Politics and religion

EDITOR: I enjoyed Richard Cohen's Tuesday column ("Romney's religious faith is his own business"). How amusing to talk loudly about how nobody should be talking about a presidential candidate's religion, like the inevitable jerk on the "quiet car" of the train who bellows at another passenger who forgot to switch off his cellphone.

A candidate's religion is out of bounds? In America? Since when? I cannot recall an American politician who didn't flog "faith" in front of his or her credulous constituents. Americans simply cannot tolerate a candidate for high office who doesn't conspicuously kneel, somewhere. The only thing that terrifies them more than somebody who worships the wrong god is somebody who doesn't worship at all.

I enjoyed how Cohen reminded us that President George W. Bush's religiosity "was truly troubling because it sometimes substituted for thought," as if religiosity, deep or shallow, does anything else. The greatest heresy in any faith is thinking for yourself.

I enjoyed how he reminded us that Mormonism, like any other theistic construct, requires its adherents to abandon reason and submit to a strict and intolerant authority that insists everyone in the tent believe absurdities.

What Cohen neglected to mention is history's verdict — that anyone who can get you to believe absurdities today can get you to commit atrocities tomorrow.