Today's Seattle Times features an op-ed column by David P. Barash, a psychology professor at the University of Washington, who argues that religious faith in a candidate for public office should be seen as a liability, not an asset. It is a welcome breath of fresh air, seeing that discussion of presidential candidates has focused only on whether they are too religious, or the right kind of religious, rather than asking whether they should be religious at all.
My only niggle with the piece is that Barash uncritically refers to the assertion allegedly made by president Bush in 2003 that "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did." This purported quote is of highly dubious provenance, being based on a note made by Mahmoud Abbas in Arabic, presumably based on a translation into Arabic of something Bush said in English, and then translated back into English, possibly via Hebrew. In my book, it doesn't even rate as hearsay, but it keeps getting repeated as if it were gospel. However, the precise details do not detract from Barash's point, given that Bush does emphasize his religious convictions at every opportunity.
Read the whole thing.