A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Religious Tests?

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States" is found in Article 6 of the consitution. But watching the up and coming election, I'm not sure if this is operative anymore.

I just watched Harold Ford being interviewed on Fox News that he is a Jesus loving candidate. But in a democracy such as ours, how would his views on Jesus, either way, make, Ford more qualified for the senate seat in Tennessee?

Earlier this summer a republican candidate used his opponents membership in the UCC as an issue. In Oklahoma, another candidate's membership in the Presbyterian Church is being used. Since when did being a member of the mainline disqualify one for office?

And it's bound to happen to a potential presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is LDS, as his membership is disected. Has one's religious faith become a criteria for office? Atheists have already run into this in the past but it should raise alarm from all sides.


At 10:39 AM , Blogger Art said...

Hi Dwight - in Ford's case, I think he believes he has to over-emphasize his conservative qualities to have a chance of winning in Tennessee. I think he also said he was a 'gun supporter'.

At 7:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple things that come to mind regarding Article 6 are:

1. How is it relevant at the state level and lower?

2. What is meant by religious test?

I found a site that lists religious clauses in state constitutions from several different states, though many are from before the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

Wikipedia suggests that the religious test clause only applies to federal employees.

I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that the Constitution prohibits citizens from making decisions about politicians based on their religious beliefs. It does, I think, prevent Congress from passing legislation that would make religious requirements of people seeking federal office.

Given that, if a candidate wants to reach out to a specific voter block, for better or for worse, they should be able to. In that case, the only test is between the candidate and the people.


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