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There was a moment in tonight's YouTube Republican debate that terrified me.

No, it wasn't Romney's chilling equivocation on waterboarding: that was expected, and at least for this electoral cycle, thank God, the party still has John McCain's awesome moral clarity on that issue.  Nor was it Tom Tancredo's conflation of the U.S. armed forces with medieval Christian crusaders; after all, the guy doesn't have a chance, any more than does Ron Paul, whose views on the Trilateral Commission reveal him to be only one missed day of meds shy of the reeking lunatics with hand-lettered signs who prowl Lafayette Square.

No, what had me shaking with anger and fear tonight was the moment when the Constitution slipped into the abyss for good, and nobody--but nobody--in that auditorium appeared to notice that it has.  Did you?

I'm talking about the moment when an ordinary American--an all too typical American--

--held up a Bible and said (I write from memory, but this was his meaning):  "I'm going to ask you a question whose answer will tell us all we need to know about every one of you:  do you believe that every single word of this book is true?"

And Giuliani answered like a sensible Catholic.  And Romney answered like a Mormon scared to admit to the Book of Mormon.  And Huckabee answered like a good Baptist minister, a good pastoral answer balancing faith and reasoned understanding. . . .

And I looked up and realized that the Constitution had vanished.  Because no one--not one candidate, not Anderson Cooper the moderator, not a single person in that packed and often raucous audience--spoke the only possible Constitutionally permissible answer:

Article.VI.  . . . no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

No religious test.  None.  Yet what we saw tonight was a religious test.  A crystal-clear, absolutely open and direct violation of Article VI of the Constitution.  

And no one in that roomful of politicians and political experts and politically committed Americans had the courage to say so, or perhaps even the knowledge to recognize it for what it was.

In that silence, we had to know: the Constitution has died, and we are so ensorcelled by those who killed it that we cannot even see that it is gone.

UPDATE: In fairness, I should clarify that what shocked me was not that the question was asked (which was itself an exercise of individual right)--it was how it was (not) answered.  A citizen said: your religious opinion tells us all we need to know to decide whether you should be president.  And no one onstage or off objected to that at all.

Originally posted to Leaves on the Current on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:18 PM PST.

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  •  Am I overreacting? (588+ / 0-)
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    Or do you agree?  Please comment, reassure, disagree, or join with me in stunned mourning and anger  (and, yeah, recommend), as you see fit.  Thanks.

    Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

    by Leaves on the Current on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:19:44 PM PST

    •  I completely get your point, (84+ / 0-)

      but I don't think it was a religious test, per se.  It was an individual asking for the candidates' views on the Bible so that he could decide which ones to support.  It was no more in violation of the Constitution than asking someone's opinion on any other issue.

      Yes, religion is quite overrated as a political issue.  However, that question did not remotely violate the Constitution.

      "If America leads a blessed life, then why did God put all of our oil under people who hate us?" -- Jon Stewart

      by stridergambit on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:25:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (11+ / 0-)

      do you believe that every single word of this book is true

      was the question asked. The questioner made no reference to the constitution. The tie in is all yours.

      If someone wants to believe that every word in the Bible is true that is their perrogative whatever you or I might think.

      It is not automatically a constitutional issue your overblown buildup notwithstanding.

      The end game is the presidency not the nomination

      by stevej on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:28:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Constitution is Passive Voice. It Does Not (13+ / 0-)

        seem to care whether government or citizen is imposing the test.

        Though from a practical standpoint I don't know how it could be enforced against citizens, and in any case the new Holy Supreme Court will allow wide use of religious tests for the up-to-a quarter century before we have the chance to change its makeup.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:32:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree 100% (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          groggy, Number5

          re the Supreme Court. I was just taking the question at face value i.e. the constitutional freedom of and from religion, without your (correct)current context.

          The end game is the presidency not the nomination

          by stevej on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:37:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The first 10 amendments apply to the govt (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joanneleon, kyril

          or as the Supreme court has determined it, where the government has  "involvement".  It would take a toine of case law and cites here to go through the meaning of involvement, so I won't bother.

          But suffice it to say , there is nothing that prevent s citizen from asking this question or determining his or her vote on a candidate's Biblical belief.

          And I would submit to you, that we would not be living in America if the government said that a citizen could not have a "religious" test to determine how he/she voted.

          While we may find it reprehensible that a citizen would apply this test, it is equally reprehensible for us to try to prevent that citizen from exercising his vote based on what he believes is the best criteria.

          •  read the update on the diary (11+ / 0-)

            that the man asked the question is not what upset Leaves on the Current.  It is the response, or more accurately, the lack of a response one would expect from someone who wants to president of the entire nation, that is concerning.

            And if you did not know, Huckabee has a new ad out in which superimposed over the video you see are the words "Christian Leader".

            Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

            by teacherken on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:04:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was responding to Gooserock, not Leaves (0+ / 0-)

              But since you bring it up, I think Leaves overreached here to.

              The "religious test" was applied by this voter
              (and presumably represents a viewpoint of many other voters).  In that context, the candidates answered in order to help this over make up his mind.

              Ideally, the candidates would have pointed out that separation of church and state makes their Biblical believes insignificant compared to their secular beliefs (but in reality values for many are religious based, and values often inform our political views and calculations).

              Anyway, before I stray off point, this was Republican debate and this is an issue which will help Republicans  to decide who their candidate will be.  If they want to apply religious tests to their candidates and their candidates want to take them, it is not a Constitutional problem.  It only becomes a Constitutional problem (or indeed any kind of problem) if they get elected (god help us!!) and begin to impose those beliefs on the rest of us.

              •  but isn't that the issue: (9+ / 0-)

                It only becomes a Constitutional problem (or indeed any kind of problem) if they get elected (god help us!!) and begin to impose those beliefs on the rest of us.

