The Religious Test

How will religion affect the 2012 presidential election?

No sooner had the Republican presidential campaign gotten into full swing than the press, campaigns, and opposing candidates were going about trying to impose religious tests on the candidates for office.

The two announced Republican candidates that in my view have the strongest chance of defeating President Obama have come in for the most scrutiny on this front. The former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, is a Mormon. And the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is a Methodist.

Mr. Romney, who announced earlier, came in for the first round of attacks. They began with an article in Politico reporting, “Obama’s reelection campaign will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, ‘weird.’… None of the Obama advisers interviewed made any suggestion that Romney's personal qualities would be connected to his minority Mormon faith, but the step from casting Romney as a bit off to raising questions about religion may not be a large step for some of the incumbent's supporters.” As if to emphasize the point, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod went on national television to announce he’d fire any staffers who called Romney weird.

Then, at the Ames Iowa Republican debate, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York asked this question to candidate Herman Cain: “Mr. Cain, you recently said this about Governor Romney's Mormon faith: ‘It doesn't bother me, but I do know it's an issue with a lot of Southerners.’ Could you tell us what it is about Mormonism that Southerners find objectionable?”

Mr. Cain helpfully responded by saying, “it does not bother me. But…. I listen to what people say. What they basically say is that they are not real clear about how his Mormon religion relates to the majority of the people's Protestant, Christian religion in the South.”

As for Gov. Perry, The Wall Street Journal greeted his entry to the campaign with an editorial declaring, “his muscular religiosity also may not play well at a time when the economy has eclipsed culture as the main voter concern.” Like Herman Cain talking about Southerners, Mitt Romney, and Mormonism, the Journal editorialists themselves aren’t concerned about Mr. Perry’s religion, not one little bit; they’re just worried about how it will “play” with voters. This from, of all places, the Journal, a business newspaper that has been running annually since 1949 an editorial about “the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.”

It may yet be that the voters reckon that the economy and the culture aren’t entirely unrelated. Many religious people, after all, have found in their faiths the work ethic, respect for private property rights, and respect for the freedom of the individual against the state that are at the core of a program of economic liberty.

The religious question in presidential campaigns is hardly a new one. Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s “God Damn America!” sermons became an issue against his congregant Barack Obama. Just more than 50 years before Mitt Romney, another Massachusetts politician, John F. Kennedy, had to face the Catholic issue in the Wisconsin and West Virginia primaries.

Our Founding Fathers saw this coming and tried to protect against it. Mr. Cain clumsily groped toward the truth of this when, in the debate, he said, “I believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution. I believe that the government does not have a right to impose religion on people.”

But the First Amendment, wonderful as it is, isn’t the key text here. Rather, it is Article Six—not some later amendment, but the original text of the Constitution itself. It states: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” No, ever, any. As Seth Lipsky, the author of a book about the Constitution, puts it, of all the sentences in the entire constitution, that’s the one that is the most emphatic.

Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of Samuel Adams: A Life.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Suki||

    Again with the Perry/Blago hair? That is two stories in a row!

  • Belle||

    Funny that the ad for St. Jude pops up with this page.

  • ||

    LOL, I have a picture of Obama. I guess that's what I get for reading what other people are say.

  • Libertarians||

    We ignore politics most of the time.

  • Democrats||

    So do we.

  • Republicans||

    You too?

  • Vox Populi||

    Don't forget us!

  • ||

    Well, I'm sure this will be a non-issue in the 2012 general election, since Obama went to great lengths to assure us that teh non-mainstream views of a candidate's long-time pastor are utterly irrelevant.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Damn quick drawin' Texan.

    Seriously, though - does Obama really want to bring up what church someone goes to? Really?

  • ||

    I don't think he will.

    Though calling Romney weird is like calling vanilla yogurt weird. You may not like it, but come on, its the blandest of the yogurts.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Agreed. I mean, I don't get it - Romney is Mylde Q. Milquetoast.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    All yogurt smells and tastes like stale dairy.

  • MrGuy||

    That's exactly what it is...

  • Suki||

    He might not, but his friends in the press will.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    But it isn't any of those guys that will matter. It's the other Team RED guys running in the primaries.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Well, I'm sure this will be a non-issue in the 2012 general election, since Obama went to great lengths to assure us that teh non-mainstream views of a candidate's long-time pastor are utterly irrelevant.


    +1 Graham's number

  • ||

    As a U.S. citizen, I cringe at the thought of Perry running for King.

