Religious Tests for Political Office

Back in the 18th century, Great Britain had to deal with the question of religious tests. You see, to serve in Parliament, you had to be a member in good standing of the Church of England. Evidence of such standing required taking communion/Eucharist in the Church of England. The way of getting around this rule was for non-Anglicans to occasionally conform to the Church of England. In order to protect Anglican dominance, some high church Anglicans sought to ban the practice and were able to enact such a ban. Later in the century efforts were made to eliminate these tests. A final solution to this problem didn't arrive until 1829 and the repeal of the Test Act.

The Founders resolved this issue by placing a ban on religious tests right in the center of the Constitution. To those like Dennis Prager, Roy Moore, and the American Family Association and their supporters -- check it out. Article Six of the Constitution says:

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.

The Founders got it right! Let's not regress now as we get ready to welcome the first Muslim into Congress -- Mr. Keith Ellison.


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