[My apologies to those who have missed my column in the past three Friday issues of the Daily Review Atlas. We -- the editor and I -- hope the bugs have been worked out, and there will be no further interruptions.]
I’ve been sitting here, in front of the computer monitor, scrolling through news and blog accounts of the goings-on between the Illinois Legislature and the executive office. Being a non-Democrat Forgottonian, I see some cause for enjoyment as I observe the growing division in that party, between the ham-handed legislators and the dimwitted, ham-fisted governor. In the seat of my dreams, there is a growing sense of hope that the Chicago machine may have some of its power stripped away, in the next election. Some of us downstaters have big dreams like that.
But even though I’m seeing an amazing degree of self-destructive stupidity and malice in our state capital, I haven’t yet seen anybody attacked for his or her religion. Nobody has dared yet stand up and use his opponent’s faith as a sledge hammer.
Not so, Louisiana. There, the Democratic party is raising funds to run a campaign ad against Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal, telling outright lies about his beliefs and his degree of understanding and tolerance for others’ beliefs. The advertisement, which has been made available to view on the internet via YouTube, misquotes an article Jindal wrote for the New Oxford Review, slanting his words to make it seem he believes “non-Catholics are burdened with ‘utterly depraved minds’ and calls individuals who ignore the teachings of the Catholic church intellectually dishonest."* Jindal had, in fact, written quite the opposite about non-Catholics, and the latter half is a half-truth dressed in slander, for the statement was as regards the study of Christianity (as in, the history of the faith, not the beliefs themselves). As a non-Christian and still a believer in complete studies of history, I will stand with him. If one does not acknowledge the impact of the Catholic Church on modern Christianity, one is being intellectually dishonest. And so, therefore, is the party presenting this advertisement against Jindal.
Let us move, now, to the next victim of religious assault -- and not at a simple state level, either. He’s a national star, is Latter-Day Saint Mitt Romney. Don’t try to tell me you haven’t heard or overheard somebody ask, in discussing him, “Do you really want a Mormon in the White House?” Quite frankly, I don’t want a politician in the White House, but there I am. I live with the reality that only politicians seem interested in the job. Romney is a politician. If elected, he is not going to turn this country into a great theocracy facing Salt Lake City to pray. He’s been governor of Massachusetts for a couple of terms, already, and the state is no Utah East -- not by a long shot. He’ll probably have about as much luck -- and interest -- in converting us all tohis faith as did Catholic Democrat John F. Kennedy.
It is unconstitutional to demand any form of religious test for public office. Why is it that so many Democrats seem so eager to subvert the U. S. Constitution? Worse, why be so hypocritical about it? If they’re so worried about public (or private) expressions of faith from a candidate or an elected official, why, then, do they not purge their own ranks of men like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, born-again Jimmy Carter, or even Minnesota’s new openly-Muslim congressman, Keith Emerson, who is a supporter of the terrorist-support organization, CAIR?
I guess, to these Democrats, it’s fine and dandy to have religion in this country, as long as it’s the right -- correction, LEFT -- religion. Everybody else will go hang.
Now, ask yourself: when the party is done purging all the religions outside the party, do you think they’ll stop at that? Where do you stand, regarding the extreme orthodoxy of the left? Who is more likely to allow you to continue to think, to believe for yourself -- the Mormon and the Catholic, or the guys who are smearing them?
This country has a Constitution, and an amendment within it to protect all faiths, and to bar anybody from creating a religious test for any government office. That provision is as necessary today as it was when it was first drafted more than 200 years ago -- perhaps even moreso.
Ed Morrissey, at Captain's Quarters: The Party of Tolerance.