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?
Kellerian leftists shudder at the prospect of "irrational" and "reality-challenged" conservative Christians who question leftist dogma on global warming and evolution and who, they ludicrously believe, would turn America into a Christian theocracy. They want them nowhere near the seats of governmental power.
But what's irrational is their fear that Christians are enemies of religious liberty and advocates of theocracy. Never mind the strong Christian influence on America's founding. Never mind that most of America's presidents have been professing Christians. Liberty has no greater ally than believing Christians of all stripes.
If reality is their concern, why don't these leftists, instead of focusing on fantastic fears that a certain type of Christian president might shut down religious liberty, turn their attention to a president who is shutting down the economy? That's reality. Why don't they inquire into the realism of Barack Obama and his team of economic advisers, what's left of them, stubbornly clinging to an economic agenda that is manifestly destroying our economy and bankrupting our nation? Why don't they question the stability and rationality of a president who won't take responsibility for his policies, continues to scapegoat his predecessor and is preparing yet another speech, even as we speak, to promote the very same reckless spending policies that have driven this nation into a financial ditch?
I doubt that Keller is much interested in the answers to the questions he demands be raised of Perry and Bachmann. He thinks he already knows the answers but wants to incite fear in us about them. He seems more interested in smearing certain candidates with the slanderous innuendo of his questions, such as the preposterous ones designed to suggest that certain candidates are theocrats who believe Southern slavery was a good thing.
The reality is that throughout our history, the halls of American government have teemed with Bible-believing Christians, and they've never pushed for theocracy. Ironically, it is leftists who are far likelier to use the power of government to selectively suppress political and religious liberties. They are the ones behind the Fairness Doctrine, network neutrality rules, campus speech codes and preventing certain ideas from being presented, alongside all others, in public classrooms.
Once again, our leftist friends are projecting. They are the ones showing their religious bigotry and proselytizing us to adopt their secularist worldview.