Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons. Michele Bachmann believes that, based on biblical principles, she must be submissive to her husband. Rick Perry held a major prayer rally in Houston shortly before announcing his candidacy this summer.
All those topics have been part of some discussion at one time or another in the early stages of the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. But there seems to be an ulterior motivation for those discussions, according to National Review columnist Mark Steyn.
On his weekly appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Thursday evening, Steyn agreed with the proposition that questions at the Republican presidential debates and forums regarding candidates’ religious beliefs were nothing more than effort to embarrass them.
“I think that’s all that’s going on,” Steyn said. “Nobody is really interested in any serious, meaningful theological discussion. The point is to raise the subject to tell secular independents or post-Christian members of the Congregational Church and the Episcopalian Church that these people are slightly freaky-deaky, way out of your comfort zone on this subject. And so it’s about hanging a label around them. And that’s what, in fact, a lot of the nonsense in the Republican debates is about. It’s not theological exploration or all the rest of it.”
Steyn said this was particularly true since the bizarre answers the current commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama, gave during his 2008 campaign involving his interpretation of what constitutes sin.
“I mean, you could go back to Obama’s thing,” he continued. “Obama gave the most ludicrous answer to that when he said his definition of sin was out of being out of alignment with my values, as he put it — quote, ‘my values.’ In other words, Barack Obama worships at the first church of himself. And that’s a stupid answer, but nobody even worries about that because nobody is trying to hang around his neck a label saying ‘this guy is outside your comfort zone’ on these matters.”
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Host Hugh Hewitt noted how irrelevant the subject matter was in the grand scheme with all the much more serious threats the country is facing. Steyn agreed and suggested the questions were part of some ill-advised fetish from the moderators to humiliate candidates in front of the audience for having religious convictions.
“I think that’s why the candidates need to demonstrate contempt for the questions,” Steyn said. “We’ve got $15 trillion of debt. The government is spending $4 trillion while raising $2 trillion. That’s unprecedented in human history. It’s going to be catastrophic. Meanwhile round the world, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Russians smell weakness at the heart of the crumbling super power and sense opportunity. So to have these ludicrous, stilted, hideous debates where kind of uptight, secular, snobbish liberals pursue their own kind of weird, freaky obsessions is a complete waste of time for the most part.”