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Blind Spot

Tim Lee agrees that Huckabee is a competitive general election candidate, and he makes an excellent point about Huckabee’s religiosity:

I think a lot of members of the liberal (and libertarian) secular elite have a weird blind spot when it comes to religion and religious rhetoric in politics. They tend to find sincere religious sentiments so alien that anyone who is conversant with the language of faith sounds nutty to them. But like it or not, this is still a predominantly religious country, and lots of voters respond well to religious rhetoric of the non-angry variety. I personally find it every bit as off-putting as Matt does, but we’re in the minority.

It’s not such a weird blind spot when you think about it.  When religion seems to you to have little or no relevant or meaningful application to public life, you almost have to assume that anyone employing such rhetoric or actually pursuing policies on account of religious teachings is either totally cynical or a crazed theocrat (or perhaps, in the view of some secular observers, both at the same time).  The idea that religious politics need not be either utterly vacuous or profoundly threatening to society contradicts a raft of assumptions that secular people have about the intersection of religion and politics.  These people have also become so accustomed to the anodyne generic theism of our Presidents that it is jarring to them to hear someone cite Scripture with fluency and some modicum of understanding.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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