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4.27.2006    |    Religious testing
Bob Novak, a Jew turned Roman Catholic, has doubtless been himself subject to some "religious testing," so I've no doubt he writes in his column today with sincerity about the difficulties Governor Mitt Romney (R) of Massachusetts may have should he run for the presidency.

Gov. Romney is a Mormon, and thus in the eyes of many of us Protestants, not a Christian. But, as Novak reminds us, the constitution makes a religious test for office unconstitutional. Specifically, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution concludes thusly:
no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States
Seems straightforward. Novak, however, notes that
The Republican whispering campaign against Mormons is broader -- based on ridicule of the church's doctrine. I have heard Republicans who have read the Book of Mormon express astonishment that any rational person could believe that.
I've read much of the Book of Mormon, it having been placed in every Marriott hotel I stayed in on my many trips around the country. And it is total hogwash, unsustainable by archaelogical or historical evidence. As is, of course, much of the Bible.

So, before we start throwing any stones at Mormons about what "any rational person" might believe, we need to remember that foundational beliefs for Trinitarian Christianity aren't entirely rational. It is also worth noting that "faith" may be defined as "unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence." Our faith is not any more provable than Romney's.

Mitt Romney may have faith in things that you and I believe to be nonsense on stilts. There are also many misguided people who believe the same about Christianity. It is for this reason alone that our fondest hope should be if Romney does run, some of our brethren do not start to go all Torquemada on him because he does not believe as we do. Because, sooner or later, if we start making a religious test for office, it will, before long, hurt us.

If you think that a believing Mormon is not rational, then don't vote for him. Given what I know (so far) about Mitt Romney's beliefs and governance, I'd vote for him in a heartbeat long before I'd vote for most pro-abortion Democrats.

There will be a "testing" at the end, and God will, as we know, sort the goats from the sheep. In the here and now, we must remember that we are a nation of laws, guided by a Constitution that expressly prohibits any religious test for office.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.