Laura Meckler reports from Davenport, Iowa, on the presidential race:

Sometimes the most interesting stuff happens before John McCain even arrives. At a McCain rally today in Davenport, a pastor delivered an odd invocation.

“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his [McCain’s] opponent wins, for a variety of reasons,” said Arnold Conrad, former pastor of Grave Evangelical Free Church. “And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day.”

That might strike some as provocative given persistent, false rumors that Democrat Barack Obama is a Muslim. Sen. Obama is Christian. (No, the reason why it is provocative is the idea that 1. all Christians are praying for John McCain to win and 2. no Christians are praying for Barack HUSSEIN Obama to win! See what worldliness, including religious left and religious right politics, does to the body of Christ? This isn’t a church – state issue, it is a carnal Christianity issue. And let us call it what it is: a lie. This fellow knows good and well that tens of millions of evangelical Christians are going to vote for Obama on election day. So, this Conrad person, at least in this one instance, was being a liar. Again, that is what worldliness does to Christians. I don’t like the fact that Christians are voting for late term abortion wanting to protect the “right” to murder infants born alive HUSSEIN Obama either. But this Conrad fellow is making support for John McCain some orthodoxy test, the equivalent of having been baptized or believing in the Holy Trinity. Well, based on his words, I could certainly come up with an orthodoxy test far more biblical than his that he would certainly fail.)

“While we understand the important role that faith plays in informing the votes of Iowans, questions about the religious background of the candidates only serve to distract from the real questions in this race about Barack Obama’s judgment, policies and readiness to lead as commander in chief,” said McCain spokeswoman Wendy Riemann. (It is an absurd crime that McCain’s campaign manager spoke more wisdom and truth in this matter than did this evangelical political pastor. Then again, it is not surprising.)

Don’t get me wrong, the religious left has been making statements as bad or worse. Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Seminary – which gave us “Bishop” Eddie Long as well as a bunch of theological liberals – recently had a seminar entitled “is God behind Barack Obama’s candidacy.” (If God is, then we can perhaps presume that it is because God is ready to judge us as He raised up pharoah for the purpose of judging the Egyptians.) Maybe I ought to start paying more attention to the religious left’s ranting so people can see that there really is no difference between the religious right and the religious left.