                Because none of them challenged the frame, the implication is that such an imposition, partially or completely, is precisely what they would do.

                Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

                by teacherken on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:25:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  As I said, I was responding to Gooserock (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  who stated that the Constitution is a passive voice and could apply to private citizens.  That is just factually incorrect.  To cite the most pertinent example:

                  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

                  The first amendment is a restriction on CONGRESS not citizens.

                  Moving on to your second point, I still base my comment on that fact that the Republican electorate canuse any criteria they want and their candidates can take whatever position they want(including Huckabee's rather bizarre stance).

                  The Diarist is shocked that the republicans would pander to the Religious Right?  No surprise for me.  That a candidate who emerges from the current republican process is unfit to lead within the confines of our Constitution is a foregone conclusion.  One need look no farther than the current occupant of the Oval OFccie to establish that.

                  •  but the exception proves the rule (0+ / 0-)

                    Congress is explicitly mentioned here, but not in the religious test clause. How about that :)

                    •  The Constitution (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      scrutinizer, joanneleon, kyril

                      is a social contract between the government and the governed.  In that context (the framers' context), it is clear that the entire document is about the powers granted to the government by the people (or states in a manner).

                      Your premise is just false.  The political philosophers (Locke, among others) upon whom the Forefathers based these philosophies clearly laid out the social contract in this form.

                      The Constitution does not bind the citizens in this fashion.  And any fair reading of Article VI could not come to your conclusion and your premise that citizens are in any way limited by the manner in which they can choose tier candidate flies in the face of the very principles the document espouses.

                      •  Problem isn't citizens: it's candidates (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        AnnCetera, kyril

                        I don't mind that the question was asked.  I mind that it was answered without being questioned by anyone present.

                        Any one person is entitled to his private opinions--and his private criteria for selecting a president, however peculiar.

                        But this wasn't about one person's private criteria.  It was by definition a very public forum dedicated to enabling the voters of America to explore issues relevant to determining the qualifications for selection of the nation's highest Constitutional officer.  

                        And in that context, to see the question as exempt from the principle specified in Article VI is, I think, naive at best.  Sorry.

                        Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

                        by Leaves on the Current on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:58:31 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I think you need to understand (0+ / 0-)

                          that the candidates weren't speaking to you.  They were speaking to people who might vote for them.

                          And if there are enough people who would vote for them then you are right, the Constitution is dead.  But it will be the people who will have killed it...the candidates will just be the tool they use.

                          •  no - they were speaking to anyone watching (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Leaves on the Current, AnnCetera, FOS

                            which includes the press acting as gatekeepers and interpretors for us, and anyone interested enough to watch, which judging by responses on this thread includes one heck of a lot of people who certainly will not vote in a Republican primary or caucus.  The debate was broadcast nationally on cable.

                            Further, clearly some of the candidates at times were willing to take positions that would offend at least some of the Republican base and activists, as was demonstrated by some of the boos in the audience.   That makes it even more telling that none of them took a position of real stature on this question.

                            Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

                            by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 02:39:08 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  way to change the argument (0+ / 0-)

                        Here's the point:

                        That is just factually incorrect.  To cite the most pertinent example:

                           Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

                        The first amendment is a restriction on CONGRESS not citizens.

                        That was your argument which I countered. What you just now said is completely different. The point being that your original argument proved nothing. Do you get this?

                        •  I cited an example (0+ / 0-)

                          because I felt it was the clearest way to make the point.

                          It was clear to me that you found the example unconvincing, so I addressed your response directly with the broader argument.

                          Your interpretation of Article VI flies in the face of 200+ years of Constitutional interpretation and the writings of the forefathers and the philosophers they were reading at the time.

                          You don't get to just read the words in the Constitution without the context.

                          •  uh huh (0+ / 0-)

                            ok. That's not the point you see.

                            Your argument was unconvincing, which is what I pointed out. It was according to the argument you cited that my interpretation was making sense. And that's all I pointed out. Lose gracefully.

                          •  Wow, what gibberish (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            You were wrong initially and you are still wrong.

                            You seem much more intent on winning some esoteric point about the construction of my argument than in addressing your complete misunderstanding of the Constitution.

                            This is boring.

                          •  right (0+ / 0-)

                            You know how the courts have interpreted the Constitution to date. That's great. You have information in your head. You could have left it at that. I wouldn't have argued.

                            But in an attempt to "prove" it you construct an argument that does not prove it at all. And then, instead of admitting this, you change the argument, and now call it an esoteric point.

                            Your legal mind, I'm afraid, leaves much to be desired.

                            Information != intelligence. It's not enough to memorize stuff.

                          •  No support for your argument (1+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hidden by:

                            All you want to do is judge my intellectual capacity.

                            Can't help but notice you have done nothing to support your premise that the religious test clause can be applied to individual voters.

                            You, sir/madam, are an idiot.  And rather than face that fact, it appears you would prefer to go around calling others idiots.

                            I think I will move on to discussions of real issues with others.

                          •  well yes (0+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hidden by:
                            noble experiment

                            Can't help but notice you have done nothing to support your premise that the religious test clause can be applied to individual voters.

                            Another error. I haven't said that anywhere in this thread (others have). I was simply responding to your flawed argument. In a true wingnut fashion, rather than admit the fault of the argument, you switch it. That's disingenuous debating tactic.

                            You, sir/madam, are an idiot.

                            That's a donut.

                          •  Donut back at you (0+ / 0-)

                            For accusing me of doing exactly what you have done.

                            Wingnuts fail to support their own arguments by attacking the arguments of others.  If anyone should be conversing on wingnut sights it is you.  Just because you couldn't make the transition from my example to my point is no reason to spend multiple posts trying in some vain attempt to attack the intellectual purity of my argument without refuting the validity of my overall point.

