Religion a major issue in Harry Reid's campaign for senate

After Harry Reid won re-election in 2004 and became Democratic leader of the Senate, the devout Mormon set up a faith-based website to court religious voters who had just helped return Republican President George W. Bush to the White House.

Then Reid used the platform, called "A word to the faithful," to attack Bush's budget as immoral.

To make his case, Reid said he met with a group of ministers who told him the Bible story about a rich man who paid no attention to a poor man named Lazarus living outside his gates.

"But in death, it was Lazarus who went to Heaven and the rich men who suffered in Hell," Reid wrote in 2005 in criticizing Bush's budget plan. "Their purpose in telling me the story was to point out the immorality of turning a blind eye to economic injustice. And they wanted to make a larger point about the Bush 2006 budget, which, as they put it, has 'much for the rich man and little for Lazarus.' "

The commentary is striking in that it's one of the rare times in Reid's long legislative career that he has publicly used his private religious beliefs to sharply criticize the political opposition.

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