Since you insist, let’s talk about it

from today’s NYT

Atrios has been asking for a few days how often George Bush goes to church. I thought that was a terrible question to ask Bush for a lot of reasons. But I’m beginning to sense the inevitability of asking it because the media, in this case, Jodi Wilgoren and Bill Keller, insist on bringing Kerry’s Catholicism into the campaign.

“Polls suggest that Mr. Kerry may pay a price for his privacy [in religious matters], with nearly three-quarters of the public wanting a president of ‘strong religious faith,’ and a swath of independent voters who identify as religious swaying toward Mr. Bush.”

Read the whole thing, if you can without losing your breakfast. Wilgoren and Keller make the assertion that Kerry is such a “private” man religiously that a significant portion of voting Catholics didn’t know he is Catholic.

It’s just wrong, in a country that was structured at the beginning specifically to keep the church out of government, that the president’s religion is such an issue. But I can’t ignore the fact that for quite a few Americans it is an issue. I don’t think, however, that Kerry is going to be able to sway the more rabidly anti-church/state separation voters to vote for him no matter what he says. So the way to deal with this may be in fact to deal with it as Atrios has suggested: by putting Bush’s words together with his actual deeds. That is the basic subtext of the entire campaign anyway. So, Mr. President, how often do you go to church?