    As a Texas resident, I'm giddy that it would mean someone like Medina would have a real chance at governorship.

  • ||

    As a Texas resident, I'm giddy that it would mean someone like Medina would have a real chance at governorship.

    You just made me snort my coffee. I am not forgiving...

  • ||

    Which reminds me I need to refill my cup also.

  • ||

    Glad to hear that's there still love for Medina in Texas. I donated to her prior election bid.

    Can you tell us what she's been up to?

  • ||

    From what I can tell, she has been very active in a few grassroots movements here like We Texans and Freedomworks. I haven't seen or heard any news to indicate that she's seeking to run for governor or any other office at the moment.
    She's still pushing property rights, gun rights, and individual freedoms like crazy and won't put her name behind a candidate without those qualifications.

    With her platform of No eminent domain/No property taxes/No big government she would still be a big contender.

  • King Ludd||

    There is no thing as a grass roots movement in politics idiot.

  • ||

    There is no thing as good trolling on HnR

  • King Ludd||

    I'm not trolling. Grass roots movements are a farce. You need money and power if you want to get something done. I can't recall of any successful grass roots movement ever.

  • ||

    "There is no thing as a grass roots movement in politics idiot."

    or
    "I can't recall of any successful grass roots movement ever."

    They either exist or they don't. Which is it?

  • King Ludd||

    Does it make a difference?

  • MrGuy||

    Ludd is right though. Even if a movement got started as grass roots, one of the major parties will pick it up and control it. Republicans control the Tea Party for instance.

  • Troll Trollerstein||

    "The Tea Party controls the Republicans for instance."

    FIX'D, AMIRITE?

  • ||

    Um.. there's quite a bit of difference between existing and not existing.
    And as far as the Tea Party example,
    most self-proclaimed "Tea Partiers" are not members of a particular PAC or endorse an organization with the name "Tea Party" in it. A Republican can create "Tea Party for America", but it doesn't mean all "Tea Partiers" endorse their platform nor does it mean a de facto control of all "Tea Partiers" political reasoning.

  • Stoner||

    Bagger, libertarian, republican all vote GOP.

  • Sy||

    You have a point there.

  • ||

    Cheers to that!

    On another note, I can't imagine why the author added "and respect for the freedom of the individual against the state" about Christians in general. They're who are driving bans on abortion.

  • Jack Thread||

    1. Without a warrant, officials with the Sheriff’s Office descended upon Debe Bell’s Six Bells Farm Candle Factory and Rabbitry at approximately 10:30 a.m., accompanied by three veterinarians and several volunteers from the local branch of the House Rabbit Society — a nationwide group comprised of people who, according to Bell, think rabbits need to be raised like small children.

    2. During the next three hours, according to Bell, the throng of law enforcement officers, veterinarians and volunteers opened the doors of her 600-square-foot barn, turned off the water to the swamp cooler (an air conditioning system for the barn) and caused the temperature in the barn to rise to 84 degrees.

    3. Some six hours after they arrived, Sheriff’s Office officials produced a warrant which spokesperson Mark Techmeyer said was obtained after they convinced a judge that they had seen “what they believed to be some issues” at Six Bells Farm.

    4. During the next four hours, according to Bell, the same throng loaded her rabbits in cardboard boxes, put them in a horse trailer and hauled them off to the county fairgrounds. There, the rabbits were placed in dog and cat crates with solid-bottom floors, meaning, “The minute they urinate, they’re standing in their own urine.”

    5. For several days after their arrival at the fairgrounds, Bell said, the crated rabbits were kept in a non-air conditioned concrete-stalls horse barn until officials with the Foothills Animal Shelter — a group tasked by the Sheriff’s Office with caring for the animals — decided that wasn’t working out and obtained a swamp cooler.

    http://bigjournalism.com/bmcca.....farm-raid/

  • Almanian||

    AND NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED.

  • ||

    bell said... according to bell... etc. etc.

  • ||

    the clown outfit and costume jewelry given to me by the state mean i am more trustworthy than a mere civilian

  • ||

    well, at least in courts of law, the jury are the primary determiners of a witness' credibility. they tend to ,for better or worse, find police more credible than members of many other professions.

  • ||

    because bought and paid for judges tell juries they have to respect our authoritah

  • ||

    no, they don't

    your trolling sux.

    the judges inform the jury that the credibility of witnesses is THEIR question to assess.

    hth troll

  • "for better or worse"||

    Know who else found police more credible than members of many other professions?

