October 21, 2011


The De Facto Religious Test in Presidential Politics (Amy Sullivan, Oct. 21, 2011, TIME)

Officially, the United States has no religious test for elected officials. The prohibition is right there in Article VI, section 3 of the Constitution: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." Accordingly, the government may not prevent an individual from seeking or holding office because of their particular religious faith or lack thereof.

Voters, however, are an entirely different matter. Since 2000, more than two-thirds of Americans have told Pew pollsters that they want the President to be a person of faith, which effectively imposes a test of religious belief for candidates. And some voters go even further -- often explicitly encouraged by their religious leaders -- by reserving their support for candidates who openly profess theological beliefs similar to their own.

...if the most conformist country in the world didn't require conformity from its chief executive.

'Conservative Prots' vs. LDS baptisms? (Terry Mattingly, 10/18/11, GetReligion)

Thus, news consumers should brace themselves for waves of stories focusing on Romney and the millions of traditional, Trinitarian Christians who disagree with him on the nature of the Godhead and a host of other theological subjects. Some of these people will decide not to vote for him, for reasons both religious and political.

At the same time, it is highly unlikely that we will see waves of coverage of the millions of voters -- religious, non-religious, whatever -- who disagree with Romney on a host of subjects linked to marriage, family and related issues in moral theology. Many, if not most, of these voters will decide not to vote for Romney, for reasons both religious and political.

Here's my journalistic question: Why is a big story when people reject Romney because of his religious views on the Trinity, but not a major story when people reject his religious views on, let's say, the sanctity of unborn human life?

Just asking. In other words, are there religious/political tests on both sides of our elections?

This raises more questions for journalists trying to plan campaign coverage: How many GOP voters will reject this Mormon man because of religious issues? How many Democratic voters will reject him because of issues that are linked to his faith? Of these two camps, which will be larger than the other. Just asking.

Posted by at October 21, 2011 6:43 AM

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