                            Idiot.  Idiot. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.

                            Why not use your next five on me, too.

                          •  haha (0+ / 0-)

                            Wingnuts fail to support their own arguments by attacking the arguments of others.

                            Key distinction: I had no argument and no point to make, save for pointing out a flaw in yours.

                            attack the intellectual purity of my argument without refuting the validity of my overall point.

                            But I never had any quarrel with the overall point. There have been discussions elsewhere in the thread on that point, but I haven't supported them. So you see, the only argument was with the intellectual purity of your example. I have no idea why it bothers you so much.

                            Idiot.  Idiot. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.


                •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  milkbone, kyril

                  I saw a term the other week, something like thought genocide.

                  It's like suggesting capitalism might not be in our best interests. You just don't do it running for president, or in polite conversation.

                  It's not good enough anymore to say, 'I respect your right to believe', now you have to say, 'I might not believe exactly like you but I sure do believe.'

                •  The comment from debedb below (0+ / 0-)

                  makes it very clear that some here are like Gooserock and would like to limit our personal criteria for voting.

                  So I would submit that for some, my original comment was very on point as a refutation of their false construction of the Constitution.

                •  the youtube questioner did us all a big favor (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  by asking the question.

                  In doing so, he caused the entire Republican field of candidates and those present in the debate hall to reveal that Republicans believe in a religious test as a qualification for public office. As such, the Republican party is officially on the record as being opposed to Religious freedom for anyone other than conservative fundamentalist Christians.  Most of us already knew this, of course.  But there may be voters out there watching that didn't get it before now.

                  The questioner might have even had this in mind in the first place, but we will never know.

                  Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

                  by Mad Kossack on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:35:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  The Constitutional limitations do not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb608, kyril

          apply to private citizens.  Which is why I can kick you out of my house if you start spouting some political lines that I do not agree with.  The government however cannot kick you out of a city hall simply because it disagrees with your political statements.

          •  Agreed; that's not the problem (11+ / 0-)

            The citizen can ask whatever he wants.  But when his question is unmistakably, if implicitly, accepted by every candidate on the stage as appropriate to be applied to their candidacy, we got a problem.

            Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

            by Leaves on the Current on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:10:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wholeheartedly disagree (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              scrutinizer, noble experiment

              If that is what the voter wants to know the candidate is free to respond.  Or not.  It is not as if any of the candidates suggested that unless a person believes in Christian Bible, he will not get appointed to any position in the government.  The candidates simply told the voter about their personal beliefs.

              •  On the other hand (5+ / 0-)

                if the questioner had declared a firm disinclination to vote against anyone Black (or Jewish, which may come closer to the point, depending on the Bible used), you would have expected to have heard more of a peep of protest out of your party -- right?

                Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                by Major Danby on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:34:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  False choice. (0+ / 0-)

                  As much as I despise this group of Republican candidates, I am prepared to submit that if the voter had held up a copy of "Mein Kampf" or the KKK handbook and asked if they subscribe to it wholeheartedly, I am willing to bet that all of them would have vehemently (and honestly) said "No".

                  •  It's not actually a "choice" at all (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    zigeunerweisen, Mad Kossack, kyril

                    I don't disagree with your assertion, but I don't see its relevance.  My point was that there are other prejudices that voters may use to inform their voting without insulting the Constitution that would have been met with protest, and that difference is telling.

                    Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                    by Major Danby on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:10:04 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Christian belief is not a prejudice (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Major Danby, AnnCetera, PJ Jefferson

                      unfortunately its misapplication often is.

                      For the record, I'm Jewish.

                      I would submit that the voter basically indicated he would not vote for anyone other than a Christian, and unfortunately for the "true believer", that is probably a valid outcome of their belief.

                      I guess we now know what we are dealing with in this slate of Repub candidates.  I think the voter did us a great service.  I was already plenty horrified by these guys...but their answers were spot on in the context of the Republican primary.

                      •  actually indicated would only vote for Protestant (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        zigeunerweisen, TexasTwister, mayim

                        although that not clear from video.  Made clear video showed King James Version, which is a Protestant Bible, and as someone has already posted on this thread has a history of posting videos arguing that KJV is only legitimate version of Bible.   That targeted both Giuliani as a Catholic (who officially do not accept the KJV as an accurate translation into English) and Romney as a Mormon (for whom Book of Mormon has equal authority as does Bible).

                        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

                        by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 02:42:22 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  A subtlety I don't deny (0+ / 0-)

                          but it was lost on me, most of the candidates (probably) and most of the viewers, too, I bet.

                          Then again, maybe not.

                          This feels a lot like a Republican issue/problem.  Let's hope it ceases to be a problem for America when President Numbnuts leaves office and is replaced by a Democrat who respects the Constitutution.

              •  I'll disagree here (6+ / 0-)

                and while what you assert is factually correct in terms of the question and answer, Leaves' point is well taken in that in responding as they did instead of challenging the question, the candidates did, in fact, reveal that they would allow Christianity as a test, because they just did.

                "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."

                by rb608 on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 04:47:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry - that is not true about the Constitution (9+ / 0-)

          The whole basis of the articles of the constitution in a nushell is to set the powers of the federal government and the balances between their various branches.  The amendments set up the rights of individual citizens when confronting that federal power.  

          An individual voter, however, can set up any test they want - from loyalty to pink unicorns, to a bible that has been edited, re-edited, translated, re-translated, and written by hundreds of authors over dozens of generations.  

          The Book of Revelation is not a foreign policy manual.

          by Dont Just Stand There on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:52:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And it is the right of any political party (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            space, scrutinizer, Prognosticator

            to have any litmus test they choose, as unfortunate as that may be.

