Responding to those who are not comfortable with the idea of a Mormon becoming president in 2008, supporters of Mitt Romney have, on numerous occasions, cited Article Six of the United States Constitution. This three-paragraph Article states in part that,
“…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
First of all, this clause has been historically understood to apply to federal employees and either elected or appointed political officials. In other words, the clause prohibits the Federal Government from forcing someone to have certain religious beliefs in order to run for public office or serve in any government capacity. For Romney supporters to appeal to Article Six is a logical fallacy of the worst kind. Known as a red herring, it attempts to prove a point by bringing up an argument that has no relevance. Of all the reasons being raised as to why the United States should not have a Mormon president, I don’t know of anybody who is arguing that Mitt Romney should not be allowed to run for the presidency because of his religious convictions.
Let this be perfectly clear, Article Six has nothing whatsoever to do with the personal preference of voters. A legal citizen of the United States has every right to vote for whomever he/she chooses. This freedom is so wide open you can even vote for a dead person if you wish. Don’t believe me? Google “dead man wins election” and see for yourself.
If a person likes Romney’s Mormon worldview, then by all means they should exercise that right and vote for him. Those who disagree should (and do) have the same right. Discrimination is not always a bad thing. In fact, the ballot is one of the few places left where an American can exercise discrimination to their heart’s content without fear of reprisal and Article Six does not infringe on that right whatsoever. Quite frankly, anyone who uses Article Six as a means to intimidate or sway a voter might want to consider retaking Civics 101.