Will Christians Be Allowed to Hold Public Office?
By Alexander Samuels
If anti-religious zealots such as Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin and other members of the Christian-hating left have their way, there will, eventually, be no Christians holding appointed positions in our national government. According to Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, these individuals will use anything they can about Judge John Roberts' religious beliefs to smear him and keep him from becoming a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Sheldon's commentary from earlier this week, titled "Anti-Religious Bigots Target Judge John Roberts," goes on to say: . . .
Unfortunately, this anti-religious bigotry is nothing new. Senator Schumer vilified former Attorney General John Ashcroft when he was facing confirmation hearings in 2001. At that time, Schumer stated that Ashcroft's "zealous and impassioned advocacy" made him unfit to serve as Attorney General. Schumer then held a series of hearings titled, "Should Ideology Matter?" to promote the idea that a person's religious beliefs or philosophy should be a key consideration in approving a nomination. During Ashcroft's confirmation hearings, Sen. Harry Reid noted: "I think that we have a right to look at John Ashcroft's religion." Was Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Jewish faith scrutinized when she was facing confirmation hearings? I doubt it.
When William Pryor was being interrogated during his confirmation hearings, he was criticized for his "deeply held personal beliefs" by Liberals and was even questioned about why he rescheduled a family vacation to avoid "gay days" at Walt Disney World.
We seemed to have reached a point where any strongly-held religious belief—if it differs from Liberal dogma—will automatically exclude a highly qualified person from holding public office. This is a dangerous path to pursue. The new Liberal litmus test appears to be that no religious person with strongly-held beliefs need apply for a public post. The Liberal Senators seem to prefer atheists, agnostics, pro-abortion zealots, or those with no firmly-held beliefs about anything to become judges.
Do judicial candidates face rejection because they base their beliefs about human rights and morality on the Bible? Apparently so, if Schumer, Kennedy, and Durbin have their way. It seems to me that these Senators would be perfectly happy to approve judicial nominees who base their ideas on the Humanist Manifesto II, or the editorial page of the New York Times.
These distinguished Senators should re-read the U.S. Constitution, especially Article 6, which states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification for any Office or public Trust under the United States."
The Founding Fathers put this into the Constitution because, prior to our nation's founding, most of the colonies had state-supported churches and required membership in a particular denomination to hold office or to vote. In 1778 in South Carolina, for example, no person who denied the existence of God could hold public office.
When the Republic was formed, the Founding Fathers wanted to make certain that no religious test would be used to prohibit Americans (regardless of religious affiliation) from participating in the system.
The Senators are wrong to impose a religious test on judicial candidates. When they took their oath of office, they swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. They are violating their oath and should be rebuked for their venal efforts to vilify a man because he's a Catholic and has a judicial philosophy that differs from theirs.
Christians in the United States need to quickly understand that those who have been maintaining the fiction of a "wall of separation between church and state" are not really interested in what they might call the "appropriate" participation of Christians in government. Their ultimate goal is the total exclusion of Christian participation in government.