The cover of The Economist a few months back featured Barack Obama and John McCain, deeming their candidacies, “America at its Best.” If only that were so in terms of religion and politics. Here’s the latest example of inappropriate campaigning.

According to the Los Angeles Times, an October 11th McCain rally began with Rev. Arnold Conrad’s invocation, which quickly devolved into an appeal for God to help McCain defeat Obama. The reverend simultaneously made McCain the candidate of God and showed a fundamental misunderstanding of world religions by warning that millions of people are praying to “Hindu, Buddha, Allah” that McCain loses. On the off chance that the reverend is reading this, allow me to help out: Buddhists do not consider Buddha to be a god and there is no deity in Hinduism named “Hindu.”

Rev. Conrad even managed to suggest that God’s reputation was at stake, to be determined by the election’s outcome.

This is a prime example of religion being hijacked for an inappropriate political purpose. I’m getting really tired of people trying to tell me which candidate, military campaign or piece of legislation has God’s backing. I’m tempted to send Rev. Conrad a copy of Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions, for the sake of his congregants and our national discourse.

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