Religion and the Candidates

A characteristically elegant piece by Jeff Sharlet puts the questions about religion that journalists ought to be asking the current crop of US presidential candidates:

Let’s take their faith seriously, as seriously as we take their foreign policy platforms and their health care plans. Let’s ask the toughest questions we can. Not, “Is Obama secretly a Muslim?”; that’s a stupid question. Rather, let’s quiz McCain on his new Baptist credentials, ask Hillary why she rejects the social gospel, demand that Obama explain how, exactly, he will be “guided by prayer” in the oval office, as he boasted in a mailer to South Carolina voters. All three present their Christianity as essential to their political identities. Great; let’s find out what they know about their Christianity. I propose this not as a boost to Hillary, who’s by far the most theologically literate, nor as a slam on McCain, who may not actually know that Baptists are supposed to have been, you know, baptized. Rather, I simply want to know what they know. How about a debate in which Hillary and Obama each explain how Revelation will help them make decisions?

Such questioning is unlikely to be edifying or enlightening, but previous use of this strategy has proven to be fun to watch: