“no religious Test…as a Qualification to any Office”

Alabama state flag

From Article VI of the U.S. Constitution:

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.

From the new Alabama governor, Robert. J. Bentley:

Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.

While it’s constitutionally true that there is no religious test to qualify for office, in some ways, this part of Article VI is null and void due to political demographic breakdowns.  Look at Obama. He’s ‘accused’ of being a Muslim, despite being way more Christian than I am comfortable with. Part of the reason that I wasn’t a fan of his Tucson speech (and conversely, part of why I imagine the right was so happy with it), was because of all of the Christian language therein. It sounded like a sermon, which is not something that I desire from my president.

America is as schizo as you can get when it comes to the religion issue. The Ten Commandments are prominently displayed in some parks, our money says “In God We Trust”, we pledge allegiance to one nation “under God”, and so on. Somehow, that’s not exclusive, but we draw the line at someone preaching what sounds like fairly mainstream evangelical Christian ideology. If there is a line, it’s that we’re a Judeo-Christian country. So, sorry, Bob, you left out the Judeo, in this case. Now you have to feel the wrath of the ADL and everyone else.

I find it very difficult to believe that any of Gov. Bentley’s comments are truly a surprise. I imagine that his Christian fundamentalism was not only seen during the campaign, but probably was a great deal of the reason that he was elected. In some ways, that’s democracy, someone who represents the majority of their constituents. But the majority isn’t everyone.  We seem to have accepted that our money and Pledge of Allegiance don’t need to include everyone, so is it so far off to think that our elected officials won’t either?


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