Some Thoughts About Religion in Politics

Romney’s speech the other day, plus some scattered reports that God may be endorsing Huckabee this time around just like he endorsed GW in 2000, has me thinking about a very delicate question. Its supposed to be, well, indelicate if not discriminatory, to take into a account a candidate’s religious beliefs when making a decision. I don’t think that applies to atheism – we’re still allowed to not vote on them because of their beliefs. And Muslims too, as well as folks who can’t figure out how to make their faiths distinguishable from Islam to the average American, like Hindus and Sikhs and, in many parts of the country, Jews. I think its also acceptable to discriminate against pagans – they’re supposed to be anti-Christian anyway, and then there are Buddhists and…

OK, so maybe we’re not supposed to discriminate among the various branches of Christianity, or at least we’re not supposed to discriminate against people who call themselves Christians.

But what if they believe in something that every single one of us would agree is absolutely crazy? What if a candidate calls him or herself Christian, but also espouses a view that Jesus came back as Elvis, has gone on hiatus, and will return in four years with an army of space aliens and Yetis to battle the Loch Ness Monster? Presumably, it is acceptable to say aloud that we will vote against such a candidate for reasons of his/her belief alone.

But according to many branches of Christianity, the views of the LDS and other branches of Christianity are just as crazy. What is the dividing line – at what point is it acceptable to say: “Nope – what this person believes in is just too out there for him or her to get my vote”? Is any view acceptable as long as it is sufficiently close to the majority belief?