Maybe it’s just me, but this whole thing about religion really bugs me. My whole attitude towards other peoples imposition on my beliefs was born in my youth, when I still belonged to the Christian faith, and my denomination was decidedly in the minority both in physical presence and in general beliefs. In my younger and angrier days, I would have – and did – argued with anybody about the virtues of what I had been taught. There was little room for opposing beliefs, let alone similar beliefs. And looking back at it all these years later, I am both sad and happy. Sad because potential friendships – of which I already had very few – were ruined. Happy because it taught me a lesson that I have carried with me for a long time.
That lesson is simple: there are no religious tests. Period.
Not in life, not in friendships, not in relationships and certainly not in government.
But like so many things, the very people who most loudly crow about being tolerant and believing in freedoms are the very people who most attack others over their beliefs.
It’s happened before. Al Smith was once a viable candidate for President of the United States. He supported the repeal of prohibition and was strong on individual liberty. He was also Roman Catholic. John F. Kennedy would end up winning the Presidency, but not before he had to take time out from the campaign and remind everybody that his religious beliefs did not extend to his governing ideals. Mitt Romney was whispered about. Judges have been attacked.
Now, with the campaign not even officially underway, th