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President, CEO and Chief Counsel

Faith on Trial

Judicial and executive branch nominees appearing before the U.S Senate for confirmation hearings are encountering certain Senators who outright interrogate them about their religious beliefs in an effort to disqualify them from serving in public office.

Here are a few examples:

Senator Bernie Sanders | Religious Test | First Liberty

“I understand you are a Christian…In your judgment do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?”—Senator Bernie Sanders

September 6, 2017
Context: Senate Committee on the Budget hearing for Russell Vought

More Information:

Senator Dianne Feinstein | Religious Test | First Liberty

“The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”—Senator Dianne Feinstein

June 7, 2017
Context: Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett

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Senator Richard Blumenthal | Religious Test | First Liberty

“Do you believe that there exists a ‘homosexual agenda’ that will destroy Christianity and society?”—Senator Richard Blumenthal

October 24, 2018
Context: Question For Record from the Senate Judiciary Committee for Alison Jones Rushing

More Information:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse | Religious Test | First Liberty

“How do ideas about ‘God-given’ ‘roles of father and mother’ accord with the legal precedent?”—Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

July 5, 2017
Context: Question For Record from the Senate Judiciary Committee for Trevor McFadden

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Senator Cory Booker | Religious Test | First Liberty

“Do you have any views of Muslim faith or people believing in worshipping other gods?”—Senator Cory Booker

July 25, 2018
Context: Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing for Mike Pompeo

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Senator Kamala Harris | Religious Test | First Liberty

“Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”—Senator Kamala Harris

July 25, 2018
Context: Question For Record from the Senate Judiciary Committee for Paul Matey on a Catholic Organization

More Information:

Senator Mazie Hirono | Religious Test | First Liberty

“Do you believe federal funds should not be given to these providers who support abortion services?”—Senator Mazie Hirono

December 5, 2018
Context: Question For Record from the Senate Judiciary Committee for Brian Buescher

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Why Religious Tests Are Unconstitutional

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

America’s Founders drafted and put in place this key constitutional provision because they wanted to prevent the state from imposing a religious test for office, an action that would violate some of most fundamental, God-given rights. Imposing these tests would coerce citizens to adhere to a specific religious ideology, namely one that’s approved by the state.

Article VI’s prohibition of religious tests is consistent with America’s grand tradition of freedom and democracy. It is a bulwark against government intrusion into religious matters and helps to ensure that the halls of our government remain open to an ideological variety of Americans. It recognizes that we ought to be self-governed by diverse lawmakers and officeholders, and that every citizen of legal age is qualified to serve in government.

Nominees and candidates for public office should never be put on trial because of their faith, and according to the Constitution, they should never be disqualified from serving our country due to their religious beliefs.

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