"God's plan": These GOP candidates claim the Almighty wants them to run

You can't say God doesn't have a sense of humor!

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published July 22, 2015 4:46PM (EDT)

  (AP/Alonzo Adams/Reuters/Steve Nesius/<a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-138841p1.html'>WDG Photo</a> via <a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/'>Shutterstock</a>/Photo montage by Salon)
(AP/Alonzo Adams/Reuters/Steve Nesius/WDG Photo via Shutterstock/Photo montage by Salon)

For a lot of the 16 presidential candidates vying to become the next Commander-in-Chief, the decision to run for higher office was not a political calculation but rather a divine calling from above. Here are 6 Republicans who claim that God called on them to run for President:

Scott Walker

The Wisconsin governor describes his presidential bid as "God's plan," explaining that his political decisions are guided by God, not voters. “My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life,” Walker explained in his first official appeal for donations. In a letter sent to supporters on the day Walker announced his presidential campaign, the ultra-conservative described his leadership as guided by religion rather than politics. "Our country is at a crossroads and we need a proven conservative leader who is not afraid to fight for what is right -- even when it’s not politically expedient,” Walker wrote. “My decisions are guided by my relationship with God -- not by what might win me a few votes”: (emphasis not added)

My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life. Each day I pray and then take time to read from the Bible and from a devotional named Jesus Calling.

As you can imagine, the months leading up to my announcement that I would run for President of the United States were filled with a lot of prayer and soul searching.

Here’s why: I needed to be certain that running was God’s calling -- not just man’s calling. I am certain: This is God’s plan for me and I am humbled to be a candidate for President of the United States.

John Kasich 

John Kasich waited for a message from God before becoming the 16th Republican to enter the presidential race this week. During an appearance on NBC's  "Meet The Press" earlier this year, Gov. Kasich explained to host Chuck Todd that he was exploring what the the Lord wants before to deciding to enter the race:

My family is a consideration, and number two, the most important thing is, what does the Lord want me to do with my life? You know, he puts us on Earth, all of us on Earth, to achieve certain purposes, and I’m trying to determine if this is what the Lord wants, and I’m not going to figure that out laying in bed hoping lightning strikes, so I’m out there one foot in front of another. We’ll see what happens.

Ben Carson

“I believe God will make it clear to me if that’s something I’m supposed to do,” Ben Carson told Fox News last August, adding that he would run "if God grabbed him by the collar and asked him to run." The conservative neurosurgeon, who has never held elected office, captured the attention of Republicans after he delivered a blistering rebuke of President Obama during the White House Prayer Breakfast in 2013. When asked directly by CBN News if God had pushed him into the 2016 race, Carson responded, "I feel fingers. But it's mostly me."

Rick Perry

In 2011,  Texas Gov. Rick Perry recieved a lot of attention for his family's unique relationship with God. His wife, Anita, likened him to Moses, describing his decision to run as heeding signs from above. “He didn’t want to hear a thing about running for president,” she explained. “He felt like he needed to see the burning bush. I said ‘Look, let me tell you something. You may not see that burning bush, but there are people seeing that burning bush for you.’” Later, Perry told CNN, “I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do. This is what America needs," before telling a radio host he decided to run after a message from God:

And then this just entire organic buildup of people who basically said, you know, for whatever reason, we're not comfortable with the host of people who are coming forward to say they want to be the next president of the United States. And we look at your record, we look you and we want you to do this. And it has been an incredible outpouring and I can tell you that has given me the calmness in my soul that, you know, God sends messages through a lot of ways and through a lot of messengers.

Rick Santorum

Like Perry, Rick Santorum's family also had a divine understanding of what compelled his presidential ambitions. The former Pennsylvania senator's wife, Karen, told CBN News in 2011 that her husband's candidacy was about "defending God’s truth in the world," explaining that "it really boils down to God's will. What is it that God wants? ... We have prayed a lot about this decision, and we believe with all our hearts that this is what God wants."

Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is an outspoken Evangelical pastor who often talks of how his faith influences his politics. During an appearance on a Chrisitan television program earlier this year, Huckabee asked the audience to pray for God's blessings as he decides whether to run for president:

And whether it’s me or someone else, and I do ask people to pray. For me, this is not just a political or financial decision, it is a spiritual decision. You know, the only thing worse than not being elected president would be to be elected president without God’s blessing. I can’t think of a worse place in the world to be than in the Oval Office without God’s hand upon you. I’d rather not get near the place. But if that’s a purpose, so be it. And that’s my prayer.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Elections Ben Carson Gop John Kasich Religion Rick Perry Scott Walker