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August 16, 2008

Georgia, the Christian Nation

Why does McCain keep bringing religion into the Georgia-Russia conflict?

McCain had some criticism earlier this week among some religion-and-politics bloggers when he noted that Georgia is "one of the world's first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion."

The criticism earlier focused on the church-state aspects of the comment.

"First of all, a nation cannot 'convert' to Christianity -- only individuals can choose to follow Jesus Christ," Wake Forest University's Melissa Rogers wrote on her blog. "Second, while some nations do establish an official religion, I find it disturbing that an American presidential candidate would seem to describe that as a good thing."

Steve Waldman thought the line was political, communicating:

1) I think having Christianity as an official religion is a fine idea in general
2) This is just like the Cold War when the forces of Christianity are at war with the forces of Atheism
3) I view the protection of Christians from attack worldwide as an important goal

Mark Silk just thought McCain's comment was weird.

But tonight, after McCain repeated the line, recent Eastern Orthodox convert Rod Dreher just got mad. "Total and shameless pandering to Evangelicals," he blogged. "As if Russia isn't a Christian nation. As if Russia hasn't been Christian for over a thousand years. As if Christianity had anything to do with this conflict."

Seriously, though, if you're looking for a good religion angle on the conflict, check out George Pitcher's Telegraph article on church responses.

This is cross-posted from CT's liveblog.