Sunday, February 3, 2008

Politicians Not Shy of Talking Up Religion

U.S. politicians are not shy of talking about their religion and regularly appear in church.

In recent decades, part of the American political drama has been scripted by the "religious right" -- mostly white evangelical Protestants united by strong opposition to abortion and gay marriage who have been a key base of support for the Republican Party.

Republican hopeful Mike Huckabee, who scooped up strong evangelical support but whose campaign is fading ahead of next Tuesday's nominating contests across the country, is a Baptist preacher who peppers his speeches with Biblical allusions.

Mitt Romney is a Mormon who was moved to address questions about his faith in a speech in December. John McCain has long sought to smooth relations after including leaders of the religious right among those he called "agents of intolerance" during his failed presidential bid in 2000.

The leading Democratic presidential contenders have also been open and candid about their faith.

That faith, and that of the Republican candidates, is Christian, although candidates have also spoken about the need for religious tolerance.

A false rumor that has circulated on the Internet about Democratic candidate Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, is that he is Muslim who has lied about his religion. The rumor appears to illustrate the importance some voters attach to a candidate being Christian.

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