I'm a strict constructionist when it comes to the Constitution. I support its letter and its spirit. I don't care what religion Barack Obama is - Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim or Zoroastrian. Or any other religion you can name. Or no religion at all. I don't care if he prays to this god or that one, to the Tooth Fairy or Dora the Explorer. And no one else should care either. Why? Because the United States of America is not a religious country. The Vatican is, along with 33 nations with an official Christian state religion. Iran is, and so are 22 other Muslim countries including 3 more that call themselves Islamic Republics. There are 4 nations officially designated as Buddhist. Nepal calls itself a Hindu country. And Israel is the world's only Jewish state.*(see note below)
But our nation - the United States of America - specifically abhors an official association with religion in general and especially with any particular religious group and has since its creation. Yes, the Founding Fathers especially rejected any connection whatsoever between American government and organized religion. Look it up. Their dismissal was so strongly felt they put it in writing. For those who so revere our founding documents and vote for the politicians who pay homage to them with such abiding fervor, yet seem absolutely certain "we are a Christian nation" - read this: The US Constitution Article VI, Paragraph 3...
"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."
One single sentence. Clear and plain. Look again at its final phrase: "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
What part of "no religious test" - what part of "any office" can be misunderstood? Everyone is included. All Members of Congress whether Senators or Representatives. Plus all Members of all State Legislatures. Plus all office holders executive and judicial or those in any office of public trust anywhere in the federal or State governments. That's not an interpretation. Not mine. Not some Court. That's simply what it says in plain English. None of them - not a single public office - can be held to any "religious test."
So, please... if you currently hold a public office or position of any public trust, or if you intend to seek one in the future... how about keeping your religion to yourself. When it comes to religion let's institute a national policy of Don't Ask - Don't Tell. I don't want to know and I don't want to hear it.
This includes President Obama too. No more speeches like the one in Egypt... "I'm a Christian..." Not necessary. Your business, not mine. Don't care if you're a Christian. Just be a President. That's an office of great public trust, and one for which our beloved Constitution clearly specifies "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification."
I'm a strict constructionist when it comes to our Constitution. I will not vote for any candidate who parades his or her reverence for our Constitution, our laws and our founding values and then advertises their religion or religious beliefs as a reason we ought to elect them.
Don't Ask. Don't Tell.
*"Which Countries Have State Religions" Harvard University 2005 table 1b pg 44.