  • Almanian||

    Other cops?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The NRA?

  • Mr. Always Wrong||

    It won't, not at all.

  • Old Mexican||

    The religious question in presidential campaigns is hardly a new one. Reverend Jeremiah Wright's "God Damn America!" sermons became an issue against his congregant Barack Obama.


    Mentioning those Jeremiah Right's anti-American sermons would make sense in a religion/politics essay if only they had anything to do with religion. Which they don't.

    By the way, the controversy in this Wright/Obama situation stemmed not from Wright's bombastic rhetoric but with the way Obama kind of repudiated Wright. It also sparked a heated debate about whether Obama was part of Wright's congregation because of the Reverend's politics or because Obama is an observant Christian.

  • Al_LOL_manian||

    Teh separashun of Ceiling Cat n stayt meens no impact of teh relijin on tewh polticks.

    Rendr unto See Czar that wich is Sea Cz3r, and render unto Ceiling Cat ebbythinm coz he4 a cat wif teh Ternal Lyf and noms.

    So no relijn in polticks scratch my bellee!

    Thuh ENDdd

    Do I have that about right? No?

  • ||

    ALL HAIL HYPNOCEILINGCATTOAD

  • Almanian||

    CAPTION CONTEST!!!

    1) "Marsha...do you want what's in Box #1, or do you want to choose what's behind the curtain where Carol Merrill is standing?"

    2) "Is this how I bow to our new Chinese masters?"

  • juris imprudent||

    3) "I'm praying to you, look into your heart."

  • Jesus Christ||

    I thought I called Jimmy Swaggart home?

  • Rich||

    "Thank You, Lord, for what I am about to receive."

  • Chupacabra||

    "Could I please be the corn dog tonight, Michelle?"

  • Tman||

    So faced with the possibility of Perry Vs. Captain Not My Fault, who do you vote for?

    Difficulty: You have to choose one or the other. This is a hypothetical question, as I plan on voting for a third party myself, but I'm curious what your answer is.

  • ||

    The reference to the constitution is specious, here and in the Lipsky article. The (inconsistent) messages we get regarding candidates' religions are a worthy topic for debate, to be sure. But Article 6 doesn't pertain to political discussion. It pertains to the laws of the land. Stoll is larding his Reason piece with hackery. Boo!

  • Tony||

    Strictly true perhaps, but that this country still tolerates people with outspoken devotion to imaginary friends running for the highest office in the land is a bit of a tragedy. I think the spirit of the constitution is that religion and governing are totally separate spheres. But it's hard for Republicans to do what they do best (pander) if that were the case.

  • ||

    Strictly true perhaps, but that this country still tolerates people with outspoken devotion to imaginary friends running for the highest office in the land is a bit of a tragedy.

    Hey, they still tolerate you.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Lost_In_Translation,

    Please don't feed the sockpuppet. You will be splattered with a sticky and stinky letany of nonsense.

  • ||

    its litany

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Lost_In_Translation,

    Sorry, my bad. Please, heed my warning.

  • Pedant Alert||

    It's "it's".

  • Tony||

    Your usual content is quite original (I'll leave it at that), but your insults are copied directly from the self-proclaimed H&R mods who prefer to scour the boards for dissenting thought rather than contribute anything. Seems to me that makes them the trolls and you the sockpuppet.

  • Jesus Christ||

    I think the spirit of the constitution is that religion and governing are totally separate spheres.

    I guess Jim Wallis missed that memo.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I think the spirit of the constitution is that religion and governing are totally separate spheres


    Define religion.

  • Tony||

    Belief in a deity or deities.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Belief in a deity or deities.


    What is the Scientologist deity?

    The Shinto deity?

  • Tony||

    The Eighth Dynamic, and Shinto is based on polytheistic tradition.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So I suppose Congress should abolish the federal holiday for the *Reverend* Martin Luther King, Jr., whose politics were inseparable from his religion?

    Or does religion get a pass so long as it's the right kind of religion?

  • ||

    The First Amendment is concerned with Government in the Church. It reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion not restricting the free exercise thereof.." It's as plain as can be. The Federal goverment should make no law regarding religion. This has nothing to do with whether candidate has a some religious belief or not. It's clear by the founders own writtings that religious beliefs played an important role in their understanding of life, liberty, and the right of property. This is seen, the words."We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.." Of Consitution, rooted in the Declaration of Independence clearly is built on at least a basic religious belief.

