It's funny that when you get down to the nitty gritty about what politicians are actually willing to say they believe, they tend to shy away from the beliefs of the church they've attended for years. Great article hear delving into this topic and it's not just Michele Bachmann, its a fair amount of politicians including Barack Obama who had his issues in the last presidential campaign trying to distance himself from his former preacher. While I believe Obama has a much greater appreciation for the religious diversity of the country and lets that appreciation drive his political views towards religion, you tend to find that when hard pressed to say what they themselves believe it seems that's when they realize their church has some extreme views compared with mainstream america. And to get votes from mainstream America, they can't appear to be crazy in this respect.
“If you claim to be religious then you have a public duty to explain yourself,” said Linker, the commentary editor at Newsweek/The Daily Beast. “There is nothing shameful about it. It should be on the table to talk about: What does your church teach? And do you agree with your church?”
I wholeheartedly agree. If you claim to be religious, as a politician, this should be open for scrutiny so the public may gauge your mental state. We have a right to know if we elect a president, the leader of the free world, who has supernatural beliefs that may drastically effect our public discourse and our relationship with other countries around the world. This is a VERY serious issue. If we have someone in office who believes the world is 6000 years old and that jesus is returning to save the believers once all the Jews have returned to the homeland, we would have someone who has no worries for tomorrow, and will not think of long-term consequences for actions. Someone who literally believes in armageddon and that the book of revelation will come true would be more likely, in my opinion, to ratchet up tensions with countries of other religions in the hopes to bring about the end of the world. This is insanity and we have a right to know the beliefs of our elected officials.
That's an extreme example of course (but not out of the realm of possibilities with who we now know are running for president), but their religious beliefs could have an effect on what is taught in our science classrooms, how we treat homosexuals, how we treat women, where we spend our research dollars, how we respect people of different beliefs, long-term infrastructure and space programs and countless other areas. These are all major issues that effect everyone. It is our duty as citizens to be informed on the mental states of these officials so we don't screw up a very good thing, so we can improve upon a very good thing. I really liked President Obama's speech on religion and politics, of separation of church and state, focusing on our common reality to make the most of a pluralistic society... (I think he is a closet non-believer)