Paperclippings Blog: The Religious Test

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I pray because I believe, and I believe because I pray.

Joseph Walker--Deseret Morning News

Utah, United States

Kelly is the mother of 5 adorable kids--4 boys and a girl. The girl came in a package with a boy (twins). Kelly is married to a charming young man who lives and breathes computers. They are also guardians for three nieces and a nephew.

She is active in the community having served as PTA President of a local elementary school, on the board of the Salt Lake Mothers of Twins, as a district round-table trainer with the Cub Scouts, as a volunteer for Sidelines (a support network for Women on bed rest during pregnancy) and she and her husband are active in the LDS Church.

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"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

Helaman 5:12

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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Religious Test

This evening I sat down with my family to watch "A More Perfect Union". This 2-hour motion picture is the first comprehensive recreation of those stirring, heated debates during the sweltering summer of 1787. Filmed on location at Independence Hall, Williamsburg, Virginia, and other historical sites, it dramatically chronicles how America became a nation and those underlying principles that guard our freedoms today.

Toward the end of that movie they read parts of the newly created Constitution of the United States. I heard the words, "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." I quickly wanted to know where that was found within this Constitution.

Article VI Claus 3 reads,

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the
members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial
officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by
oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test
shall ever be required as a qualification to any office
or public trust
under the United States. " (Italics added)

I thought of Mitt Romney, current candidate for US President. Though there has been no official requirement of this nature, much of this country holds his religious affiliation as a test against him. In the minds of many he has been given the test. He doesn't pass their test of belonging to an accepted religion.

This clause was included in the Constitution even before the Bill of Rights. This was included in our Constitution for a reason. Many people had come to this land for religious that they could worship God the way their conscience dictated and not be required to belong to a particular religion as was the case in England.

Mitt Romney has that right just as any other candidate for any public office. I think we as a nation should focus on where he stands on the issues rather than on his religion. We need to be careful not to make religion a litmus test for any candidate for any office.

I will admit that I adhere to the same faith as Mr. Romney. But I know quite well that there are other prominent members of my faith who I would not extend my vote. I have not yet made up my mind if he is the man for the job. But, I will be looking at the issues not the litmus test of religion...because I know that if his religous affiliation was all that mattered I would vote for him.

Lets look at all the candidates and their position on the issues.

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On Tuesday, March 20, 2007 1:42:00 AM, Blogger Jacob wrote...

I agree, but only partially :). The church a person goes to and how devout they are about attending says something about them--often something profound, good or bad. It's a factor you have to balance with all the other stuff you know about them. That said, their prior actions, policies, and promises are more important still.

What I find most interesting about people who denegrate Romney's religion is that they don't seem at all phazed that Harry Reid is also LDS and is the current Senate Majority Leader for the Democrats. The religious affiliation of either is nowhere near as important to me (as another active LDS member) as their party and policy affiliations.

On Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:26:00 AM, Blogger Kelly wrote...

To me, if they are devout Catholic, Methodist, or Mormon says a lot about them to me.

Yes, the church a person goes to DOES say something about them...but it should not be the ONLY thing they look at.

As for Senator Harry Reid...he was the one I was thinking of when I said..."But I know quite well that there are other prominent members of my faith who I would not extend my vote."

Even if he were to run for President, he would not likely get my vote.

I completely agree with you about the inconsistancies with their views of Reid in contrast to Romney. Not one word has been said about his religious affiliation.

On Tuesday, March 20, 2007 11:16:00 PM, Blogger Mike's America wrote...

Kelly: Thanks for your comment at Mike's America.

I have to admit I was taken by surprise with the strength of Romney's candidacy.

I was at a meet and greet for NY Governor Pataki here last fall and asked someone else who they thought the candidate to watch would be and he said Romney.

I don't have any problem with his religion.

I do wonder about how conservative he is. He's been talking like Reagan lately, but has a history in Massachusetts.

On Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:07:00 AM, Blogger Kelly wrote...

Mike, hey, thanks for stopping by.

As I said in my post, "I have not yet decided whether [Romney] is the man for the job or not."

His handling of a few issues in Massachusettes is somewhat foggy...that may not be the right word for it.

I do know that he is quite capable as a CEO and can get the job done...whatever that job may be. He was the saving grace of the Salt Lake City Olympics...without a doubt.

On Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:12:00 PM, Blogger Phelonius wrote...

I could handle Mitt Romney as a candidate. I could handle a Buddhist if they have a political platform that agrees with me.

That being said, the self-professed Vampire from Minnesota that is running for office....well, I have to admit that his religious affiliation bothers me along with the fact that he has talked about impaling George Bush if he is elected. He has also talked about impaling terrorists. Impaling as a general rule bothers me, I guess, and people that believe that they are Vampires (vampirz?) run afoul of my sanity test.

As a result, I guess that there *are* religious boundaries that I am not willing to supersede as a political test, but I do not think that anyone other than vampires could be really upset about that. (As we speak, I am hanging garlands of garlic around my house.)

On Thursday, March 22, 2007 11:46:00 PM, Blogger Kelly wrote...

James, You might be able to handle Mitt Romney, but there are many, especially in the bible belt who really don't like him precisely because of his religious affiliation.

South Carolina Republican State Rep. Gloria Haskins..., "I don't think that I could see someone who is a member of a faith so contrary to my faith having my support," said Haskins, a graduate of Bob Jones University, the Christian fundamentalist college.

Charleston County GOP chairwoman Cyndi Mosteller questioned Romney after a speech, asking him to explain his faith.

Mosteller, who is a Baptist, said, "The question is: Does Governor Romney support Joseph Smith's doctrines? We as evangelicals don't believe we can go in and change Paul's doctrine. I don't see how you move around this."

Does any of this, my friends, have anything to do with the job of Preisdent of the United States?

On Friday, March 23, 2007 4:22:00 PM, Blogger Phelonius wrote...

From the point of view of a Libertarian, there is should be no religious qualifications for ANY office (with the previously noted exception, possibly, of Vamirz).

From the point of view of any rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth religious fundamentalist, it has everything to do with one's religious affiliation. Do remember the heat that JFK went through in his bid for the office because a lot of fundies were worried that he would have a phone in his office that would connect directly with the Vatican.

On Friday, March 23, 2007 5:38:00 PM, Blogger Kelly wrote...

I was about to mention JFK in my original post, but it was getting late and I decided to keep it short.

Yes, I DO know of the heat he took during his run for President.

There are many of the "rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth religious fundamentalist" and those who listen to them who believe that those who believe in the teachings of Joseph Smith are doomed to eternal damnation. Their fears are that by legitimizing the missionary we work that more people will join and receive the same fate.

Just look at Massachusettes...they are all flocking to the Mormon Church because he is Governor...NOT! [eyes rolling]

But all this really has nothing to do with the job of President of the United States or as you say, James, ANY other office in this country.

They are blinded by their prejudice.

So, far, I like Romney because of his political leanings...but I still have questions.

There are other candidates that perk my ears as well.

On Wednesday, March 28, 2007 11:57:00 PM, Blogger Joubert wrote...

Kelly, I think by now you know that Romney's Mormonism is not an issue for me. I don't like him because I doubt his sincerity. Obviously I can't stand Reid. However Orrin Hatch would be welcome to dinner in my home anytime. I really respect and admire him.

On Thursday, March 29, 2007 9:07:00 AM, Blogger Kelly wrote...

Patrick, thanks for stopping by.

I don't know enough about Romney to make a decision at this time. I am with you on Harry Reid. Orrin Hatch is a good guy. I do have friends who have issues with him, as well.

I know that you look at the person not the religion. I have read your history and know that your mind is open on that.


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