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August 25, 2011

Bill Keller Of The NY Times Wants His Readers To Know Most Of The GOP Candidates Are Crazy Religious Nuts

Via Byron York.

There's way too much stupid for a full Fisking, so just a few highlights.

This year’s Republican primary season offers us an important opportunity to confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life — and to get over them. We have an unusually large number of candidates, including putative front-runners, who belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons, a faith that many conservative Christians have been taught is a “cult” and that many others think is just weird. (Huntsman says he is not “overly religious.”) Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are all affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity, which has raised concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction.

We need to get over, "our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life"?

Put aside for a moment the fact that liberals, and that's the "us" Keller is talking to and about, have never had any such scruples when it comes to Republicans. What Keller is really saying is, GOP office seekers with strong religious beliefs better not bring their faith to bear on public matters but they can be damn sure we liberals are going to smear them with our misunderstanding and misrepresentations about that faith.

I don't know anything about Perry or Bachamnn's religion but Rick Santorum is a Roman Catholic. That Keller, who says he was raised Catholic, thinks that's a "fervid subset of evangelical Christianity" tells you far more about Keller's view of religion than any beliefs a candidate may or may not hold.

I honestly don’t care if Mitt Romney wears Mormon undergarments beneath his Gap skinny jeans, or if he believes that the stories of ancient American prophets were engraved on gold tablets and buried in upstate New York, or that Mormonism’s founding prophet practiced polygamy (which was disavowed by the church in 1890). Every faith has its baggage, and every faith holds beliefs that will seem bizarre to outsiders. I grew up believing that a priest could turn a bread wafer into the actual flesh of Christ.

But I do want to know if a candidate places fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon (the text, not the Broadway musical) or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country. It matters to me whether a president respects serious science and verifiable history — in short, belongs to what an official in a previous administration once scornfully described as “the reality-based community.” I do care if religious doctrine becomes an excuse to exclude my fellow citizens from the rights and protections our country promises.

First, nice way to repeat Andrew "Where's the Placenta?" Sullivan's Mormon underwear talking point.

More importantly, Keller is saying Christian candidates who talk about their faith must demonstrate to him (and presumably NY Times readers) that their religious beliefs don't disqualify them from public service.

Imagine if someone said that that about a personal who was say, oh just to pick a religion at random, a Muslim. I'm sure the NY Times would consider that a legitimate line of inquiry.

Oh wait, someone did and guess what? The NY Times was not amused.

Among a dreary Republican field, Herman Cain stands out for using religious bigotry to gain political traction for his presidential ambitions.

Mr. Cain, a former pizza executive, started a few months ago by telling a reporter that he would not be comfortable with a Muslim in his cabinet. During a televised debate last month, he said his discomfort was due to the intention of some Muslims “to kill us.”

Don't question the Muslims but those crazy Christians? Questions must be asked! Aspersions must be cast! (FTR- I was not a fan of Cain's stances either)

Speaking of asking questions, there are far more questions being asked about the current GOP field than were ever asked about then Senator Obama. In fact, asking questions about Obama's beliefs or pointing out that his background isn't exactly the normal story we expect in a President is something that tends to drive the left (video link) nuts.

It seems the executive editor of the NY Times thinks candidates for President who are proud Christians are somehow "the other" and that it's not only OK but an important public service to question their beliefs.

I'm sure this fear of religion will resonate throughout the Times' Manhattan and DC home territory. Meanwhile, the Republican candidates will go on campaigning in the rest of the country where "religion" isn't a dirty word.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:29 AM

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