THE ``religious right'' is enlisting more candidates for political office in 1986 and 1988 than ever before -- some 15 Republican evangelicals running for the United States Congress this fall alone, in Arizona, California, Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee. They are better organized: The Rev. Pat Robertson stunned longtime presidency-chasers Jack Kemp and George Bush by holding his own against them in the hunt for Michigan GOP precinct delegates last week. The religious right's success is impelling moderate Republicans to consider countering with a full-scale campaign of their own, particularly for 1988. Civil libertarians take issue when the term ``Christian right'' is employed, implying religious exclusivity.
Religion, whether of the right or left, has its place in American politics. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, for example, is expected to be a force again through the 1988 Democratic convention.
But there is a ``religious wrong'' that has no place. We had enough of that with the hate-mongering of Jesse Jackson's friend Louis Farrakhan during the last political season. The latest example is a call by a fundamentalist minister to pray for the death of a Supreme Court justice so that an anti-abortionist justice could be appointed. Such a turning upside down of pastoral leadership, prayer, and regard for human life and the legal system should be denounced and stopped at once. It can only discredit the political movement that the fair-minded on the religious right are trying to mount.