Religion-politics mix proves perilous

Tricky for both pastors and politicians
Mitt Romney and his Mormon faith. Mike Huckabee and his “Christian leader” ads. John McCain and John Hagee. Hillary Clinton and her “prayer warriors.” Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. The 2008 election has featured an extraordinary emphasis on religion.

“There’s been more religious ferment in this election than any since 1960,” said Ralph Reed, the GOP strategist who helped build the Christian Coalition in the 1990s, “and I don’t expect that to come to an end.”

But the past couple of months have demonstrated—to a degree not seen in previous elections—that the intersection of religion and politics can be fraught with peril for pastors and politicians.

Illinois Democrat Obama resigned from Trinity United Church of Christ, the Chicago congregation he’s called home for 20 years, after fiery, racially tinged sermons by the now-retired Jeremiah Wright and a visiting white Catholic priest, Michael Pfleger.


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