  • New York Cynic||

    With bible thumpers, religion is the only thing that matters. Got to have someone powerful to justify the bs that is in their precious little story book. Oh and to make sure Muslims get killed.

  • Pip||

    Jesus Christ I can't stop yawning.

  • Jesus Christ||

    Me either!

  • ||

    yawning is often a response to a lack of oxygen, jesus.

  • Jesus Christ||

    Yawn

  • ||

    well, either that or i'm boring as fuck

  • ||

    "... Article Six ... of the Constitution ... states: 'no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.'"

    So what? Nobody is proposing requiring a religious test to qualify for the presidency under the law. But people can vote for whom they want, even if their choice is motivated by religious bigotry.

  • New York Cynic||

    "Nobody is proposing requiring a religious test to qualify for the presidency under the law."

    Not yet anyway

  • Rich||

    I propose snake handling, to start with.

  • Lysander Spooner||

    You mean voting?

  • fish||

    No! "Snake handling" has at least one other meaning.

  • Kent||

    No one is proposing we crack open each others' heads and feast on the goo inside, either.

    At least not yet.......

  • Chupacabra||

    True.

    However, I would support giving the candidates a math test.

  • Staffer||

    Axelrod went on national television to announce he’d fire any staffers who called Romney weird.

    That's why I always say "Romney is W-word."

  • Fluffy||

    If a major party nominated a Scientologist for President, would it be OK to question their religious beliefs as part of the campaign?

    How about a Hare Krishna?

    Or a Branch Davidian?

    Or someone who claimed they worshipped Quetzalcoatl?

  • What's Her Name||

    I'm not a witch.

  • ||

    THIS IS WHAT THE CANDIDATE ACTUALLY BELIEVES

  • Binky||

    +666

  • Gasp!||

    Or an atheist?

  • The Growing Atheist Population||

    If only...

  • ||

    The human sacrifice part might be interesting.

  • Ken DeDate||

    Of course, these sacrifices will be made on the battlefield, the way God intended.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    So at no-knock drug raids, then?

  • Robert||

    The Democrat nominee's campaign raised the religion of Dan Halloran (nominated by the Republicans, Conservatives, Independences, and Libertarians for New York City council) as an objection. Didn't work, he won. Maybe it even got him some sympathy vote.

  • ||

    I'm from Utah and won't be voting for Multiple Choice Mitt and the only Texan that will get my vote is Ron Paul. While Perry the Hair and Multiple Choice Romney are certainly polished, handsome speakers - they lack the integrity, substance, experience and knowledge that Ron Paul has in spades. I'm voting for an honest man - not a haircut.

  • DK||

    Too bad Paul is just about the least personable candidate on the planet. Zero chance of winning the presidency.

  • polyglot||

    RP is a good man and very personable. He has a good chance of winning the presidency and you are a dumbass.

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    Ron Paul IS a good man and would make a refreshing and good President.... the problem is that a majority of Americans are dumbasses.

  • jacob||

    +1

  • MrGuy||

    Ron Paul is all in on this one; he won't be seeking his house seat again.

    The complete media blackout is proof that his campaign is working. Judging by comments across the internet, he's getting pretty damn popular.

  • ||

    "not some later amendment, but the original text of the Constitution itself"

    Written as if one counted more than the other---not the way it works.

  • WWNGD?||

    I pray that religion wont be a part of the elections.

  • ||

    NG would say something asinine and inexplicable?

  • ||

    If it were up to me, believing in fairy tales should be a disqualifier. But in light of the realities of the human condition, one has to accept that others believe in them, and that saying you are an atheist would get you nowhere in politics.

    So, for me, the task is trying to parse how the belief will actually affect policy. Not an easy thing. I just know that whatever the current dipshit believes, in a religious sense, is irrelevant. He's a dipshit. Time for another one.

  • ||

    I'll go slightly off topic here.

    Remember the day of prayer that Perry had within the past month, where he wanted to call Americans back to God? I didn't and wouldn't participate if it was next door, but it really fucking pissed me off that there were people prostesting it.

    Freedom of religion works both ways. If you want to allow mosques to be built anywhere, then you have to allow folks to pray and put up crosses as well.

    Oh, almost forgot. Fuck Rick Perry.

    RON PAUL 2012

  • Fluffy||

    The reason I ask is because most of the people bitching about Mitt being given a hard time for being a Mormon certainly wouldn't vote for a Scientologist.

    Or an atheist.

