Judge for yourself. But what this incident really indicates to me is the total conflation of religion and politics. The speech Paladino gave was written in consultation with Orthodox Jewish rabbis:

Gay advocates were particularly incensed by a reference to homosexuality as “dysfunctional” in a draft of Mr. Paladino’s speech made public on Sunday. Mr. Paladino never delivered that remark, and in his letter, he explained that he had redacted the reference before the speech because he considered it “unacceptable.”

He has said it was included at the suggestion of Orthodox Jewish rabbis. On Tuesday, at a news conference in Albany, Mr. Caputo took responsibility for the appearance of the remark, saying he had cooperated with the Orthodox community in writing the statement. “The speech mistake is on me,” he said.

So a Republican candidate doesn't exactly pander to religious fundamentalists; he just asks them directly what they want him to say; and they effectively co-write the speech. This isn't pandering; it's fusion. That this occurs with Jewish fundamentalists rather than Christian fundamentalists is simply a matter of geography and demographics. What matters is that the GOP is increasingly not a secular political party, but a fundamentalist religious organization seeking political power.

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