Monday, December 17, 2007

This Is Not a Test

by Christopher Hitchens, Slate

It's perfectly reasonable to reject a candidate because of his religious views.

Just before this gets completely out of hand and becomes a mantralike repetition, let us please recall what the careful phrases of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution actually and very carefully and deliberately say:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

As so often, the framers and founding fathers meant what they said, said what they meant, and risked no waste of words. A candidate for election, or an applicant for a post in the bureaucracy, could not be disqualified on the grounds of his personal faith in any god (or his disbelief in any god, for that matter). This stipulation was designed to put an end to the hideous practice of European monarchies—and the pre-existing practice of various American colonies—whereby if a man did not affirm the trinity, or deny the pope, or abjure Judaism (depending on the jurisdiction), he could be forbidden to hold office or even to run for it. Along with the establishment clause of the First Amendment, and the predecessor-language of the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom, it forms part of the chief glory of the first-ever constitution that guaranteed religious liberty, religious pluralism, and the freedom to be left alone by priests and rabbis and mullahs and other characters.

However, what Article VI does not do, and was never intended to do, is deny me the right to say, as loudly as I may choose, that I will on no account vote for a smirking hick like Mike Huckabee, who is an unusually stupid primate but who does not have the elementary intelligence to recognize the fact that this is what he is. My right to say and believe that is already guaranteed to me by the First Amendment. And the right of Huckabee to win the election and fill the White House with morons like himself is unaffected by my expression of an opinion.

Full text following the click ...

My comment: There may not be a religious test to HOLD office but there certainly is a religious test for my vote. To continue with Hitchen's thought, the follwing is a list of candidates (from his article) who won't be getting my vote ... ever:

* A candidate who followed the "Rev." Jim Jones to a Kool-Aid resort in Guyana (don't forget that this did actually happen)

* A candidate who said that the pope could excommunicate other American candidates with whom he disagreed

* A candidate who said that the above-mentioned pope was the Antichrist

* A candidate who said that L. Ron Hubbard was a visionary

* A candidate who said that Joseph Smith was a visionary

* A candidate who said that any holy book was scripturally inerrant

* A candidate who was a member of Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood or the Nation of Islam

* A candidate who was a supporter or member of the Orange Order or the Ulster Unionist Party

* A candidate who was a supporter or member of Opus Dei or the Phalange Party

* A candidate who was a supporter or member of Lehi or the Jewish Defense League

* A candidate who was a member of the Aryan Nations, the KKK, or any other white Protestant "Christian Identity" faction

* A candidate who said that the Quran was dictated by the archangel Gabriel

... and I think a couple of 'em are running for office as I write this.

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