Beware "soft" religious tests for office

In an online essay aimed at fellow evangelicals, Smith argued that “you can’t have it ‘both ways’ when it comes to Romney’s faith. You can’t say that his religious beliefs don’t matter, but his ‘values’ do. The Christian worldview teaches that there is a short tether binding beliefs to the values and behaviors that flow from them. If the beliefs are false, then the behavior will eventually — but inevitably — be warped…. There’s a lot about Romney I like. He seems to be a competent manager; he’s a fiscal conservative and his positions on some social issues — while problematic in the past — seemed to have genuinely changed. But certain qualifications make a candidate unfit to serve. I believe a candidate who either by intent or effect promotes a false and dangerous religion is unfit to serve.”

In other words, Romney’s positions on the issues or governance itself are of no avail; his personal history, his demonstrated character count for nothing because his conscience is objectionable. Smith has done us all a service by taking us quickly and clearly to where our politics’ creeping religiosity inevitably has been leading: a de facto religious test for office.