The Blog

The God Gap

Republicans and Democrats talk about the religious gulf between the parties.

7:20 PM, Sep 1, 2004 • By TERRY EASTLAND
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Third, that the most serious charge you can lay against the Bush campaign is that it disrespects the church. Casey and Podesta complained about the campaign's effort to get Bush supporters in Pennsylvania who go to conservative churches to send back to Washington church directories that would then be mined for names and addresses of people who are presumptively likely to vote for Bush, assuming they are registered to vote and got out to vote on Election Day, things the campaign would be delighted to help you with, starting now. Casey objected on grounds that the church ought to be left to be the church, and that a campaign shouldn't be encouraging members of a church to see it as an instrument of partisan politics. Richard Land, the Southern Baptist and one of Bush's most ardent supporters, has made the same objection. Of course, more than a few Democratic politicians have taken an instrumental view of black churches. And you could say that in these endeavors both parties are acting politically, which is what you'd expect them to do. Still, a due respect for churches qua churches would counsel against such efforts. It would be interesting to know what Bush knows about the church-directory project, and also what his view of the church is.

Terry Eastland is publisher of The Weekly Standard.