Barack Obama chose Joe Biden, and John McCain turned to Sarah Palin, but in the end, the most sought-after running mate in the 2008 campaign never appeared on a single ballot.I was in Divinity School during the 2004 election, naturally a hyper-religious environment. Through that lens, I remember 2004 to be an uncommonly religious election: Terrorism and Islamic Extremism, Abortion and Gay Marriage.
God, it seems, couldn’t be entirely wooed by either party.The unprecedented and extraordinary prominence of religion in the 2008 election was easily the year’s top religion story. Both parties battled hard for religious voters ...
In terms of religious stories, however, 2008 dwarfed 2004. Jeremiah Wright. John Hagee. Rod Pasley. The Saddleback Forum. The Compassion Forum during the Democratic Primary. Proposition 8. Barack Hussein Obama and his "secret Muslim worldview." Madrasas. Mike Huckabee's religious education. Mitt Romney and Mormonism. Sarah Palin and conservative evangelical elation, no exceptions on abortion whatsoever, witch-doctor blessings, creationism, God blessing Alaskan oil pipelines, etc. We could cite examples ad nauseam.
Even in our local congressional race, religion was prominent. Congressman-Elect Tom Perriello never shied from his religion: "Called by his faith." Sierra Leone, Darfur, genocides and civil wars. Volunteer tithing initiatives and Habitat for Humanity. Listening tour with pastors. Pastors for Perriello. "United Sunni caliphate."
Tangentially, are we seeing a trend here, the religification of national elections? Two times does not a pattern make, but it will be fun to watch.