To some extent, Perry, Bachmann, and company are the fringe sideshow they often appear in the media. But the current volume of the fundamentalist reaction, and the flocking to preachers of political theology are the tremors of a political system groaning under the weight of its inherent tensions. Its attempts to protect itself from volatile religion have produced more volatile religion than ever, and it is only a matter of time, as James Davison Hunter put it, "before the shooting begins." We are uncertain how to accommodate the realities of religion in the public square. We don't have the answer, but we can be sure Rick Perry has the wrong one.
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