"Since JFK, candidates have been Mormon (Orrin Hatch), Jewish (Arlen Specter), Eastern Orthodox (Michael Dukakis), and Catholic (Ted and Bobby Kennedy, Bruce Babbitt, Pat Buchanan, and—surprise—Alan Keyes, among others)," writes David Plotz,. "[But] there are good reasons to believe that the Protestant monopoly will persist." Prejudice has little to do with it, writes Plotz, who asked a couple weeks ago if God cares about the Superbowl. Mainly it's demographics, politics ("Most Catholics are Democrats and are pro-life, but a pro-lifer can't win the Democratic nomination"), and other such reasons. "By itself, none of the obstacles to a Catholic or Jewish president is insurmountable. But collectively, they block most potential candidates from even considering a run, and they cripple those who make the attempt. Democrats would have to find a fairly conservative Catholic or Jew, who's not from the Northeast, who is pro-choice but also publicly religious, who is comfortable talking about personal faith, and who is connected to lots of cash. Republicans would have to find a well-connected Catholic who can thrill Southern evangelicals with his conservatism but won't scare away moderates with his strong pro-life views. Good luck!"
At a South Carolina rally, Bush said "his public musings on his Christian faith were not an argument that his devotion made him a better presidential candidate or a finer man," reports the New York Times.
"South Carolina is not the kind of place where religious issues hover silently beneath the surface, and the fervent campaign for the religious right is as likely to veer into predestination ...1