Michael Medved—Our forefathers got it right—no religious test for public office

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before Rick Santorum suspended his presidential campaign, exit polls from his landslide victory in the Louisiana primary showed that a stunning 73% of Republican voters insisted that it "matters that a candidate shares my religious beliefs" — expressing the conviction that it's appropriate to judge a prospective president based on his theological orientation. Only 12% took the position that it matters "not at all" if a candidate's religious outlook differed from their own.

There's an obvious irony to this situation: Many of those same social conservatives who claim to revere the plain text of the Constitution seem determined to ignore its prohibition on religious tests for federal office.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

9 Comments
Posted April 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

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1. driver8 wrote:

So profoundly ignorant. Voters can take into account any factor they consider relevant in casting their vote. It’s called democracy.

April 23, 12:53 pm | [comment link]
2. Sarah wrote:

RE: “the Constitution seem determined to ignore its prohibition on religious tests for federal office. . . . “

Uh.

The Constitution does not prohibit voters from assessing a candidate’s religion in determining whether he or she will get the voter’s vote.

Really. 

This is just *awful* “reasoning” on the part of Medved.  So desperate are the Republicans for their deeply flawed candidate to win that they’re resorting to complete obliviousness about the function of the Constitution and what it asserts.

Are they so utterly ignorant?  Or is it simply desperation that causes such sophistry and tendentiousness?

Just a sad sad sad display.

For the record, I’d vote for a scientologist, or a member of practically any religion, sect, or cult [not quite all, but most] if I were confident in that person’s commitment to the Constitution, individual liberty, private property, free enterprise, and limited government.

April 23, 1:06 pm | [comment link]
3. evan miller wrote:

I’m with you, Sarah, though I’d prefer a conservative orthodox Anglo-Catholic with those committments!

April 23, 1:23 pm | [comment link]
4. Ad Orientem wrote:

This is a possible contender for the worst op-ed of the month award.  But the competition is going to be stiff.  April was not a good month for journalism or punditry.

April 23, 3:01 pm | [comment link]
5. Br. Michael wrote:

Agree with all the above.  A candidate’s worldview is a primary consideration for the voter.  And one’s religion is part and parcel of that worldview.

Medved completely confused a restriction on government with the type of distinction a voter is required to make.

April 23, 8:37 pm | [comment link]
6. Chris Molter wrote:

If I was that incompetent, I’d be fired.  How do people like Medved hold down jobs?  Even worse, how do these schmucks make more than me??

April 24, 7:09 am | [comment link]
7. Katherine wrote:

If you read the whole piece, Medved does understand the difference between a religious test for public office and the private judgment exercised by voters, citing several instances of candidates who were criticized for their religious affiliations or lack thereof (Jefferson, Lincoln), despite his very poorly-written line quoted above.

This is not a foolish concern.  On the few conservative Anglican blogs on which I look at comments I have seen some rabidly anti-Mormon statements.  “He actually believes this garbage! How could you vote for him [Romney]!” has been their general tone.  I do consider the whole background, including religious background, of candidates for office, to examine the question of whether there is anything in their foundational belief systems, religious or otherwise, which would lead them to be hostile to the American constitutional system of government.

If I have to wait for a conservative high-church Anglican to run for President, I’ll never be able to vote for anybody!

April 24, 2:24 pm | [comment link]
8. Sarah wrote:

Well I have no doubt there will be folks who will consider Romney’s Mormonism to be a non-starter with regards to voting for him, just as there would be those who would do the same if the man were Hindu or a Scientologist or a Rastiferian.  I don’t know *any*—not one—person like that personally, but I’m sure they’re out there.

I just don’t think it’s that gaspingly-horrifying though—particularly for Medved to write something so wretched and tendentious. 

Not to worry—they’ll have their “he was a Mormon and the bigots wouldn’t vote for him” reason all lined up if he doesn’t get elected, though.

April 24, 3:48 pm | [comment link]
9. Ad Orientem wrote:

I couldn’t care less about Romney’s (admittedly bizarre) religious beliefs.  I refuse to vote for the man because he is a big government crony capitalist war monger.  One could also throw out that he is an unprincipled liar who will say anything to anyone to get elected.

April 24, 3:54 pm | [comment link]


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