It started innocently enough. A fellow Southern California blogger and I decided to attend a lecture by Hugh Hewitt and a live remote of his radio show. We have both been blogging for a while – me here and my new partner here. Hugh was familiar with our blogs and the next thing we knew he was waving us up to go on the air with him. (You can listen to the interview here.)
Among the topics of discussion we had with Hugh was this article by Robert Novak, originally published that day, April 27, 2006. In this piece Novak contends
Mitt Romney, in his last nine months as governor of Massachusetts, was in Washington Tuesday to address the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in an early stage of his 2008 presidential campaign. To a growing number of Republican activists, he looks like the party’s best bet. But any conversation among Republicans about Romney invariably touches on concerns of whether his Mormon faith disqualifies him for the presidency.
The U.S. Constitution prohibits a religious test for public office, but that is precisely what is being posed now. Prominent, respectable Evangelical Christians have told me, not for quotation, that millions of their co-religionists cannot and will not vote for Romney for president solely because he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As himself a member of that church, you can imagine how my blogging partner here, Lowell, would react to such a thing. As a mainstream evangelical Christian, I have heard some of the same rumblings Novak has, and I find them problematic. Amy Sullivan started writing about this in the September ’05 issue of Washington Monthly. Interestingly, the day after Lowell and I’s appearance on Hugh, Andrew Sullivan started wondering about the ‘legitimacy’ of religious affiliation debate for candidates.
This blog is dedicated to the issue of religious “qualification” for elected office in this country – something pretty well prohibited in Article 6 of the constitution. We should note that this blog is not an endorsement of Mitt Romney presidential aspirations, nor is it an effort to aid his “campaign.” This blog is devoted solely to the issues that arise from that campaign and Romney’s religious convictions.
There are thousands of questions that will arise out of this issue, in all aspects – from theology to constitutional law, from political strategy to campaign finance. Lowell and I are not experts in all of these areas, but we know or can find people who are. We envision this blog as a service – addressing questions the public has about all these concerns. Therefore, we strongly solicit your input and questions. Our intended format will be to pose a question periodically, daily if we get enough and to have Lowell and I each take a crack at answering it – those questions will, we hope, come from you our readers.
To kick things off, Hugh Hewitt has graciously agreed to supply the initial ten questions – hopefully in that time we’ll start hearing from you. You’ll find the question submission button in the top menu. Ask Away!