296455527_677faeaf33_m.jpgHilarious. A week after Nooner discovered that her beloved GOP has been ruined by the snake handlers, Chuck wakes up and smells the incense.

This campaign is knee-deep in religion, and it’s only going to get worse. I’d thought that the limits of professed public piety had already been achieved during the Republican CNN/YouTube debate when some squirrelly looking guy held up a Bible and asked, "Do you believe every word of this book?" — and not one candidate dared reply: None of your damn business.

Instead, Giuliani, Romney and Huckabee bent a knee and tried appeasement with various interpretations of scriptural literalism. The right answer, the only answer, is that the very question is offensive.

Offensive yes, Chuck. But the reason not one of them dared reply "none of your business" — the reason you conveniently omit — is because it would’ve killed them in the GOP primary. It would’ve angered the GOP’s shock troops — the ones that tipped the election to W in 2004 by voting to keep teh gays in their place protect marriage. The same group that formed the backbone of W’s 2000 campaign. The same group St. Ronnie made an unholy alliance with 30 years ago. Clearly, you haven’t been paying much attention.

What else ya got, Chuck?

In this country, there is no special political standing that one derives from being a Christian leader like Mike Huckabee or a fervent believer like Mitt Romney. Just as there should be no disability or disqualification for political views that derive from religious sensibilities, whether the subject is civil rights or stem cells.

This is pretty elementary stuff. I haven’t exactly invented hot water here. The very rehearsing of these arguments seems tiresome and redundant.

It’s soooooo elementary, that Chuck’s fellow Townhaller Maggie Gallagher asks — in a column right below Chuck’s — "Is America ‘Under God’?":

The reason God is on our coins and in our Pledge is not that He is practically necessary to democratic liberty, but rather that He is the philosophical foundation of it. Our rights come from a sphere outside the reach of the state. Government may or may not recognize our rights, but it can never repeal them.

Isn’t the GOP’s implosion fun to watch?

UPDATE

Via my homeboy TS, K-Lo sighs:

So we have a southern Baptist preacher acting like a know-nothing on religion. We have a TV host playing theologian. We have a primary race that has been sidetracked. Democrats must be loving this.

Just a little.

(Note — please use this thread to live blog the CSPAN Iowa debate in the comments)