The faith factor

Religion in the voting booth
The role of religion in the presidential campaign was summed up by Associated Press religion writer Eric Gorski in an article headlined “Religion Used to Divide, Mock in ’08.” Lamenting the low level of discussion of religion, Gorski ran through a YouTubed array of controversies, from the inflammatory preachings of Jeremiah Wright and John Hagee to Mike Huckabee’s thoughts on whether Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers to a witch-hunting Kenyan pastor’s prayer over Sarah Palin.

Such exhibition and exploitation of religion, wrote Martin Marty, is “bad for the name of religion itself, for religious institutions, for a fair reading of sacred texts, for sundered religious communities, for swaggering religious communities which are too sure of themselves, for the pursuit of virtue.”

That may be. But behind the religious carnival of the 2008 presidential campaign was a story of critical importance to the next chapter of American politics.


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