"America Should Rethink That Whole 'No Religious Test' Bit," a Commentary by Stephen Prothero

April 30, 2007

Author: Stephen Prothero

Source: Religion News Service


We need a religious test for the U.S. presidency.

The Constitution mandates that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.' So I am not talking about requiring that the president be Christian or Judeo-Christian or even a believer in God.

I am talking about a different sort of test -- a quiz really. I want to be sure that our future presidents know enough about the world's religions to run our foreign policy, and that U.S. citizens know enough to hold their feet to the fire.

Swirling around the presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the question of whether a Mormon is electable.

A recent Gallup Poll found that 24 percent of Americans would not vote for a Mormon for president, and it is hard to imagine that Romney's religious affiliation will help him among evangelical voters, some of whom see the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a dangerous cult. I do not care whether Romney is a Mormon or a Protestant or a Hindu. I do care, however, whether he knows enough about the world's religions to serve as our head of state and safeguard our national security.