The "Christian Candidate"

Huckabee has exploited Romney’s Mormonism with an egregious subtlety. Huckabee is running a very effective ad in Iowa about religion. “Faith doesn’t just influence me,” he says on camera, “it really defines me.” The ad then hails him as a “Christian leader.”

Forget the implications of the idea that being a “Christian leader” is some special qualification for the presidency of a country whose Constitution (Article VI) explicitly rejects any religious test for office. Just imagine that Huckabee were running one-on-one in Iowa against Joe Lieberman. (It’s a thought experiment. Stay with me.) If he had run the same ad in those circumstances, it would have raised an outcry. The subtext — who’s the Christian in this race? — would have been too obvious to ignore, the appeal to bigotry too clear.

I'm normally quite tolerant of our religious brethren on the right. This sort of thing makes me less so.

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