A question of Faith

May 12th, 2007

Time Magazine best viagra drugstore 9171, cialis generic mind 1619552,00.html”>asks:

What does the Constitution mean when it says there should be no religion test for office? It plainly means that a candidate can’t be barred from running because he or she happens to be a Quaker or a Buddhist or a Pentecostal. But Mitt Romney‘s candidacy raises a broader issue: Is the substance of private beliefs off-limits?

No. Private beliefs are not off limits when it comes to elective office.

People who question Romney’s candidacy based on questions about his beliefs are not bigots or prejudiced.

My personal standard is that people should not be criticized, judged or discriminated against based on things they have no control over: skin color, sexual orientation, gender. But things people choose to believe, espouse, or act upon are and should be open to argument and judgement.

A person’s religious beliefs clearly influence their decisions and actions. What a candidate believes and how strongly they believe it counts: whether those beliefs involve judicial philosophy, approaches to conflict resolution, or their role in God’s apocalyptic vision.

I don’t think people should be automatically excluded from consideration for office because of their religious beliefs, but neither should those beliefs be set off-limits in the same way that gender and race have been (and should be).

Entry Filed under: Observations,Politics

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tim  |  May 12th, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    I believe that there could be few problems with your argument. I believe that a person’s outlook on life is based on his or her background. This may include race, gender, religion, education, and economic status. It is not just religion that gives people a certain outlook on life.

  • 2. BobG  |  May 14th, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    I have to agree with Tim; race and gender has just as much, if not more, impact on their outlook as religion. After all, people change religion all the time; gender change is difficult and rare, and as for ethnic changes, Michael Jackson is the only name the comes to mind offhand…

  • 3. Administrator  |  May 15th, 2007 at 9:28 am

    I think you guys are missing my point.

    I basically think people can be criticized for anything they believe or say because those are things they have control over. But I don’t think people should be criticized for the things they have no control over like skin color.

    For example: it’s wrong to say I won’t vote for a black man because he’s black, but it’s OK to say I won’t vote for one because he favors Affirmative Action (a belief he may have arrived at because of his experiences as a black man).

    Likewise, not voting for someone just because he’s a musliim would be biggoted, but not voting for a muslim who proclaimed that his belief demanded that all human beings live under Sharia law would be reasonable.

    Furthermore, I would feel confident questioning the competency of someone because they worshpped Odin. And I think talking about that believe would be a legitimate form of political discourse.

    Did that make things clearer, or more muddy?

  • 4. BobG  |  May 15th, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Not really missing the point; I agree you would not vote against someone just because someone told you their religion or ethnic background, but it still has to be taken into account as something which can affect their perspective on some issues. For instance, a person’s religion might not affect their view on gun laws, but it may need to be taken into account when it comes to an issue such as abortion or same-sex marriage. Things such as religion or ethnicity are not necessarily major factors in the candidates background, but they, with other factors, should all be taken into account together.
    Just my opinion.

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Being in a wheelchair gives you a unique perspective on the world. This blog features many of my views on politics, art, science, and entertainment. My name is Elliot Stearns. More...

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