Take Bachmann's (and other candidates') religious beliefs seriously, columnist urges
July 18, 2011
David Mills of First Things offers a balanced analysis of the manufactured controversy surrounding Rep. Michele Bachmann and her former membership in a Lutheran church whose statement of faith identified the papacy with the Antichrist.
Bachmann is a presidential candidate, and her religious beliefs are relevant to any consideration of her candidacy, Mills says. But the beliefs of her church should not be surprising to anyone who knows the history of the Lutheran Church:
Lutherans don't think much of the pope? Well, who'da thought? So what about those Red Sox? Most Catholics long ago adjusted themselves to the theological peculiarities of Protestant politicians.
Mills is troubled by the notion that Bachmann could be persuaded to soft-pedal her religious beliefs. Presidential candidates should be forthright, he argues, and rely on the common sense of American voters to distinguish between traditional credal statements and extremist stands. "We want to know what they believe," he reasons, "so that we'll have some idea what they'll do."
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