The blatant use of God for partisan purposes is wrong whoever is involved. I've been tough on Republicans for deploying this tactic - because it taints faith and politics - but I've always insisted that it's also wrong when Democrats use black churches for partisan messages. They have done and they are. Here's some vile rhetoric from Maryland:

"Everyone who's your color is not your kind," the Rev. Delman L. Coates told the mostly black congregation at Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton. "All your skinfolk is not your kinfolk."

"On Tuesday, we have to have more on our minds than color," the preacher told the roughly 1,500 parishioners. He rattled off a list of unsympathetic black people, including the slave who alerted the masters to Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831 and the black man who shot Malcolm X in 1965.

He drew parallels between the election tomorrow and the biblical account of Jews choosing to free from crucifixion the thief Barabbas instead of Jesus Christ. The minister asked how the crowd that loved Jesus only days earlier was tricked to switch from "Jesuscrats" to "Barabblicans" for that vote.

"Can't you just see the commercials that were designed to endear Barabbas to the crowd," he said. "I can just see Barabbas well dressed, well groomed [and] holding a puppy."

The race-baiting that Senate candidate Michael Steele has had to put up with is indefensible. Invoking Jesus against him is worse.

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