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Why Are Religious Beliefs Off Limits?

A month ago I wrote a piece making fun of Newt Gingrich's wild ideas about space exploration. In the interest of fairness, it is time to make fun of what are now the two leading Republican candidates ideas, not about space, but about heaven.

One might think that the religious beliefs of political candidates should remain off limits in public discourse. I don't think so, at least not when candidates wear their religion on their sleeves.

Candidates should have the right to keep their religious views private, but in the current climate essentially none of them actually do so. Rick Santorum has gone so far as to argue that John Kennedy's strict confirmation of the separation of church and state, which many consider one of the pillars of American democracy, should be discarded. In this case, it is all the more important to explore his theological views.

More generally, should we not be able to question whether the beliefs of the religion publicly espoused by a candidate may reflect on candidate's judgment and their ability to distinguish sense from nonsense? Why is it acceptable to dissect Newt Gingrich's fanciful plans for making the Moon a 51st state but not his implicit suggestion that Pope John Paul II was responsible, via divine intervention, for the fall of communism?
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TAGGED: POLITICS, RELIGION


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