EXCERPT: The Texas governor, now a Republican presidential candidate, held a prayer rally for tens of thousands, read from the Bible, invoked Christ and broadcast the whole event on the Web. There was no symbolic nod to other American faiths. No rabbi or Roman Catholic priest was among the evangelical speakers. It was a rare, full-on embrace of one religious tradition in the glare of a presidential contest.

Looks like another raucous season for religion and politics. It used to be simpler. Protestants were the majority, and candidates could show their piety just by attending church.

Now, politicians are navigating a landscape in which rifts over faith and policy have become chasms. An outlook that appeals to one group enrages another. Campaigns are desperate to find language generic enough for a broad constituency that also conveys an unshakable faith.

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