            In that context the candidate's answered the question.

            I'm not sure why so many here are having a problem grasping that.  And if the issue was the answers that were given, why are they so surprised they disagree on this issue with the Republican candidates?  I should think that would be expected.

        •  ...seriously??? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stridergambit, kyril

          Though from a practical standpoint I don't know how it could be enforced against citizens.

          This is in a section (indeed, in the same sentence) dealing with the oath of office. It has to do with the formalities of assuming office. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the basis for citizens' choices in an election.

          Good luck enforcing your view of proper public religious expression against citizens. It's a bizarre reading indeed of Article VI that trumps the plain meaning of Amend. I.

        •  I think it is self-evident (0+ / 0-)

          that it can't apply to individuals.

          The founders weren't crazy, and it would be crazy to presuppose that anyone could tell why someone is voting for president, or enforce that choice.

          People are free to vote for whatever reasons they want, including race, sex, religion, sexual preference or what have you.  

        •  The Constitution doesn't specify "whose test" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leaves on the Current, AnnCetera

          is imposed, but I infer from the context, since they're talking about Federal employment, that it's a government test.

          Citizens are entitled to any opinions they please on the Bible, and to vote accordingly. The problem is, if Presidents are to be elected on the basis of whether or not they believe "every word" of the Bible is true, then religious tests for Federal employment is the next logical step.

          And that step has already been taken in the case of the chaplains at the Air Force Academy.

        •  Nah. (0+ / 0-)

          remember, the Supreme Court doesn't have to be just 9 people.
          As soon as we get a Dem pres in 2008, he just needs to appoint 2 more SC justices.

          Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

          by drbloodaxe on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:59:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's absolutely their right (18+ / 0-)

        --but the problem is, the individual stated that a particular religious belief "will tell us all we need to know" about who should be president.  I'm not troubled that the question was asked; I'm troubled by how it was (not) answered.

        Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

        by Leaves on the Current on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:32:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why are you troubled? (4+ / 0-)

          I suspect this is not the first or only time you have disagreed with the entire slate of Republican candidates about how government should function.

          One need look no further than the current President to understand that the republican party does not plan to run the country consistent with the limitations of first amendment.

          The problem is the republican party (and mainly the fact that the electorate is giving them power) not the candidates who are merely a reflection of that party.

          •  I'll tell you why i'm troubled. (2+ / 0-)

            Religious extremism goes both ways. The people running this country have been swayed by a radical religious agenda that, for reasons that are to long to list, is detrimental to this country and what it stands for.

            "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

            by dotdot on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:28:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ...and not only that, but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Leaves on the Current

              What troubles me is that the question was asked and answered without so much as a comment from any of the journalists or candidates as to its propriety.

              The questioners are free to ask whatever they want. It was CNN that made the decision to use that particular question. It was the management from CNN who decided that it was appropriate and required no further comment.

              CNN has decided that the media can apply a religious test to candidates for high public office, and that they will promote that as being a sound idea.  

              Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

              by Mad Kossack on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:49:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Deep stretch (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                CNN decided it was a valid question because they felt it represented a viewpoint held by many in their audience.  The unfortunate part is that they are probably right.

                The CNN/You Tube format is at its best a people driven format - CNN inevitably will act as filter by the questions it chooses.  I would prefer they filter based on relevance to the audience, not their own opinion of what is relevant.

                CNN has its biases to be sure, but I think they called this one right.

                •  No stretch at all (2+ / 0-)

                  we'll just have to disagree about this:

                  CNN has its biases to be sure, but I think they called this one right.

                  and I'll repeat what I said above

                  CNN has decided that the media can apply a religious test to candidates for high public office, and that they will promote that as being a sound idea.  

                  It is the media, not the government which applies these tests in the information age we live in.

                  The point of this diary, as hyperbolic and overblown as the title may be, is that a youtube questioner asked a question which was unabashedly intended by that questioner as a religious test for public office. Then, the CNN administrators chose this question from among the thousands submitted as most appropriate.  Then, the candidates answered the question as if there were an appropriate response rather than saying something like this:

                  With all due respect to the questioner and his undoubtedly sincere beliefs, I am seeking to be president of the United States of America... a land filled with people of very diverse faiths and creeds. If I am elected president, my duty will be to administer the laws of the land free of partiality to any religious groups or prejudice against the same. And as it states in the Constitution of the United States, which I will be sworn to uphold, that there will be no religious test for holding public office in this country, I am going to keep my own personal religious beliefs to myself. I know that may not satisfy the gentleman's question, but so be it.

                  All that said, I don't object to the Republicans using whatever insane criteria they want to select their nominees.  I only object to sane people giving credence to their criteria. As I have said in another comment elsewhere, I think in a way that the questioner did us a favor by forcing the Republicans  to openly admit that they have no problem with a religious test for higher office.  

                  I put this religious question in the same category as the question from the woman who asked John McCain a couple of weeks ago "How do we beat the bitch?" re Hillary Clinton.  This Bible question, like the question about Hillary, is revealing in that no one objected to either one as inappropriate.

                  Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

                  by Mad Kossack on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:38:09 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Generally agree (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mad Kossack

                    but still say that CNN has a duty to have the questions asked that are important to the participants in the primary, not to some belief on their part about what is right.

                    And as you note, it was highly telling that the candidates responded the way they did.

                    You could (and some people have) spin this as CNN chose this question exactly to establish whether the Republican party is so far gone as to adopt a religious test.  If that is the case, it was very informative of them to choose this question.

                  •  Exactly. Well put. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mad Kossack

                    I agree completely (even that, yes, I could have chosen a more judicious title.  But haven't we learned that in the Age of Bush, panic is all too often justified?).

                    Thanks for putting things so clearly and cogently.

                    Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

                    by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:07:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  finish what was in the question (26+ / 0-)

        whose answer will tell us all we need to know

        the first part is not the problem, but the implication of this other part is to what one would hope one of the candidates would raise an objection.

        Please note -  in accepting that framing of the question, with its implication if you did not take it literally or as one's absolute guide, in not challenging that frame, the candidates were abandoning the principle of no religious test, no matter how you frame it.

        I pointed out to Leaves in her immediate reaction that there was nothing wrong with asking about how someone interpreted the Bible, that an individual voter could decide on any basis s/he chose.  The issue is rather how the candidate responds to that question.

        I would not phrase it as she did.  But in NOT standing up on the principle, the candidates tolerated a rejection of a basic constitutional principle, which implies a potential abandonment of the Constitution by a candidate willing to pander for votes in that fashion.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:33:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was obvious (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teacherken, TexasTwister

          where the questioner was coming from,i.e. a rigid intolerant black and white my way or the highway world view.I do think that we have to be a little careful that we don't fall into the trap of equal intolerance  in our response.

          I am not defending the individual's viewpoint just has right to ask the question that he did.

          As for the responses, well lets just say that they fell exactly where I  expected them to, all points from pandering to intolerance to the nonsensical.

          The end game is the presidency not the nomination

          by stevej on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:48:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What constitutional principle? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scrutinizer, Kal

          Last time I checked, a candidate was free to express any religious beliefs he wished.

          Any one of those candidates could have chosen to answer the question however they wished, and no matter what their answer was, would have been, or should have been, they would still be placed on ballots and the outcome determined by the number of votes they received.

          It is our goal to persuade our fellow citizens not to consider a candidate's religion as a factor in choosing leaders, and we are closer to success in some regions of the country than others.

          But there's no argument to be made here that a constitutional principle was rejected.

          •  Technically, you're right (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4Freedom, Mad Kossack

            However, if they had answered the question in a way the Media Powers deemed "wrong," they would have been tossed into the dustbin of "unserious" candidates. Free positive publicity would all but dry up, Tweety would stop having man-crushes on them, they'd stop getting huge time blocks and softball questions at debates, and in effect their electoral hopes would be crushed even if a plurality of Republicans would still have been inclined to vote for them.

            Face it, these debates aren't to inform the people; they're to provide the cable networks with the propaganda flavor of the month. CNN wanted to air that question because CNN wanted the answer so that CNN could spend countless hours babbling about which candidate they "think" gave the "best" answer. We don't elect people with votes anymore. We elect them with talk show minutes. The votes only make the difference between the two or three pre-approved candidates in each primary, which the media will select for us at some point in the next month.

            During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

            by kyril on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:51:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm inclined to think (18+ / 0-)

        his 'overblown buildup' is well worth a diary or two.

        For all practical purposes this is a primary that determines one of the two most likely people to swear an oath on this constitution--to preserve this constitution--as President.

        The constitution is fairly unambiguous -- no religious Test "shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

        If NOT ONE SINGLE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE has the good sense to note that

        a) The constitution forbids such 'religious test' for high office and

        b) doesn't feel that that article is somehow connected to his run for the highest office in the land than...

        c) how can he claim the role of Presidency--a role which is designed specifically and UNDER OATH to protect that very constitution--which includes the requirement NOT to use religious tests?

        Seems pretty clear and unequivocal to me. He CAN NOT.

        Tell me again why you're confused.

        If you want to guarantee a Republican President, vote for Hillary in the primaries. She's the single strongest unifying force the Republican party has.

        by DelicateMonster on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:58:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. Thanks. (7+ / 0-)

          Well said, DelicateMonster.

          Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

          by Leaves on the Current on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:02:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Then the questioner (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scrutinizer, jfadden, kyril

          was correct.

          whose answer will tell us all we need to know

          It certainly told all of us here all we need to know.

          "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -teacherken

          by offgrid on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:25:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  He isn't confused. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scrutinizer, Sharif

          Your logic is creative, but not persuasive.

          This isn't a "religious test." "Test" in the sense it is used in the Constitution means a qualification. A matrix that filters people by religion into "qualified" and "not qualified" categories.

          Are you contending that a candidate's answer, if not pandering to a religious crowd representing the base of the Republican party, would have prevented him from appearing on the ballot? From winning his party's nomination if victorious? From having the result determined by the number of votes?

          That's the relevent question.

          Candidates are free to answer questions about religion however they want. It isn't the government's responsibility to police what they say about religion.

          How would you propose these candidates be sanctioned for their religious statements? Please read that question carefully and consider who is the one violating that constitutional provision if you would propose disqualifying or sanctioning the candidates who religiously pander.

          . . . no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

          •  And if just one of those Republicans (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, jfadden, zigeunerweisen, FOS

            had answered. "Actually, I don't believe the bible is a Holy Book at all. I think it's an aggregate of mostly old, contradictory and sometimes horrifyingly inane postulates about the way humans act and ought to act. Anyone who uses it solely as a guide for modern behavior is patently out of their minds." it would have destroyed their candidacy.

            So in answer to your question:

            Are you contending that a candidate's answer, if not pandering to a religious crowd representing the base of the Republican party, would have prevented him from appearing on the ballot?

            I respond, "Of course" It would have destroyed his candidacy for the Presidency. He might be on the ballot of a Primary state or two, but that would be pro forma. He would never win the Primary after such an answer, and thus would never make it to the ballot on the General election. I think this is pretty obvious.

            As a legal matter, I understand where you are coming from and obviously a single question that can be freely answered does not rise to what was intended by 'religious test' in terms of the constitution. But as a practical matter the question does precisely that:

            A matrix that filters people by religion into "qualified" and "not qualified" categories.

