Another local “conservative” blogger recently recounted with pride an incident where he refused to sign a petition to allow a Muslim on the ballot. A commenter on that same site also stated unequivocally that he would never vote for a candidate for public office who was not a Christian.
Completely putting aside any judgment on whether people, in this day and age, should base their vote solely on a candidate’s religion, let’s just examine the position of these two people, taking it to its logical extreme.
If every American held those same beliefs, public office could be held only by Christians, essentially an end to religious liberty. In that respect, then, America would be no better than the Islamic regimes that rule Iran and formerly ruled Afghanistan.
Now, while everyone is entitled to vote as his conscience dictates, the religious qualification effectively imposed by these two bloggers runs counter to the spirit of the Constitution as reflected in Article VI, which provides that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to hold public office. Indeed, as Jefferson wrote in the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom,
[P]roscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it
I could go on, but let me just say this. Extremism on the right, such as that evident in these two bloggers, is every bit as much a threat to our liberties as extremism on the left. We are all well cautioned to be vigilant to threats from every direction, and especially from those who are “behind” us.