Candidates' Faith Is Our Business
Candidates need to answer clearly about their religious beliefs
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2011 2:36 PM CDT
Rick Perry speaks from the Des Moines Register's Soapbox while visiting the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 15.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – It's time to "get over" our squeamishness of talking frankly about religion in public life, especially when so many Republicans running for their party's presidential nomination have such unusual and strong religious beliefs, says Bill Keller in the New York Times. Two are Mormons, and three others are associated with particularly enthusiastic branches of evangelical Christianity. "If a candidate for president said he believed that space aliens dwell among us, would that affect your willingness to vote for him?" Keller asks.

It's not about religion itself. "Every faith has its baggage, and every faith holds beliefs that will seem bizarre to outsiders," writes the Catholic-raised Keller. "But I do want to know if a candidate places fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon ... or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country." The big issue, for Keller, is to ask hard questions and demand specific answers. "And I care a lot if a candidate is going to be a Trojan horse for a sect that believes it has divine instructions on how we should be governed."