The Presidential candidates seem to be pushing back against the media's desire to unearth their religious beliefs. When two of the arguably most religious GOP candidates begin rejecting questions about their religion, you know something's going on. Here's two quick examples:
Mike Huckabee, quoted in an AP article Huckabee Won't Give Views on Mormonism, carried by Beliefnet:
"I'm just not going to go off into evaluating other people's doctrines
and faiths. I think that is absolutely not a role for a president," the
former Arkansas governor said during a week in which religion has
become an important issue in the Republican presidential race,
particularly in Iowa.
And Mitt Romney, in an interview on NPR, quoted in a post Asking the right questions over at Get Religion (interviewer in italic, Romney in normal):
One last point: In the CNN-You Tube debate,
there was a moment when one of the people who submitted a question
asked all the candidates whether they believed in every word of the
Bible, and two of your rivals — Mayor [Rudolph] Giuliani and Gov.
[Mike] Huckabee — both made a point of saying, “Well, in some parts
it’s allegorical, in some parts it should be interpreted, but yet, I
believe in the Bible.
And you seemed — if I read you right — to make a point of
saying it’s the word of God, and even when considering some
modification, you backed up, said, “No, I’ll just stick with that. It’s
the word of God.” [That] left the impression — and I want to ask you —
do you hold a literal belief, say, in the Genesis version of creation?
You know, I find it hard to believe that NPR is going to inquire on
people’s beliefs about various parts of the Bible in evaluating
presidential candidates, and actually, I don’t know that that’s where
America has come to — that you want to have us describing our
particular beliefs with regards to Genesis and the Book of Revelations,
I raise Genesis only because creationism is a national issue in a variety of ways, and —
Well, but then you could ask me a question and say, “Do you believe
that we should teach creationism in our schools, in our science classes
and so forth?” and I’m happy to give you an answer to that. But I don’t
know that going through books of the Bible and asking, “Well, do you
believe this book? And do you believe these words?”, that that’s
terribly productive. Particularly when we face global jihad, when we
have 47 million people without health insurance, when we have runaway
costs in our entitlements, to be asking presidential candidates about
their specific beliefs of books of the Bible is, in my view, something
which really isn’t part of the process which we should be using to
My point is the Bible is the word of God, and I try and live by it.
I particularly like Romney's distinction here – he's glad to answer questions about the role of religion in public policy or of religion-based issues such as prayer in school or teaching creationism. But he does not believe talking religion for religion's sake is relevant for a presidential campaign. And I agree. We're electing a president, not a pastor.