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I will not take your bible and I will not take your gun

When Democrat Harry Ford Jnr ran for office in the US mid-term elections last November, his soundbite was somewhat different from that of British politicians, who tend instead to feel the hand of history upon their shoulder. Although Ford Jnr's Senatorial campaign proved ultimately unsuccessful, the result had more to do with the fact that he was a black Democrat campaigning in Tennessee than with his pro-gun, pro-Jesus message. Witness the Republican attack ad that alluded to a colourful sex life, a blatant play on the fears of southern white men that African-Americans will steal their women.

What is significant here is not how southern America has stayed the same, but how far the Democrats have changed. In 2004, presidential candidate Howard Dean said that he "didn't want to listen to fundamentalist preachers anymore". Now Democratic hopefuls are lining up to bridge the God gap, essential in a country where 60% of those who attend a place of worship each week voted for Bush. Barack Obama has seen the light: "Doing the Lord's work is a thread that runs through our politics."

So too has the moral majority's anti-Christ, Hilary Clinton, who continually reminds church goers that "This is the day the Lord has made and we should rejoice in it." It worked for Bush - but will it work for Hilary?

The undeserts

The ties that blind