            Is exactly how that question was designed to be used, especially with the emphasis--"the answer tells us all we need to know."

            A reasonably cogent defender of the constitution would have told the chump who asked that question to take a flying fuck at the moon.

            Instead, not a single one even questioned the nature of the question nor what it was designed to do--that is, filter out the nominees based on a religious question--exactly what the constitution forbids.

            So while  it's certainly not a federal case, it smells to high heaven, and I am very comfortable with a diary expressing outrage on the point, whether it meets 'prosecutorial' standards or not.

            If you want to guarantee a Republican President, vote for Hillary in the primaries. She's the single strongest unifying force the Republican party has.

            by DelicateMonster on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:39:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The only possible though it: (0+ / 0-)

        what? are you totally insane?

        You'll pay me the 8s I won of you a-betting?

        by Boreal Ecologist on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:35:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is not the point (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leaves on the Current, rb608, FOS

        The point is that the person's test for the Presidency was clearly NOT the Constitution, but religious affiliation, a total breach of Article I.  I agree with the diarist: that noone clarified the importance of that distinction and the importance of the Constitution is very troubling. It's gotten far too acceptable to challenge someone's character, patriotism, and even citizenship on the basis of religion--and the lack of outrage is defeaning.

        "The only way you can beat the lawyers is to die with nothing." Will Rogers

        by Residentcynic on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:35:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe Overreacting, But Definitely VERY Late (0+ / 0-)

      The Constitution was girdled by Reagan and like a girdled tree, green as it might be, it was moribund before he left office.

      It's been a lot more vulnerable and dangerously out of date than most of us give it credit for, pretty much since industrialization began.

      Which would be in the time of the framers themselves.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:34:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You might be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Farugia, sunbro

      You have to remember that this was a Republican debate, so there would inevitably be religious questions.

    •  I'm waiting impatiently for the Joseph Smith test (6+ / 0-)

      Good luck with that one Mitt..! All five of Mitts sons might have to enlist and help fight the evur-nevur ending wars..Will Mittts sacrifice his sons for the the book of mormans..How in the hell were the golden sheaves lost..What, you missplaced themm...Ah, Joe you can always change your name as Mitts Ramney morphs into the eternul-infurnul evur spinning top..Now you see him and now youse dont..Who was that masked man..May Rudeee and the Mittster ride off into the sunset hand in hand..Damn rumors..Big Jon MakKane is always the huggy one..kissin and huggin gee w...Trankadaro and Huklebees will set out for the territories to seeek Gawd...Dont youse know that Gawd is Poo Bear and the sparkler dins will rain down..Folding in the final shore and cuppping the peaks..Desolation aint soo fukin bad..Of course a good blond for Juliani and an unlimited terrorist tryst expense account..Rudy..Rudy..Rudy..Love you guys ! A team in total and complete disssaray..The GOP asylum, the sdnake pit, the absurdity of being a rethug and nevur-Nevur having to say your sorrreee...Cause Nan upset the fukin table..Thanks Ms Nan

      "Better a little late, than a little never"..Doctor Julian Winston

      by Johnny Rapture on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:40:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not a religious test to me, it's competence (8+ / 0-)

      A citizen said: your religious opinion tells us all we need to know to decide whether you should be president.  And no one onstage or off objected to that at all.

      I didn't get to see the debate, but I definitely want to see this section, since it is vitally important. It was a religious test, but it was a religious test many Republicans can easily pass.

      There's one question that is the absolute baseline for me in determining who to vote for. Do you accept that evolution is a fact?

      It's not about "believing in evolution" (although, I'd accept that if it was just a small semantical difference from the question), and it's not really even about evolution.

      It's just the most simplistic way to judge whether a person can assess and accept reality and use reasoning in most situations. Everyone knows the only reason a person would say that they don't accept evolution is because of an adherence to religious dogma. You can be religious and accept evolution, and that's fine with me. I may find it hypocritical, personally, but it's not a breaking issue for me in that sense.

      But if they reject evolution it's the clearest case that to them their dogmatically held beliefs supersede reality, and that person is unfit to lead the country. I'm never voting for a person who believes fairy tales are true, and that their strong belief in those fairy tales dictate basically everything they do.

      This to me was a question that is another way to get at assessing the dogmatism of a candidate (though, again, I did not see the question asked, so I don't know if the questioner was assessing whether the person should be MORE dogmatic, or less). That to me is not a religious test at all. That's a competence test, and a vital test to be applied to all candidates regardless of position, party, or power.

      •  Creationism is based on what we knew (5+ / 0-)

        and accepted at the time Genesis was written.  

        Since then, we've split the atom, been to the moon, and made computers.

        Reality has changed.

        Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. --Will Rogers

        by groggy on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:12:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  unfit to lead, unfit to vote, unfit period (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rightiswrong, jfadden, rb608, artmartin

        seriously.  Nobody who admits in public that they have a delusion about an invisible sky wizard who tells them what to do should be allowed any responsibility whatsoever.

        •  That's going a little far (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scrutinizer, zigeunerweisen, FOS

          To the extent that one believes that the Invisible Pink Unicorn tells one how one should behave, or predicts the future, or otherwise makes unfalsifiable claims, I'm okay with that as long as IPU doesn't require its adherents to do things I consider immoral that would materially affect their ability to discharge their office.

          In cases, however, where the candidate believes that the IPU makes material, falsifiable claims about physical reality (past and present), and that those claims should be believed based on faith in spite of evidenced to the contrary, I'm more than a little uneasy about supporting them for public office.

          However, your suggestion of disenfranchisement is inexcusable. Nobody should be disenfranchised, when the laws of the land affect them - no religious group, no ethnic group, no sex or sexual preference, not even children, resident aliens or convicted felons.

