The internet and media are suddenly abuzz about the role of religion in the presidential primary. The discussion centers primarily on Romney and Huckabee. Romney’s Religion Speech a few weeks ago brought the topic to the fore (fascinating commentary by Comm Scholar Josh Gunn here. Fair warning for my non-academic readers: cites Levinas.), and Huckabee’s rise also solicits a lot of discussion about the role of religion, given his background as a Baptist Minister. Frank Rich wrote a really interesting piece in the Times this week about the kind of religious perspectives both of these people espouse (and how they are hostile to non-religious or secularists, which is pretty terrifying for democracy even if you think religion is important).
There also has been some discussion about whether or not questioning political candidates if they believe the bible qualifies as a religious test. Christopher Hitchens reminds us that the constitution is not talking about how individuals should decide who to vote for, but about official rules for who can take office.
I tend to side with Frank Rich – I’m quite nervous when anyone makes statements that are hostile to any people, regardless of their faith OR the lack thereof. While the