    So they aren't really complaining about an informal religious test for office. They're complaining about an informal religious test for office that Mitt can't pass. They're perfectly fine with an informal religious test for office that I can't pass, or that Tom Cruise can't pass.

  • ||

    I probably wouldn't vote for a scientologist simply because I'm sure he'd find a way to divert federal money so he could reach a level 25 wizard.

    Wouldn't vote for a Branch Davidian because the ATF would end up burning down the whitehouse.

    Wouldn't vote for a Hare Krishna because they probably are lying. A true Hare Krishna doesn't have enough time between praying to run a country.

    I wold vote for an Aztec. As long as we waved the virgin sacrifice requirement and replaced it with a senatorial sacrifice. And it would be done by seniority.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Wouldn't vote for a Branch Davidian because the ATF would end up burning down the whitehouse.

    This might be the BEST reason to vote for Branch Davidian. If we elect BD congressmen, can we have the ATF burn down the capital too?

  • Realist||

    Perry is another warmongering thumper.

  • GroundTruth||

    Beat me to it!

  • ||

    This ia a 'Hare today, gone tomorrow' story!

  • ||

    If the separation of church & state is the alleged ideal, wouldn't an atheist therefore be the ideal candidate?

    No, that's too obvious.

  • well...||

    We live in a world where "post racial" means you're a racist unless you vote for a black guy.

    So maybe separation of church and state requires a witch after all.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    ^^THIS^^

  • cynical||

    No, you can be a preachy asshole about your metaphyical beliefs without being a theist.

    The ideal would be someone who didn't have the inclination to force his metaphysical beliefs and personal standards on others through the power of the state, regardless of which beliefs/standards those happened to be. IOW, a libertarian.

  • ||

    I'd like to vote for Gary Johnson too, Mad Libertarian Guy.

  • Robert||

    [thumbing thru thesaurus} So call him queer.

  • Lee from Oz||

    Just because the Constituion forbids a religious test of office holders (which Australia in its Constitution as well), that doesn't mean voters can't. Voters are free to choose any criteria they like as meaningful, which for many people will mean which church a candidate goes to and how often, in the same way as secularists and atheists might exclude candidates from consideration because they are religious.

    The No Religion test is really a throwback to the Church of England's stranglehold on UK politics (through being the established church), as Dissenting Protestants and Catholics were both persecuted by the CoE and were excluded from political involvement.

  • B||

    Uh, I don't think the point is that they can't run for president, or should be disallowed from running for president, rather that these are their views. Romney is a mormon, a church that up until the 70's believed black skin and a wide nose was the mark of Cain. Perry thinks that prayer is a solution to our problems. Whether or not you think these are issues are up to you, but it is very important that the media presents them. Sorry again for raining on the faux-libertarian circle jerk....

  • unhyphenatedconservative||

    B,

    Who's the bigger threat? The politician who thinks that voluntary prayer is a solution to our problems or the politician who wants to divert a few billion in tax funds to a "jobs program?" And to all the libertarians who get the vapors about religious conservatives, do you honestly think we were a theocracy before the Supreme Court found practices that the Founders had no problem with - including Madison who drafted the frigging First Amendment! - were all of sudden verboten based on a line Jefferson (who had no hand in the drafting of the First Amendment) wrote well after the First Amendment was adopted?

  • B||

    In my opinion the former. But that is not what my post is about. To say that the media shouldn't bring up religion is just plain stupid. I want to know the core beliefs of the people I may or may not vote for, whether it be Mormon, Dominionist, Atheist or otherwise. To say this isn't a legitimate question for the media to ask is just stupid.

  • B||

    Two stupids for emphasis...

  • unhyphenatedconservative||

    That's a fair point. Two fairs, for emphasis.

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

  • lukas||

    "Religous"?

  • LarryA||

    What they basically say is that they are not real clear about how his Mormon religion relates to the majority of the people's Protestant, Christian religion in the South.”

    Uh.

    Anyone who thinks Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Baptists believe the same things is delusional. Even within those mainstream denominations it's fairly easy to get into theological food fights. Then there are all the freestanding independent churches that don't recognize any denomination. The "Protestant, Christian religion in the South" is not a majority; it's a collection of minorities.

  • NotSure||

    Why all this obsession with religion, it is very hard to imagine how a US president can enforce his religious views on the population. It is not very hard to see how a president can enforce his economic world views on the population though.

