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Here's a good one: In Nevada, Senate contenders Sharron Angle and Harry Reid argue religion

August 17, 2010 |  8:48 am

It has been an undoubtedly strange campaign season here in the Silver State:

Nevada’s economy is in the toilet, and yet its Senate candidates keep sparring over theology.

Sharron Angle (R-Southern Baptist) has taken some hits for describing her campaign as a "calling" from God and dismissing federal entitlement programs as a form of idolatry.

On Monday, Angle and her opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Mormon) – who are neck-and-neck in the polls – whacked each other over a proposed mosque for near ground zero in New York, despite the fact they both agreed with each other and disagreed with President Obama about it.

This ongoing holy war caught the attention of Bill Roberts, a former editor of the ...

... Tonopah Times-Bonanza and Goldfield News. His Thursday column detailed Angle’s role in an odd controversy in rural Nye County, where she served on the school board for several years.

In 1992, the Tonopah High School football coach was trying to rev up his Muckers (it’s a mining term for any city readers here) for their homecoming game. They'd been walloped by opponents from Laughlin the prior year.

Because the coach referred to the loss as "the blackest day in Mucker history," Roberts said, he suggested the players wear black jerseys.

Although some community members were riled up at the Muckers wearing anything besides red and white, Angle and others made a far different argument: that "black as a color was thoroughly evil, invoking the supernatural and especially the devil," Roberts said.

For whatever reason, school administrators banned the black jerseys.

"Nevada voters who did not know so before now are learning that religion is a big part of any Angle campaign, just as it was so many years ago," Roberts wrote. Will that matter?

On one hand, Nevada is home to Sin City, which even Obama has famously advised people not to visit before clarifying his position to absolute adoration during a more recent fund-raising visit.

Las Vegas therefore survives because of a libertarian tolerance for at least venial transgressions. Fiscal, not social, conservatism dominates the Republican message here, and even Democrats rarely utter the word "tax."

But the recession has dramatically slashed the profit margin of Las Vegas sin-peddling, and indirectly waters down a lot of mud that Democrats have tossed regarding Angle’s religious beliefs.

The Ticket asked Angle spokesman Jarrod Agen about the Muckers column. His reply: "The state has bigger things to worry about than high school football games from 20 years ago, like 14% unemployment thanks to Senator Reid. But I'm glad that they won their game."

-- Ashley Powers

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