In the 2008 election, the Republicans chose a young-earth creationist as their vice-presidential candidate. Secular Right finds that being a creationist is turning into a litmus test for potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates (Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan):
I’m on the record as saying that predictions for 2012 are very premature. But, it looks like 3 of the front-runners for the G.O.P. nomination are rather frank Creationists (Palin, Huckabee and Pawlenty). I’m skeptical about any of these as likely candidates (i.e., if you had to make a bet you’re going to be surprised), but if you keep adding individuals to the list it seems likely that we’re looking at a serious probability that the G.O.P. nominee in 2012 will be a Creationist.
Creationism doesn’t really have the same valence as abortion as a “culture war” issue, but, it is useful in being a distinctive marker for social conservative candidates. Mitt Romney is now notionally as pro-life as the social conservatives, but it seems unlikely that he’ll flip his position on evolution since he expressed himself so explicitly in the 2008 debates.
Creationism is far more than a marker for social conservative candidates. It is a marker for those who either will say anything to appease the religious right, which already makes one an unacceptable choice for president, or one who is ignorant of modern science and has difficulty with logical thought. Anyone who believes in creationism in the twenty-first century is unfit to not only be president but to hold any position of authority.
It is also even worse than having three of the top candidates being creationists. Framing Science quoted Tim Pawlenty as expressing belief in creationism last year. Bobby Jindal has backed the teaching of creationism in the public schools, with Framing Science having also noted an expression of support for creationism by Jindal last year.
Presumably Secular Right is only considering potential 2012 candidates who have some real chance of winning in their count. If we consider potential candidates who have no chance of actually winning, then Ron Paul would count as yet a fifth potential creationist candidate for the Republican nomination. I’m also not so certain that, considering his record for flip-flopping, that we can rule out Mitt Romney.