RELIGION AND THE PRESIDENCY….Is America ready for a Catholic president? You’d think that question was settled half a century ago, but Karen Tumulty and Perry Bacon Jr. make an interesting point in Time today:

Still, when Kennedy ran for President in 1960, a candidate could go through an entire campaign without ever having to declare his position on abortion?much less stem cells, cloning or gay marriage. It was before Roe v. Wade, bioethics, school vouchers, gay rights and a host of other social issues became the ideological fault lines that divide the two political parties and also divide some Catholics from their church.

There’s clearly something to this. In an odd twist, at the same time that Americans have gotten over their anti-Catholic bigotry of days past the Catholic Church itself has become far more politicized. If Kerry ends up having any problems because of his faith, it’s less likely to be caused by lingering prejudice than by the church itself turning on one of its own.

Ironic, isn’t it?