Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

perkins3.jpgGod-o-Meter’s been taken by the Family Research Council’s insistence that the McCain campaign forcefully defend Sarah Palin’s faith in the face of the scrutiny it’s received as of late. GOM first noticed this yesterday and last night Family Research Council Action led its daily e-briefing with an appeal to the McCain campaign to allege religious discrimination against Palin:

Governor Sarah Palin is undergoing increasing scrutiny by those aiming to use her church and religious beliefs as a weapon against her. Over the weekend, a biased Associated Press article attacked her church for promoting Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” conference which will be held this Saturday in Anchorage. The conference will teach a biblical message on sexuality and assist those seeking to overcome same-sex attractions. We can probably expect more attacks of this nature. How the McCain campaign responds is critical in maintaining the intensity and enthusiasm that swept through social conservatives after Gov. Palin’s selection as the VP nominee. In the past, there has been an overwhelming public backlash against those seeking to impose a religious litmus test on candidates and judicial nominees. Several years ago, Senator Schumer (D-NY) experienced this backlash when he attacked judicial nominees for holding “deeply held personal beliefs.” The McCain campaign must stand firmly against efforts to make Gov. Palin’s faith a disqualifier. There should be no reluctance in any party to be identified as someone who holds “deeply held personal beliefs.” Running away from Gov. Palin’s faith will only send the message that there is something to hide. If Senator McCain backs away from Gov. Palin because of these attacks, expect to see many evangelicals who recently joined the straight talk express get off at the next exit.

What’s the evidence FRC Action cites in alleging religious discrimination against Palin? Chuck Schumer’s criticism of a federal appeals court appointee five years ago and an AP story that expressed skepticism of a forthcoming “Love One Out” conference in Anchorage that encourages gays to “convert” to heterosexual lifestyles and that’s being promoted by Palin’s church.

Is that grounds to claim discrimination against Palin?

It’s a question that was raised during the nominations of President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees early in his second term, when religious conservatives began claiming that the Democrats’ opposition to judicial appointees over their pro-life, anti-Roe v. Wade views was tantamount to religious persecution because such convictions are born of religious commitment.

According to this argument, could criticism of a moderate or liberal evangelical who supports “Creation Care” and increased funding for food stamps be labeled religious discrimination because those views are extensions of religious beliefs?

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