The New York Times' executive editor, Bill Keller, in a piece in The New York Times Magazine, argues that presidential candidates should be asked tough questions about their faith. Keller wants to know whether a candidate will place "fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon ... or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country" and "whether a president respects serious science and verifiable history." He wants to make sure "religious doctrine" does not become "an excuse to exclude my fellow citizens from the rights and protections our country promises." His colleague, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, followed up with a hit piece on "Republicans Against Science."
Keller is insatiably curious about whether Rick Perry subscribes to beliefs of certain pastors who endorse him and about Michele Bachmann's "mentors who preach the literal 'inerrancy' of the Bible, who warn Christians to be suspicious of ideas that come from non-Christians, who believe homosexuality is an 'abomination,' who portray the pre-Civil War South as a pretty nice place for slaves and who advocate 'Dominionism,' the view that Christians and only Christians should preside over earthly institutions."
It doesn't bother me if the media vet presidential candidates on their religious beliefs and associations, provided equal scrutiny is applied to all of them, including closet secularists. One's worldview invariably informs his political views, and information about those worldviews can't hurt.
But Keller's concern isn't with the religious beliefs of all candidates, only Christians, and not all Christians, just those who take the Bible seriously. He doesn't seem to have any problem with the religious beliefs of non-Christians or about charlatans who opportunistically pass themselves off as Christians. Wouldn't an objective reporter have as much interest in someone fraudulently proclaiming a certain faith as he does in one who sincerely professes a faith he finds repugnant?
Did President Obama, for example, subscribe to the noxious political and religious beliefs of his pastor Jeremiah Wright? If not, why did he attend church there for 20 years and have his children baptized in that church? If so, shouldn't Keller's leftist ilk have followed up on why Obama agrees with Wright? Is it merely accidental that Keller's candidate-faith anxiety is centered on conservative Christian candidates Bachmann and Perry?