WHEN RELIGION AND POLITICS COMBINE IN UNHEALTHY WAYS…. Missouri congressional candidate Ed Martin (R) hasn’t generated much in the way of national attention this year, but I suspect that’s likely to change.

Martin, taking on incumbent Rep. Russ Carnahan (D) in Dick Gephardt’s old district, appeared on a local radio show this week, and argued that President Obama and Carnahan are trying to “take away” the freedom to be a Christian. As Martin explained it, in his twisted worldview, the “growth of government” leads to the elimination of “all your choices.” He added, “One of the choices you take away is to find the Lord — and find your savior.” Americans are therefore losing their “ultimate freedom, to find your salvation, to get your salvation. And to find Christ, for me and you.”

Martin went on to say that Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D), a U.S. Senate candidate and Russ Carnahan’s sister, “does the devil’s work.”

Yesterday, Russ Carnahan described Martin’s madness as “outrageous,” and denounced his right-wing opponent for trying to “use faith to divide rather than unite.”

Maybe Martin would realize he went too far and start walking his extremism back? Alas, no. Last night, he doubled down.

“This election is an intersection election and I am deeply concerned that, left unabated, the current trends against freedom will force religion from the public square,” Marin said.

“We have already seen our freedom of health care abolished and with that an encroachment on religious freedoms; for example Obamacare will make hospitals, even Catholic hospitals, provide taxpayer funded abortions,” he said. “This goes against the Catholic religious belief.”

Factually, this is ridiculous. Politically, I can’t help but wonder, where does the Republican Party find these guys?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.