The race for the White House may have ended months ago, but the campaign is still reverberating. See for example this story from the Huffington Post about John McCain’s campaign manager:

Speaking publicly for one of the first times since the end of the presidential campaign, John McCain’s campaign manager Steve Schmidt painted a dire portrait of the state of the Republican Party, arguing that the GOP has largely been co-opted by its religious elements.

“If you put public policy issues to a religious test, you risk becoming a religious party,” Schmidt declared. “And in a free country, a political party cannot be viable in the long term if it is seen as a sectarian party.”

We agree. Sectarian parties (whether liberal or conservative in ideology) are harmful to the sanctity of religion and the integrity of government. And it’s refreshing to hear that some Republicans feel the same way.

But at the same time, I can’t help but notice that Mr. Schmidt used religion as a campaign tactic, much like past political campaigns. Remember the campaign commercial called The One? But to be fair, President Obama’s campaign also used religion as a political tool as well. He printed campaign brochure describing himself as a Committed Christian, as if that were a constitutional requirement for someone running for the White House.

There is plenty of blame to go around. I just hope that the next campaign that Steve Schmidt works on he makes a genuine commitment to changing the way religion is used (or abused) in the political process. But we can’t change the political process without frank admissions of uncomfortable truths such as what Schmidt just said. This is a great first step.

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