I’m not reflexively uncomfortable with presidential candidates who incorporate religious messages into their appeals to voters, but when candidates suggest Americans are “wicked,” it rankles a bit.

Over the weekend, for example, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) spoke at an evangelical Christian church in Iowa, and offered the congregation a provocative message.

“We too are at a crucial time today. And I think it is for us to remember, that if we do as Chronicles tells us, if we humble ourselves, and pray and confess our sins, and turn away from our wicked ways, and ask an almighty God to come and protect us and fight the battle for us, we know from his word, his promise is sure. He will come. He will heal our land. And we will have a new day.”

Of course this kind of rhetoric is about as common as the sunrise in evangelical churches and media, but it’s far less common among candidates for president.

The problem, of course, is the underlying message: Bachmann is arguing that we’re currently faced with divine punishment. To recover, we must, among other things, “turn away from our wicked ways.”

But for most of us, Americans’ “ways” aren’t “wicked” at all. Indeed, whether Bachmann realizes it or not, her message is strikingly critical of the country — her argument is that we’re to blame, through our behavior, for our problems.

I wouldn’t mind hearing more about this from the Republican presidential hopeful. Bachmann thinks our ways are “wicked.” Who, exactly, is she referring to? And in her mind, what parts of the American experience would she like us to change in order to receive divine blessings?

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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.