Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Religious Test For Office
The Constitution says explicitly that there will be no religious test for federal office, as it should. But professor Stephen Prothero - whom I've criticized elsewhere - may be onto something in a new essay urging a different kind of religious test for elected officials.
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.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has written that she had a gaggle of official economic experts at her beck and call but only one informal expert on religion. Today we continue to appoint ambassadors to Muslim-majority countries without requiring that they have any training in Islamic studies.
Our presidents should be able to answer very basic questions about Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the religions of Asia. So should the citizens who elect them.

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