Rand Paul's Christianity Questioned By Jack Conway : It's All Politics In the ad Democrat Conway questions what Paul, his rival for a Senate seat, did at Baylor University as a member of a secret society that mocked Christianity.

Rand Paul's Christianity Questioned By Jack Conway

Is it fair to raise questions about a middle-aged Senate candidate's Christianity based on his behavior and associations in college?

That's the question that jumps to mind with a new TV ad put up by the Democratic nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Kentucky against his Republican opponent, Dr. Rand Paul.


Conway's ad asks: "Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible a hoax that was banned for mocking Christianity and Christ?"

The ad alludes to Paul's college membership during his days at Baylor University in a group called the NoZe Brotherhood which expressed in its newsletters disparaging views of Christianity. Politico.com reported on that politically inconvenient part of Paul's past.

The ad also alludes to a bizarre episode in which Paul and others in the brotherhood as part of a prank did a mock-kidnapping of a young woman and brought her to a river where they urged her to pray to "Aqua Buddha."

The ad is clearly Conway's attempt to move the needle in a race in which polls give Paul a narrow lead.

It's a risky strategy, however, since such an ad could backfire if it causes enough voters, especially political independents, to recoil at what they see as a low blow below the belt or, better yet, the Bible Belt.

The ad contributed to tension in what appears to be a tight race. The two men debated Sunday night, with Paul demanding an apology and, at the end, the men refusing to shake each other's hands walking past Conway without offering a handshake or looking at his rival.

As the Associated Press reported:

Paul demanded an apology during a nationally televised debate Sunday night, denouncing the commercial as false and calling himself a "pro-life Christian.'' Conway offered no apology and even repeated the accusations in his ad, which started airing statewide Friday night.

"Those who stoop to the level of attacking a man's religious beliefs to gain higher office, I believe that they should remember that it does not profit a man to gain the world if he loses his soul in the process,'' Paul said, referencing a scripture from the Gospel of Mark.

The candidates wrangled over health care, taxes and entitlements, but those issues were overshadowed by a contentious back-and-forth over the ad.

Conway, the state's attorney general, defended the attacks, saying Paul failed to answer the two "fundamental questions'' raised in the ad.

Rand Paul-Jack Conway Non-Handshake Oct. 18, 2010

The post initially indicated both candidates refused to shake hands at the end of their debate Sunday. But the Associated Press reports it was Dr. Rand Paul who walked past Jack Conway without offering a handshake or making eye contact.