This is Aaron Cummins for Missouri Capital Caucus.
Religion is becoming a big issue on both the national and state level in this year's campaigns.
George Bush made his strong religious beliefs very public during the primary season.
Al Gore gained praise by picking a Jewish man, Joe Lieberman, as his running mate.
John Ashcroft has always worn his religion on his sleeve.
And, Mel Carnahan, Ashcroft's opponent for the Senate, is a Baptist deacon.
But unlike his colleagues Carnahan has consistently avoided mixing politics and religion.
And with that, at least one political expert says Carnahan might be on the right track.
Ken Warren is a Political Science professor at Saint Louis University.
He says most Americans want their candidates to have faith of some sort, but many will shy away from religiously radical politicians.
Warren says Americans favor more generalized acknowledgements of religious beliefs, like saying "God bless the nation" after a speech.
He says that shows the public the spiritual side of the candidate, but doesn't alienate anyone.
One candidate that can't play down his religious background is the Reverend Larry Rice, an independent running for Governor.
Rice can be heard conducting his religious services on the 19 radio and TV stations he owns throughout Missouri.
Before declaring his candidacy, Rice often appeared on the stations advocating the abolition of the death penalty and criticizing state and federal government.
He says contributions from big business corrupt the morality of many politicians.
Rice says that's why there needs to be more religion in both Washington and Jefferson City.
But as political scientist Ken Warren argues, Americans aren't likely to vote that way.
From Jefferson City, Aaron Cummins for Missouri Capital Caucus.