Answering the Questions

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Bill Keller of the New York Times is asking the Republican presidential candidates questions about religion. Because I’ve hit a wall on a column, I figured I’d take a stab at answering even though I’m not running for anything.

1. Fair or unfair has nothing to do with it. People can ask whatever they want, and voters can judge candidates based on how and whether they answer.

2. See 1.

3. Historically, demographically, culturally: Yes, to varying degrees. Constitutionally, no. Theologically, not applicable.

4. Pretty hard to conceive of any such conflict. At no point does the Constitution command I take any action my faith forbids, nor does it forbid any action my faith commands.

5. No and no.

6. I’ll count anyone who calls himself a Christian as a Christian. Neither candidate’s Mormonism strikes me as a reason to vote for or against him.

7. I think it’s a tiny and misguided group that liberal journalists love to write about.

8. I believe it is true, I think the public schools should teach it, and do not believe the president should have any influence over the matter.

9. I have no views on this question but, again, don’t believe it ought to be a federal issue.

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