Religion has inserted itself into the electoral process in a number of ways. We all know the sorry state of affairs in 2004, when John Kerry was denied Communion. I also posted here previously about noted Catholic conservative Douglas Kmiec, who was denied Communion this year for the "sin" of supporting Obama! (Apparently he was since absolved.) Another Catholic pro-lifer has now come out for Obama. (Hat-tip, Franiam). Fortunately the deny-communion movement seems to be running out of steam, and we haven't heard more than a few murmers about Joe Biden.
Now, we have Sarah Palin, running for Vice President. As described in a recent LA Times article , Gov Palin is a follower of Assemblies of God, which is a conservative, pentacostalist denomination. She is rabidly anti-abortion, a young-earth creationist who won her mayoral election with the help of an activist Christianist campaign. She considers it "God's plan" to send troops to Iraq.Her Wasilla church runs an ex-gay program and Youtube is littered with disturbing videos from her pastor.
The Boston Globe comments on another story, that Wasilla under Palin was alone of towns in Alaska in charging rape victims for the "rape kits" used to collect evidence--some of which include the "morning after pill". The Globe asks,
Whether the fee-for-kits policy reflected Palin's budgetary zeal or her extreme view on abortion, voters deserve to know. As Alaska's governor in 2000, Tony Knowles, put it: "We would never bill the victim of a burglary for finger-printing and photographing the crime scene, or for the cost of gathering other evidence."Sarah Palin's religious views are completely incompatible with my political views. The thought of her establishing any sort of policy scares the beejeesus out of me. I do not find in her statements, policies, or objectives any evidence that she will provide a "big tent" of tolerance or accommodation, or that she will uphold the Constitution rather than her religious opinion.
But in Wasilla they would, if the crime was rape.
So while in the general sense, I don't think that the religious faith of a candidate should matter, clearly in the specific example, it does. It must.
Update: The Human Rights Campaign, a mainstream gay rights group, went up to Alaska to talk about Sarah Palin and her religious views of GLBT folk. Check out this Youtube video.
Update 2 More video! JCF in the comments mentions Bill Maher's interview on the Daily show on 30 Sept, discussing his new film Religulous. You can watch Part 1 of the Daily Show piece here and watch Part 2 here.