When televangelist Pat Robertson made his much decried comments last month about the Haiti earthquake being divine punishment for a "pact with the devil", critics and defenders alike took him at his word that he was asserting a "biblical view". This just goes to show how little we know.
Some see the decline in the impact of mainstream religion as meaning people in the US have no interest in religion. That is not so, says Martin Marty, and the case of Pat Robertson proves the point. The attention he gets is less of a paradox than some think.
It is not enough simply to denounce Pat Robertson over Haiti, says Spencer Dew. Without honest confrontation of the legacies of our past as a slave society, some 'they' will always be demonised and some 'devil' will always be imagined as a mask for our earthly hatreds and fears.
If the Roman Catholic Rudy Giuliani is the next Republican candidate for US president, as seems likely, says Giles Fraser, it could well mark the beginnings of a historic GOP divorce from the religious right.