          During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

          by kyril on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:16:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hypocritical?!? (0+ / 0-)

        Now he's calling Maimonides and St. Augustine Hypocritical!

        Excuse me, sir, but your reading of religion is even poorer than mine. Would you be interested in some facts to improve your reasoning?

        Galileo was under house arrest partially because one of the Tests of Faith of the Jesuits at the time (and no time before or since) was to believe in the Aristotelian view of the universe -- whenever it didn't obviously conflict with their faith.

        I agree, if you can't believe what's before your eyes, you have no business making decisions for other people.  However, I would say that many people make moral decisions based on spiritual views, and I laud their accomplishments.

        "Is the Wheel of Time done yet?" -- perennial cry of the fen. Sorry, is my sense of humor showing?

        by RisingTide on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:16:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your diary gave me chills. (7+ / 0-)

      We can't let this continue; these fops called "politicians".

    •  Jesus Christ and Andrew Jackson, No! (8+ / 0-) are not over-reacting.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:09:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Republicans Waterboarded the Constitution (5+ / 0-)

      We are all being tortured by these fascists who want to be the Republican nominee.

    •  yes and no. (5+ / 0-)

      Being disturbed by that question (and subsequent answers) was quite justified.

      Saying the constitution is dead when none of those yahoos have been elected to the white house is a bit over dramatic.

      Save it for later (assuming the worst).

    •  What twisted hellish parody (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catfood, 4Freedom, Leap Year, kyril

      of the rule of law the Republicans have created from the remains of our country! What we have left doesn't really so much resemble the maniacal theocracy of my nightmares. It's much closer to some sad former Soviet republic on the verge of civil war.

      I watched only the last five minutes or so of this "debate" and came away with the impression that CNN and the rest of the so-called news outlets must feel threatened by the World Wrestling Foundation in terms of the quality of feigned drama. I do feel somewhat cheated that I missed the bible toting parishioner demanding a loyalty oath to the his beloved tome of moral psychosis and asexual reproductive technique. Too bad he couldn't have thrown a folding chair at Rudy for his religious and sexual transgressions to complete my WWF analogy.

      Despite all this, I'm secretly hoping that what I really may be witnessing here is the self immolation of Religious Republicanism, and not the death of our Constitution. It's too bad the media can't smell the smoke and sound the appropriate alarm, but they're beyond hope, I suppose.

      So I'll suspend my judgment on what is really dying for the moment, but agree on the unmistakable odor of death.

      I didn't stick around for the breathless postmortems. Five minutes was all I needed. By the way, does Fred Thompson actually have a pulse? Maybe that's what we're smelling. hell below us, above us only sky.

      by rightiswrong on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:00:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scrutinizer, leberquesgue, Caj

      Am I overreacting?

      Yes.  Completely and totally.

      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jordans11, Argyrios

        More to the point, the diarist is misinterpreting what the Constitution means by a "religious test."

        A voter asking candidates about their religion is not a "religious test."  A political climate in which atheists can't get elected is not a "religious test."  The constitution does not in any way prohibit how voters can make up their minds when voting.  
        A "religious test" is any rule or restriction imposed by the government on who can hold an office, on the basis of religion.  

        The very idea that this dude could or should be prohibited from asking that question is just absurd.   The idea that the Constitution itself prohibits his speech is insultingly absurd.

        •  You have seriously misinterpreted (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teacherken, jfadden, gildareed

          --what I am asserting.  Probably my fault for writing too quickly and passionately, but still.

          To reiterate what:

          The questioner unquestionably has every Constitutional right to ask such a question, and to make it the basis for his private voting decision.

          The csndidates have every individual right to answer it.

          And yes, of course, technically, this was not a Constitutional issue, inasmuch as no one was legislating that the answer to the question should include or exclude someone from qualification for the presidency.

          But, but, BUT:  look at what really happened here:

          1.  One of only two parties with the power to decide whom we can choose for president held a debate, in which a private, individual concern was phrased in such a way as to universalize it for the audience ("will tell US all WE need to know").
          1.  The debate sponsor allowed that question to be asked during the debate so that its answer could inform the voting choice of the millions watching or listening when they enter the voting booth next year.
          1.  The question, thus universalized and linked to the actual probable exercise of presidential choice, was then further legitimized by being answered with seriousness, credibility, and detail by every candidate who could do so.
          1.  And not a single person pointed out that the Constitution forbids the subject of the question from being an official criterion of qualification for the presidency.

          Now, perhaps I am overreacting in seeing this as a de facto, though not de jure, breach of what is called in another constitutional context the "wall of separation between church and state."  

          Perhaps you are correct in believing that that wall-- in this case, the wall of distinction between Constitutionally forbidden legal criteria and publicly sanctioned official discussion in an official party debate--held firm in the minds of everyone in that auditorium last night.  

          But I beg to doubt it.  

          Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

          by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:10:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Still don't see the unconstitutional part. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            No matter how you phrase it, the question still wasn't a violation of the US constitution.  
            However much the question was "universalized," whatever the Hell that means, it was still a question by a voter in a debate.  By no stretch of the imagination can this be construed as a governmental restriction on who can hold office.
            The Constitution does not restrict whether the public can apply a "religious test" when they choose a candidate.  Indeed, you would need a dictatorship to restrict such a thing.

    •  Sorry, the Constitution died in 2000 (8+ / 0-)

      when the Senate ratified the electoral vote from Texas, in absolute contradiction to Article II,  which states that candidates for president and vice president can be from the same state only they are not entitled to the electoral votes for that state.

      By every criteria that you or I would use to establish our legal residence (home address, homeowner's exemtpion, drivers license, place of business, income tax returns, state tuition rates for college), Richard Cheney was a resident of the state of Texas at the time of his self-selection and subsequent claim for the 25 electoral votes from Texas.

