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DYS: How To Respond To A Religious Test For Office

February 18, 2019

By: Jeremy Dys, Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty Institute

Every citizen of legal age is qualified to serve in government. The Constitution contemplates that we ought to be self-governed by diverse, citizen lawmakers. When senators wag their fingers at nominees and attempt — with not a little incredulity — to claim the moral high ground, our country suffers.

We suffer for several reasons. First among them is that we tolerate what is obviously 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.”

The idea behind this constitutional provision is simple: Forcing citizens to adhere to a specific religious ideology — or none at all — violates the rights common to our humanity, rights endowed to us by our Creator. The reigning idea in history was that one must share the ideology of the potentate in order to qualify to serve at his pleasure. This kept a lot of good people from benefiting a country by their contribution to government.

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