  • Mt ||

    Citing the constitution seems like a bit of a stretch to make your point here. After all, these guys aren't being kept from office because of their views. If Romney doesn't get the votes, he has nothing to complain about. The point is that everyone is eligible regardless of religion, not that they're protected from the opinions of the voters.

  • ||

    Religion is not the problem. It is the attempt to insinuate a religious morality into a secular democratic society.
    Fixation on moral or religious principles results in the hypocrisy driving politics today.
    Republican candidates have appealed to religious supporters in terms of patriotism, loyalty, faith, and divine mandate,
    These are the wiles of religious extremism.
    The same rhetoric has been used to promote slavery and racism, to defend the honor of the Confederacy and to promote the ideals of authoritarianism and hierarchal government in every undemocratic state.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    It is the attempt to insinuate a religious morality into a secular democratic society.


    What is wrong with religious morality?

  • Aaskavind||

    It violates the Natural Rights of people to make their own moral decisions.

    It justifies using violence to force unbelievers to adhere to its edicts.

    It treats women as objects.

    It condones violent suppression of gays and lesbians.

    It provides a cover for child abuse.

    It provides a cover for spousal abuse.

    It presents a moral justification for slavery.

    It presents a moral justification for racism.

    It is insular, reflexive, inflexible, emotional and unreasonable. Need I go on?

  • Robert||

    All religious moralities? Mine doesn't do any of those things, except the racism part, depending on what counts as racism.

  • Aaskavind||

    No, not all. The list is aimed at the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism because they have the history of imposing their moralities through governmental coersion.

    One who is not small-minded can find many religions whose members simply wish to be left alone and who have no agenda of imposing their morality on their brothers and sisters.

  • unhyphenatedconservative||

    Defending private property rights is a moral position. Do you think we should not insinuate this into society? Or is it more accurate to say that we should simply not insinuate moral viewpoints with which you disagree?

  • unhyphenatedconservative||

    For clarity, that was @kurzweil

  • unhyphenatedconservative||

    "The same rhetoric has been used to promote slavery and racism, to defend the honor of the Confederacy and to promote the ideals of authoritarianism and hierarchal government in every undemocratic state."

    Moral and religious principles also were cited in opposition to the Confederacy and in support of the Civil Rights movement. Or should Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. been excluded from the public debate because he attacked segregation on religious and moral grounds?

  • Robert||

    So what? When will people realize that "religion" is just a category people lump their ideas into. It's not as if there's a real separation between religious and political thinking.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    From the article, refuting the Wall Street Journal's silly separation of economic and "cultural" issues:

    "It may yet be that the voters reckon that the economy and the culture aren’t entirely unrelated."

    Gosh, you think?

  • vector1369||

    I live in Texas. Perry's reputation for "strength" comes from a hamfisted belligerance and a gleeful willingness to enhance the size and scope of the state government. He is a classic BIG GOVERNMENT REPUBLICAN, more Teddy Roosevelt less Ronald Reagan. If we elect him, we get Bush's 3rd term.

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

  • ||

    I think there needs to be a distinction between legal qualifications for public office and ones personal critieria by which one judges. One's religious beliefs cannot keep one from running for office but to say it shouldn't matter for the voter just is short sighted. Ones religious beliefs are exactly that, beliefs. Beliefs consist of ideas, ideas very often about lifes origin etc.. Would it matter if a person believed the Earth were flat? I would question ones ability to reason and their judgment should a candidate believe the Earth were flat. Now, should such a person be kept from running? Absolutley not!!! But as a voter it matters. Now of course one hopes that the voter is eduicated and not just one who picks up ideas along the way. As a Christian, I hold a certain Worldview, someone else holds another. My Christian beliefs doesn't require me to vote only for a Chrisitan. In fact, Reformed Christianity (of which I am) teaches me I can vote for a wise non religious person as opposed to a stupid religious person. My point is all beliefs matter and they ought to matter to all who vote.

  • yelly||

    But as a voter it matters. Now of course one hopes that the voter is eduicated and not just one who picks up ideas along the way. As a Christian, I hold a certain Worldview, someone else holds another.
    Nike Dynamo Free(PS) Womens Running shoes - Blue/Black/Orange/White
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  • tadcf||

    For the most part, religion and the Republican candidates are inextricably woven together with religion.

  • Sandy||

    I think if most people knew what Mormons believe it would be a deal breaker for Romney's candidacy.

  • ||

    Firstly Mitt Romney and his father aren't true Mormans. They are scientologists and I can prove it
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dVmwoR24rc

  • New York Knicks||

    very good

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