The U.S. Constitution rules out religious tests for public office holders (Article VI, paragraph 3) – the no religious test clause, which reads as follows: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” This ban applies to all religious equally. The candidate for office has no requirement to have any particular religious views of any kind. None.
So why are Republicans so eager to have religious tests? We’ve seen several examples already – many organizations liberal and conservative have asked candidates to agree to certain points but only Republicans orient theirs toward religion or religious beliefs. Do they or don’t they support the U.S. Constitution? They claim they do (of course, even when they had it read aloud they left out bits) but there is no evidence of any kind that the support is really there. This new religious test is a case in point.
“Peace Through Strength” – a project of the Center for Security Policy (a Washington, D.C.-based think tank) – tells us that “the 2012 elections will be a pivotal point for the national security of the United States.” They say they recognize this and have therefore updated their platform to a “Twelve for ‘12’”, sending it to all Presidential candidates “and many other National and State level candidates asking for their support with these issues” (i.e. candidates for House and Senate) – in complete violation, of course, of the United States Constitution. The candidates invited are Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum, and President Barack Obama.
- Maintain a Robust Defense Posture
- Invest in our National Security
- Preserve American Sovereignty
- Insist that Arms Control Accords enhance America’s Security
- Preserve and Protect the Constitution of the United States
- Assure America’s Energy Security
- Secure America’s Borders
- Protect America from Unlawful Enemy Combatants
- Protect the Military Culture Essential to the All-Volunteer Force
- Pursue a Foreign Policy that Support our Allies and Opposes our Adversaries
- Enlist Judicial and Educational Institutions in Defending America
- Use Force only Where Appropriate and, Where That is the Case, Commit to victory
Some of these other points are abhorrent, like point 8, which is essentially a pro-torture, pro unlawful detainment clause. But it’s point five that I’m primary concerned about here:
Preserve and Protect the Constitution of the United States.
Another effort to insinuate foreign law into this country comes from Islamists who seek to bring here the brutally repressive, anti-constitutional doctrine called “shariah.” To this end, they use violent jihad where possible and more stealthy techniques where – at least for the moment – it is not. One of the most insidious groups promoting this agenda with the express aim of “destroying Western civilization from within” is the Muslim Brotherhood. Even though the Brotherhood’s goal is, therefore, exactly the same as al Qaeda’s, the Obama administration believes we must “engage” the Brotherhood. This is not simply a strategic error of the first order. It is reckless and must be repudiated.
Now before we go on, it’s important to note that Osama bin Laden himself was at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood for eschewing jihad for nonviolence. Republicans love to denigrate and demonize the Muslim Brotherhood but offer no convincing evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood is affiliated with or approves of terrorists or terrorist acts. In 2007, the Muslim Brotherhood criticized bin Laden for pushing jihad and stated unequivocally that they were “on ideological and conceptual odds with Al-Qaeda.”
Obviously, any fundamentalist belief system is going to be anti-Constitutional because fundamentalism demands religious control of all aspects of civil and public life – a soul-destroying Taliban-like theocracy such as we saw in Afghanistan. It makes no difference what the fundamentalists call their god and it makes no difference what the details of their respective doctrine are. All that matters is that they are religious fundamentalists. Since the Constitution rules out state-sponsored religion, ALL SUCH RELIGIONS must be opposed. Including Christianity in its fundamentalist mien.
It is hypocritical in the extreme to single out Sharia law as the culprit while pretending that Mosaic law, identical in all important respects to Sharia law, is not mentioned. In truth, we are aware of more fundamentalist Christian militias in this country than we are Islamist militias. The Sharia threat is a GOP stage-managed threat, a manufactured threat, since there is absolutely ZERO evidence of Sharia law “creeping” into any U.S. state.
What point five amounts to is an anti-Islam religious test for American candidates in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution, a demand that any office holder swear to oppose a particular religion. Of course, the Center for Security Policy, like every other conservative organization claims it is “non-partisan”.
Below is the letter sent to candidates:
LETTER TO CANDIDATES
In a world characterized by growing threats to the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees, the safety and prosperity of Americans – and perhaps our country’s very existence – are ever more at risk. We believe such times demand a robust, national security posture sufficient to contend with the dangers our nation will face in the coming years. They also require thoughtful, principled leadership to mitigate those dangers and assure our nation a future as bright as its storied past.
To those ends, the Center for Security Policy has proposed a Peace through Strength Platform for 2012. We are inviting each of the presidential candidates of both parties to endorse its common-sense planks and, by so doing, to clarify for the American people the philosophy, vision and quality of those who would serve as our Commander-in-Chief for the next four years.
This Platform updates and expands an earlier version developed and endorsed by a number of candidates in the 2010 cycle and by many of our nation’s top national security and public policy authorities. As with its predecessor, the “Twelve for ’12” program is rooted in the time-tested approach to defense and foreign policy that President Ronald Reagan dubbed “peace through strength.”
As you know, that Reagan philosophy has served this nation well in the past. It seems likely to be needed more in the future than ever before. Voters need to know whether you share that sentiment or would, if elected, seek to secure the peace through some other approach.
Please let me know as soon as possible whether you espouse the “Twelve for ’12” principles outlined in the attached Peace through Strength Platform. I can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-835-9077.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
President and CEO
As an addendum, the extent to which this organization is non-partisan is revealed by the recipients of their 21-year Keeper of the Flame award, which as you can see is typically doled out to Republicans (and yes, war criminals can be keepers of the flame):
2011 U.S. Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
2007 Senator Joe Lieberman and The Defenders of the Home Front
2006 HASC Chairman Duncan Hunter and All Those who Serve
2005 Senator Jim Inhofe and the Heroes of the Homefront
2004 General Peter Pace and the Defenders of Freedom
2003 Hon. Paul Wolfowitz and the Liberators of Iraq
2002 General Richard B. Myers and the Men and Women of the U.S. Armed Forces
2001 Hon. James R. Schlesinger
2000 HASC Chairman Floyd D. Spence
1999 General James L. Jones
1998 Hon. Donald H. Rumsfeld
1997 Representative Christopher Cox
1996 Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
1995 Ronald Reagan
1994 Representative Jon Kyl
1993 Malcolm S. “Steve” Forbes, Jr.
1992 Senator Malcolm Wallop
1991 Garry Kasparov
1990 Hon. Caspar Weinberger