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New York Times executive editor Bill Keller waded into the GOP presidential candidate debate with his column in this week’s Sunday Times Magazine, centering on asking them tough questions about their faith.

“But Keller stumbled out of the gate by trying to draw an analogy between believing in space aliens and a candidate’s religious beliefs,” notes Don Irvine of the press watchdog group Acccuracy in Media.

“If a candidate for president said he believed that space aliens dwell among us, would that affect your willingness to vote for him? Personally, I might not disqualify him out of hand; one out of three Americans believe we have had Visitors and, hey, who knows? But I would certainly want to ask a few questions. Like, where does he get his information? Does he talk to the aliens? Do they have an economic plan?” wrote Keller.

“This would be a little bizarre if Keller was trying to write an honest analysis of the GOP candidates religious views,” notes Irvine, “but he then went on to point out what he felt were less than mainstream beliefs of the Republican front-runners.”

Irvine notes”

Keller said he didn’t care whether Romney wore “Mormon undergarments beneath his Gap skinny jeans,” or whether the church’s founding prophet practiced polygamy, etc.

If he didn’t care then why bring it up?

Romney wasn’t alone, as Keller also took pokes at Michele Bachmann’s and Rick Perry’s brand of Christian evangelism.

Why the interest in the candidates religious beliefs? Apparently Keller is concerned that Romney, Bachmann and Perry will place more fealty to the Bible or Book of Mormon than the Constitution, though none of them has ever made a statement, to my knowledge, that this would be the case should they be elected president.

Missing from this discussion of religious beliefs is President Obama. Even if Keller thinks that Obama has already answered questions regarding his faith, it seems only fair that he should be asked the same questions as the other candidates, so that Keller’s readers can make a fair comparison.

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