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A couple of years ago when Dave Bigler spoke at the Utah state history meeting (an address that was edited before publication in the Utah Historical Quarterly), he claimed that Brigham Young believed so strongly in the imminent apocalypse that he deliberately triggered the Utah War in order to trigger the end times.

That's the kind of gross distortion and misunderstanding of belief in prophecy that the "Christian ethicist" in your linked article expresses toward the possibility of a conservative Christian "having a finger on the nuclear button."

I won't be voting for McCain and thought Palin gave one of the worst political speeches I've ever heard, but still, it scares me when what is being attacked in the linked article is religion, not politics. Unbelievers think we can't tell the difference, when in fact it's they who most often conflate the two when they look from the outside in.

I don't know how accurate the WSJ piece is, but if indeed Sarah Palin believes that "God put President George W. Bush in office and that America is locked in a "holy war" with terrorists," isn't that relevant info? Does it somehow become off limits because it's a religious belief?

(This isn't just a Palin thing...I think the teachings at Obama's church are possibly relevant, as well. And of course Osama Bin Ladin's religious beliefs are important to understanding his politics.)

Relevant AP article with link to a video of Palin's speech at said church:

Palin: Iraq War a "task from God"

As ed points out, this is a very difficult question, because religion and politics are, in the end, both about values. I have a hard time separating my religious and political beliefs, so why should I expect that it is easier for Mitt or Sarah or Barak to do so? One problem, however, is that you cannot assume that since Mitt and I are both Mormons, we will see the world the same way, or would make the same policy decisions. I am pretty sure that is not true, assuming that Mitt sticks with his most recent incarnation as a right-winger.

I think you're on to something, fifthgen. The use of religion as a disqualifier uses a simplified and stereotyped description of a denomination's or religion's beliefs, which are then pasted on to the candidate -- with little or no consideration of what that candidate as an individual actually believes or thinks. It seems more about labels than actual beliefs. Sad that it can sometimes still be so effective.

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