Some of you might think that Jesus couldn’t run for President of the United States because he did not live to be old enough to meet the minimum age requirement (35 years of age). But according to John McCain’s views, that is not the only thing that would keep Jesus from becoming U.S. President. You see, Jesus was Jewish and Mr. McCain thinks you need to be Christian to be President.
Must we go through this every time this country becomes more religiously pluralistic? As is very well known, John F. Kennedy faced religious prejudice because he was Catholic and there were those who thought that disqualified him from being U.S. President. Wouldn’t a Catholic uphold Catholic doctrine instead of the U.S. Constitution? The answer the American people gave, and that indeed Kennedy proved during his time in office, was that being Catholic was no barrier to being an American president.
We’ve already considered the question, in these On Faith discussions, of whether a Mormon can be President. Absolutely, I contend; the real question that the American people have to answer about any candidate, and the only question, is ‘is this person qualified for the job?’ Religion doesn’t make the cut. There can be no religious test for office under this U.S. Constitution.
A Muslim? A Buddhist? A Hindu? Which Muslim, which Buddhist, which Hindu? You can’t answer the question “who is qualified to be U.S. President” in the abstract. This is about character and capability for leadership. Nothing else.
Aren’t you the least suspicious, though, of the idea that there could be a list of people qualified to lead the country and Jesus of Nazareth and Mohandas Gandhi wouldn’t make the cut?