Nexus Of Catholic-Protestant Hate Moves From Belfast To Iowa

Keeping the taigs out of Des Moines

Are the Republicans ready to nominate someone whose flavor of Christianity makes the base a little uncomfortable? Someone who says he worships the same Jesus that they do, but who belongs to a church with a highly structured hierarchy and strange rituals and funny clothes? Someone who's ... a Roman Catholic?

Maybe not. There was a minor blow-up this past week between the two Republican candidates who are aiming for the religiouser-than-thou vote: Sam Brownback, a devotee of the one true Catholic and Apostolic Church, and Mike Huckabee, a adherent to a reformed and protestant sect of the Christian religion. See, Brownback used to be a protestant too, and an evangelical minister who converted the other way and is supporting Huckabee said in an obscure e-mail to nobodies that "I know Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002 ... Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to [Huckabee]'s."

This apparently was treated as the equivalent of calling Brownback a "mackerel-snapper" or some similarly comical 19th-century epithet, so Huckabee tried to defuse things by calling Brownback a "Christian brother" but then Huckabee's (Catholic) campaign manager clarified that Brownback was a particularly whiny Christian brother. Then Brownback called Huckabee a "heretic" and Huckabee called Brownback a "pimp for the Whore of Babylon in Rome" and Brownback threatened to have Huckabee tortured to death by the Inquisition.

The driving force behind this unseemly spat is both of these clowns' desperate need to woo Iowa's largely evangelical protestant Republican electorate and finish second in the Iowa Straw Poll next week. Everyone agrees that the first place in the poll will inevitably be taken by a Mormon.

2 G.O.P. Contenders Duel Over Religion [NYT]


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