in his bank account.

    Oral & Richard Roberts, the founder of Oral Roberts University, faith healer, shyster, and taker of money. Roberts claimed that Jesus told him God had chosen him to find an effective treatment for cancer. He was also the first preacher to play the "if you don't send me a million dollars by such and such date god will take me" crap. He knew how to make money the old fashioned way he begged for it, and got it by the millions.

    Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, were two more of the first class faith healers. Tilton preached from somewhere down in Texas and wasn't scared to ask for money. His main tactic was shaming you into sending him money because you were basically a sinner and well he was not.

    Then there was Jimmy Swaggart. Jimmy loved the whores, not once, not twice, but he was caught three times as he would say "counseling the ladies." I might be wrong but I believe he had two famous cousins, Mickey Gilley and Jerry Lee Lewis. He would have been a great entertainer but chose to be a preacher. It was the worlds loss along with the worlds money.

    Pat Robertson, well what cant be said about old Pat that hasn't been said before. He was for a short time in his own mind a Colonel in the armed forces until we found out that the closest he ever got to battle was pinching a Korean girls ass in the officers club. He still offers his advise on the 700 club if you care to stop and drop of some money. He had some interesting relationships with world leaders. He was into blood diamonds and gold bought with other peoples money dug out of the ground by slaves.What a piece of shit he still is.

    And last but not least are Jim and Tammy Fae Bakker. Now I loved these two. They were true showmen that knew how to work a crowd. Jim would preach, Tammy would croak out a tune, and they could both cry on cue. Sometimes you could see six or seven coats of war paint running down Tammys face while they were asking for more money. Back when I partied a lot late at night when there wasn't anything else on TV you could count of the PTL to give great values for your buck, Of course it went down a lot better if you were a little drunk or stoned.

    JB also like the whores. He got into some trouble for his dalliances but until the government put him in jail for taking money that they though he got in an unlawful way he kept right on preaching. The two of them made a ministry of the PTL Club and turned it into a one hundred and fifty million dollar business, tax dodge, slush fund, and from the looks of things whore magnet. Then Jimmy went to jail, Tammy found another man, and our old friend Jerry Falwell took over the PTL Club so it wouldn't go broke. Jerry knew a good thing when he saw it.

    These people all had a couple of things in common. They knew how to work a 501c to make money, and they were healing SOBs. In every show you would see the stage, then down in one corner there would be a pile of wheel chairs, crutches, canes, and oxygen tanks. I saw everything from brain cancer to hemorrhoids healed on these shows.

    Well there you have it. That's why I don't go to church anymore, or at least one of the reasons. It is also the reason I wrote the song below. If there is a god I think he would like my stuff as much as those people I talked about. One more thing here I'm not asking for any of your money.


    Aint been to church since I don't know when
    Don't think I'll be going back again
    I've heard the rumors and I've seen the news
    These preachers are all insane

    I like the sound of a good blues band
    A glass of whiskey or a pipe in my hand
    If there's a god and I'm not saying it's true
    I think he'd like me when I'm high

    Don't play me, betray me
    Don't push me down unless you wanna go to
    We're only different in your head
    Stop lying denying, don't need the crap that your putting us through
    Wont make no difference if we're dead

    Its the end of the old way
    Its the start of a new day
    Lets just forget where we came from
    We've all had some rough luck
    Some hard times and tough luck
    Lets hope for better things to come

    I sang the hymns and went to Sunday school
    But that's not where I learned the golden rule
    I've seem people do some real bad things
    I'll remember till I die

    We all do things, think no ones around
    But someone sees and tries to push us down
    The same people think they have not sinned
    But they all have things to hide

    Don't play me, betray me
    Don't push me down unless you wanna go to
    We're only different in your head
    Stop lying denying, don't need the crap that your putting us through
    Wont make no difference if we're dead

    Its the end of the old way
    Its the start of a new day
    Lets just forget where we came from
    We've all had some rough luck
    Some hard times and tough luck
    Lets hope for better things to come

    Aint it enough to love your fellow man
    Treat those around you as good as you can
    We make mistakes and you know its true
    But that's as perfect as we'll ever be
    As perfect as we'll ever be

    Its the end of the old way
    Its the start of a new day
    Lets just forget where we came from
    We've all had some rough luck
    Some hard times and tough luck
    Lets hope for better things to come

    Aint been to church since I don't know when
    Aint never going back again
    I've heard the rumors and I've seen the news
    These preachers are all insane

    From THE CHURCH OF BILL and the pulpit of
    The Blindman

  19. Douglas Wiken 2013.12.20

    The Prairie Unpreacher strikes again.l

  20. Bill Dithmer 2013.12.20

    DW Unpreacher,

    One who refuses to believe in the un-believable

    One who understands those that have un-believed in their old faiths. "Reformed religious fanatics."

    One who brings to the pulpit stories of un-spiritual things, un-believable, and un-holy things.

    One who believes in un-prejudices against individual people, but not their imaginary friends.

    And one who remains to be, un on his knees, un-bowed, and un-repentant, because there is nobody to kneel to, bow to, or repent to. Or if there is I've not seen, heard, or smelled him, her, or it.

    Free at last, free at last, thank the black lesbian and her partner with the adopted kids, "and Phil from Duck Dynasty," I'm free at last.

    The Blindman

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