has learned that an immensely powerful out-of-state force may be quietly backing a minor-party candidate in the tightening race for U.S. senator.

Apparently, the Lord God Almighty has reportedly thrown His weight not behind incumbent Gordon Smith, a Mormon, nor behind Democrat challenger Bill Bradbury, a Quaker, but rather behind Constitution Party candidate Lon Mabon, the founder of the Oregon Citizens Alliance.

"I sense God's hand in this effort," Mabon wrote last month in a fundraising letter to drum up support for his candidacy. "And I sense that the timing is His. I have not been this sure about something since I married Bonnie Jean.

"Therefore, in obedience to Him and to bring glory to His name, we now set forth to win this race to which He has called us."

The endorsement, such as it is, comes after a spate of setbacks. Mabon has not chalked up a significant political victory since 1988, the OCA is bankrupt, and the Kaiser of Keizer was jailed this spring for contempt of court.

These reversals have only reinforced Mabon's resolve. Declaring that "the Lord called me" to be the nominee of the Constitution Party, he has pledged to outlaw abortion, to struggle against "the homosexual agenda" and to fight the "marxist/socialist organization" known as the United Nations--which, Mabon notes, is "completely pagan in that they worship the goddess gaia."

WW was unable to reach UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan or God for comment.

To read Mabon's fundraising letter, go to www.wweek.com/web/lonforsenate.html .