Bill Murchison

"Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Santorum," avers Keller, "are all affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity, which has raised concern about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact from fiction." Leave aside Keller's accidental merger of the Roman Catholic Church (to which Santorum belongs) with the evangelical underground. Who, to begin with, feels "concern" over the prospect of coupling church and state? Keller feels concern, that's who. If he feels it, the rest of us - apparently -- should feel it, too. What baleful plans the aforementioned candidates may have for us he doesn't quite say. He implies. He nudges. Whatever it is, if it's too religious, it can't be good.

Mercy! Isn't it enough, the continual whining from the left about the awfulness of religion that takes itself seriously? A religion that doesn't take itself seriously -- that's one thing. You can always depend on a certain kind of doctor-of-divinity to back down, apologize and slink away to obscurity.

Ah, but a religion that takes itself seriously; that, more to the point, takes God seriously, is in Keller-ian terms a social menace.

People who believe in truth can't be trusted. What the candidates need to believe, it seems, in order to be counted as good, well-rounded 21st century Americans, is that truth is a fiction: a convenience for talking about wacky ideas. Alternatively, if in consonance with all the great civilizational traditions, they believe truth is real, they ought to keep it to themselves.

Whatever they think, the candidates have duly been warned. Bill Keller is scrutinizing them for signs of unhealthy interest in spiritual matters. And watch that head bowing. Got it, folks?

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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