The logical conclusion of the religiously based party that Rove and Bush have built is that strictly sectarian issues can and indeed should be salient factors in political debates. Someone's religion can and must be considered in electing that person to office - if you believe the things that Bush and Rove and Gerson and Kristol and Bauer and Hewitt and Ponnuru and so many others profess to believe. One of those others is Richard John Neuhaus, a long-time believer in the fusion of religion and politics. He deserves praise for sticking to his guns and arguing that someone's religious faith can be a legitimate factor in American politics:
The question is not whether, as president, Mr. Romney would take orders from Salt Lake City. I doubt whether many people think he would. The questions are: Would a Mormon as president of the United States give greater credibility and prestige to Mormonism? The answer is almost certainly yes. Would it therefore help advance the missionary goals of what many view as a false religion? The answer is almost certainly yes. Is it legitimate for those Americans to take these questions into account in voting for a presidential nominee or candidate? The answer is certainly yes.
Hugh Hewitt just bounced violently off afore-mentioned petard. Boinggg.