Friday, December 28, 2007

Yet More on the Religious Test Clause

Some very informative historical background on the political meaning (as opposed to the legal meaning) of the Religious Test Clause here, courtesy of The Corner.

Also, for what it's worth I think that I more or less agree with Krauthammer's position (ie. that voters shouldn't directly consider the validity of the religious views of candidates in deciding for whom to vote), but I might be persuaded otherwise.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Brian,

I agree, but under certain circumstances a deeper view may be warranted. If we had a Muslim candidate for president, given our current state of affairs re: the Muslim world and radical jihadism, it may be legitimate to inquire whether this particular candidate, or those who could influence his thinking, subscribe to Wahhabism or would promote policies, economic or social, informed by Sharia.

This is a subjective exercise, however, and in my mind appropriate only because of the War on Terror and operations against American interests by forces acting in the name of Islam.

As a Mormon, I have a particular sensitivity to this issue. If the United States were at war with the State of Utah, or if the Mormon Church were advocating for the legalization of polygny, then an exploration of a Mormon presidential candidate's beliefs on certain matters may be warranted. At present, no state of war exists between the United States and the State of Utah, and the Church is among those entitites calling for the protection of the traditional definition of marriage.

But this is definitely a slippery slope argument; perhaps it is legitimate to ask a certain presidential candidate from Arkansas why exactly he is a Young Earth Creationist (believing the earth is only physically about 6000 years old) or whether he would regulate from the federal level whether or how the theory of evolution is taught in public schools. These are areas where faith intersects with the public sphere.