According to that trusted source of civics information, Wikipedia, the "no religious test" clause of the United States Constitution states:
“…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
You wouldn’t have guessed that from Sunday’s nationally broadcast "Faith Forum," which featured Barack Obama and John McCain pleading their Christian bona fides before smug Megachurch pastor Rick Warren.
It was absolutely shameful to watch Obama pander to a man whose unstated (but incredibly obvious) goal is to sell more Christian self-help books. Worse than that is McCain’s commitment to turn the clock back 40 years on American social advancement.
Obama’s accommodation to evangelicals can be partially understood, considering half of them believe he’s Muslim and the other half thinks he attended an anti-American Christian church. But McCain. . . I want to kick that arrogant flyboy asshole square in the. . . ahem.
McCain went on and on about how he’d appoint strict constructionist Supreme Court justices (those judges whose supposed adherence to the Constitution produces right wing opinions like "the Framers didn’t mention homosexuals, so therefore they can’t get married," etc). Yet by "strict" constitutional standards, the "Faith Forum" itself would be prohibited. Funny, that.
There’s a popular myth that holds that our country was founded by Christians. Not so. America sprung from the minds of men who believed religious authority to be the single greatest threat to a well-governed society. The Framers, informed by Age of Reason principles and enlightened self-interest, took great pains to erect a wall between Church and State to protect the citizenry from government-sponsored religious tyranny. It’s a good system, and it works.
A while back, I referenced a Fourth of July-themed post at Diabologue featuring some choice quotes on religion from our Founders. (See the comments for even more):
“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced.”
– John Adams
“The United States is in no way founded upon the Christian religion.”
– George Washington
“I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.”
– Ben Franklin
“The Bible is not my Book and Christianity is not my religion.”
– Abraham Lincoln