One might ask, and some of McDonald’s critics have, what is wrong in having a group of people motivated by conservative religious principles engaging in public life? The answer is that there is nothing wrong with it, but it is also completely legitimate for a journalist to cover that phenomenon, as McDonald has done. If religious faith were simply a matter of personal piety or private devotion, it would demand far less scrutiny. But faith is inherently social, and, yes, political. Ultimately, the question to be answered is where these people want to move our nation. I believe that they want a leaner and meaner state where individuals and religiously based organizations take back much of the responsibility for education, adoptions, social welfare and many other services, and do it on their own terms. On these and other policies, whether it is their response to global warming, to crime, or to our government’s policy toward Israel, the religious right can be judged both on what it says and what it does.
Dennis Gruending is, of course, this guy.