Washington Post On Faith: Important vs. All-important by J. Brent Walker
[…] Sen. McCain’s unfortunate comments reflect a common but wrong belief (shared with about 55 percent of the American public) that the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation.
The Constitution is a decidedly secular document. Yes, many of the Founders were men of faith and mostly Christian, but they opted to ensure religious liberty for all, not ensconce their own religious views in the nation’s founding document. When it comes to religion, our Constitution is not a religious document but a religious freedom document. The U.S. may be a Christian nation sociologically, but not constitutionally. That fact is easy to demonstrate. Living up to the religious freedom values embodied in the Constitution and not giving preference to the Christian majority is more difficult.
Article VI of the Constitution bans any religious test for public office. True, the provision outlaws only legal disabilities based on religion. Citizens can and do vote for whom they wish and take religion into account in making that decision. The fact is, many people are comfortable with people who wear labels like their own. But the spirit of Article VI reflects an important American value – rights of citizenship are not dependent on “right” religious affiliations. Moreover, assumptions about how someone will lead, based on their religious affiliation are risky at best. […]
Well said, sir.