This seems as good an excuse as any ("Barack Obama's the only protestant [sic]* on the ballot") to point out how odd it seems to me that no one takes the president's religious self-description seriously: on the right for reasons that have been well-compassed, but on the left as well, where there seems to be a widespread perception that Obama is atheist/agnostic/none-of-the-above and just lying about it for electoral reasons. Which strikes me, first, as a case of wishful thinking, and secondly, of displaying the weirdness of American politics: the person who lies for the sake of being elected is somehow given a pass or valorized for doing so.

*About this. Protestant is the name of a group of people: it's a proper noun: it gets capitalized.** So also God when speaking about a god in particular, as opposed to generic deities. I get the point of the movement to de-emphasize treating these like proper nouns, but it comes of as churlishness or nonsense. I don't believe in the cult of the saints, but if a painting has "St." in its title, I include it. Acting otherwise invites absurdities like the following, which I saw a few days ago, "thank the good lord that..." It's a colloquialism. Capitalize it. Otherwise the sentence scans wrong and doesn't make any sense.

**As a similar case, "catholic": when lowercase, it's an adjective; when uppercase, it's the name of a religion. Which one gets used matters.

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