Bryan Fischer: States can impose a religious test if they want to
Once again, Bryan Fischer makes a ludicrous claim with nothing but the Bible and his loose interpretation of reality to back it up.
In the wake of the dustup over Governor Mitt Romney’s non-orthodox Mormon faith, some misguided commentators, even on the right, have been fretting that even raising theological questions about a candidate is inappropriate and even unconstitutional, a violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against the application of a religious test for public office.
They could not be more wrong.
The Religious Test clause in the Constitution (Article VI, Clause 3) reads as follows:
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.
As to the meaning of the clause in bold-face, Eugene Volokh writes, ‘My sense is that it was primarily focused on laws or official government policies — which had existed in England — that required people to swear that they belonged (or didn’t belong) to one or another religious group.’
Meanwhile, members of the black robed shadow cabal known as the Supreme Court have a slightly different take on the matter:
The Court unanimously found that Maryland’s requirement for a person holding public office to state a belief in God violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The Court had previously established in Everson v. Board of Education (1947):
The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.
Writing for the Court, Justice Hugo Black recalled Everson v. Board of Education, and explicitly linked Torcaso v. Watkins to its conclusions:
There is, and can be, no dispute about the purpose or effect of the Maryland Declaration of Rights requirement before us - it sets up a religious test which was designed to and, if valid, does bar every person who refuses to declare a belief in God from holding a public “office of profit or trust” in Maryland. … We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person “to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.” Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.
But what would the Supreme Court know about the Constitution that Bryan Fischer professes to love so much?