There is nothing really wrong with this Associated Press report by Tom Raum. Honest.
But it does rather leave you wondering if the editors who wrote this and, especially, wrote the headline were around at the time of the 2000 and 2004 "pew gap" elections. Also, there has been an ocean of ink spilled on this topic in the past year.
I think we have reached the point where this headline -- at the Washington Post site -- is an understatement worthy of a chuckle: "Religion Looms Large Over 2008 Race."
You think? You think that religion is an issue for the candidates, even beyond Gov. Mitt Romney?
Religion has not played so prominent a role in a U.S. national election since 1960, when John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic to be elected president. And it's not only Romney under scrutiny. All the Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls have been grilled on their religious beliefs. Most seem eager to talk publicly about their faith as they actively court religious voters.
Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton emphasizes her Methodist upbringing and says her faith helped her repair her marriage.
Chief rival Sen. Barack Obama frequently uses the language of religion and proclaims a "personal relationship" with Jesus Christ. The Illinois Democrat -- whose middle name is "Hussein" -- scoffs at suggestions of Muslim leanings because he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. He is a member of the United Church of Christ.
And so forth and so on, through virtually the entire list of candidates on both sides of the political and church aisle. It's a nice, crisp summary.
Oh, and did you hear that Southern evangelicals have become more politically active? There's this thing out there called the Religious Right! Really!
Art: It's a two-fer. Back by popular demand.