Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I hew to the traditional American principle that politicians should refrain from promoting one particular set of religious beliefs. James Madison, father of the Constitution, famously endorsed a "total separation of the church from the state," and that's good enough for me.
But Rick Perry didn't get the memo. Officially, he's just the governor of Texas (having succeeded George W. Bush and inherited Bush's swagger), but apparently he also aspires to be the preacher-in-chief. Hence his ambitious plans for "a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation," a national event Aug. 6 that will be dominated -- with his official blessing -- by fundamentalist Christian leaders who are notorious for their rhetorical attacks on gays, Catholics and other designated nonbelievers.