By Cal Thomas
The Constitution is specific when it prohibits a “religious test” for “any office or public trust” – Article VI, Paragraph III That doesn’t mean that voters are prohibited from taking a person’s faith (or lack thereof) into account when deciding for whom they will vote. No law could stop them.
Now come two Mormons – Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman – and two evangelical Christians – Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann.
There is confusion and division within once nearly solid evangelical ranks over what to do.
Some evangelicals say they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon for president, even though Romney and Huntsman seem, on the surface, to fit with many of the political viewpoints of the majority of politically conservative Christians on social issues.
Does it really matter what faith a president or presidential candidate has, or should everyone, regardless of their religious background, focus on their competence to do the job? Shouldn’t the question answer itself?
I would vote for a competent atheist who believed in issues I care about over the most conservative Christian or Orthodox Jew who lacks the experience, knowledge and vision to do a good job as president.
Religion can and has been used as a distraction to dupe voters. Jimmy Carter made “born again” mainstream during the 1976 presidential campaign and many evangelicals voted for him on the basis of his declared faith.
Yet Carter later revealed himself to be a standard liberal Democrat.
What about Barack Obama’s self-declared Christian faith?
The president’s faith has not distinguished his positions on any issue that matters from that of a standard liberal Democratic secularist.
For evangelicals, the ideal presidential combination would be someone who has a deep faith and is willing to apply it to social, economic and defense issues.
It shouldn’t matter whether Mormons believe in baptizing the dead, what undergarments they wear, or that they believe God was once a man like us.
Neither should it matter that an evangelical Christian believes in Armageddon, unless, of course, he (or she) wants to advance that day by dropping a nuclear bomb on our enemies… Now there is someone who combines his religion with political power, which should scare us all.
The Bible, the guidebook for evangelicals, teaches that there are two kingdoms.
Presidential candidates are running to head up a part of the earthly kingdom known as America.
The job as head of the other Kingdom is taken. The duties and responsibilities of each should be kept separate.
Cal Thomas writes for Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Readers may also email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.