      On the last possible day, at the last possible hour, Mr. Cheney rushed into a registrar of voters office in Wyoming and claimed that his vacation home as his legal residence -- a total, absolute lie. The moment this occurred I knew that we were dealing with people who believe that the Constitution, the most sacred of sacred documents to an American citizen, is just a "goddamned piece of paper," as George Bush recently was quoted as saying.

      All the brohaha over Florida neatly covered up this dasterdedly deed.

      Everyone does better when EVERYONE does better.

      by Blue Patriot Woman on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 02:48:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a telling moment, revealing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, artmartin

      what the Republican party has come to stand for.  The Republican party supports government religion - and that religion is Protestant Christian.  If you, citizen, are not a white Protestant, STFU and you're not welcome in the Republican party nor in the US, in the Republican view.  Non-white or non-Christians are to be tolerated at best, ignored most often, and discriminated against as needed.  Republicans feel they can just ignore the Constitution as a 'quaint' document.

      It's a news show, involving actual news, to about the same extent that Cheez Whiz involves actual cheese. - Bob Harris

      by lizpolaris on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 03:38:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Repuglican leadership, except for maybe Bush, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snazzzybird, lizpolaris

        is cynical about religion. They well know it's the opiate of the people, and that by harping on gay marriage and abortion they can corral enough votes in many parts of our country to win political victories.

        Religion is just another weapon in the Republican arsenal at present. The outing of members of congress and of prominent Protestant leaders gives the lie to the sincerity of their convictions.

        Many wingers do not practice what they preach, they only preach.

        There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

        by 4Freedom on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:46:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  not over reacting (0+ / 0-)

      I lived in the South for over 25 years and was so sick and tired of people asking me if I was "saved".   I really hate when someone uses the phrase "may god bless the United States of America" because I wonder which or whose god they are referring to.  Of course, academically I know the answer, but I always hope they mean anyone's god or the universal one, or something other than just shoving "this Country was founded as a Christian nation" down our throats.

    •  Never doubt for a moment we are at war internally (3+ / 0-)

      The religious radicals who present the greatest danger to America as we know it call themselves Americans. Their threat is not violence to America's body but violence to its soul, which is far more deadly.

      In conclusion, there is no conclusion, only transformation.

      by Doc Magnus on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 04:56:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're not overreacting at all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leaves on the Current, artmartin

      I haven't logged in in a while and yours is the first diary that made me sign on to hit that Rec. button.

      I didn't watch the debate, but I saw this question in the debate thread.  What bothers me is that I'm so inured to crap like this question (and the responses) I didn't even think about the point your diary makes, which is an excellent one.  In fact, I'm still a bit stunned by the the realization.

      Thank you.

      Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. -H.L. Mencken

      by Kwaidan on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:29:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wonder how the questioner (0+ / 0-)

      would have felt had he been in a similar forum in a Mideastern political debate (that's a stretch) and someone from the audience held up a Koran and asked a similar question.  My guess is his inner crusader would have engaged and his outrage over the Muslim influence over politics would have kicked in.

      I used to be a Republican long ago (youthful idiocy) but they will never attract me back until they denounce the religious fundamentalists in their organization.

    •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

      The Constitution died on December 12, 2000.  Everything since then has been it thrashing about in its death throes.  This is just one more spasm before it's well and truly gone.

    •  Well, Leaves, to be frank, (0+ / 0-)

      there's always been an implicit religious test for the Presidency. No self-professed atheist would ever make it past the primaries, and even his or her meagre backers would probably advise him/her to save their money.

      I first moved to the US during the runup to the 1996 election. I was struck by how thoroughly Bubba had festooned his re-inauguration speech with "God this" and "God that." I'm not sure how Harper has been, but historically, if a Canadian Prime Minister had been so forthright in citing God in their speeches, people would have recoiled in horror. I can't imagine that even Harper could get away with that.

      The fact that Mitt's Mormonism may prevent him from breaking away from the primary field tells us all we need to know about Americans' willingness to actually adhere to the Constitution's dictates on religious pluralism.  

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:27:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think this was a dig at Romney (0+ / 0-)

      But I get your point.

      That said, do you really think any of these candidates would have dared mentioning what you suggest to a Republican audience?

      I think it is a shame that in this day and age we are looking at candidates who do not believe in evolution, much less taking the Bible as literal. And they complain about Islam??????

      Also, I would have liked to hear all the candidates answer that one!

      01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

      by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:58:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember, this was among Republicans. (0+ / 0-)

      The only thing they like about the Constitution is that it feels soft and fluffy when they wipe their asses with it. Did you really expect any of that lot to stand up for a piece of paper that doesn't vote, at the risk of pissing off the coveted Fucktard Bloc?

      And the audience? They're carefully vetted for ability to sit still and not react in any way that takes attention from the participants. Just in case, they're warned that they'll be ejected for any kind of outburst, even warned if they applaud or laugh too loud. If I'd been there, I would have had my head in my hands, but you wouldn't have heard or seen anything from me on the tube.

      If the Constitution died, it was reduced to cremains by the Bush League years before this moment.

      "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

      by AdmiralNaismith on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:08:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, Blue Patriot Woman

      First of all, the constitution has died hundreds if not thousands of times in the last few years (and occasionally under prior administrations) at the hands of actual government officials who are obligated to uphold it--things like the Fourth Amendment being ignored or "interpreted" out of existence.

      Ordinary citizens are not obligated to memorize the constitution, and in fact individual voters are free to use whatever criteria they wish in deciding who to vote for...not allowing a fundie to ask candidates whether they share his views--that would violate the First Amendment guarantee of free speech (if the government, rather than CNN) did it.

      The Constitution has never been real popular...I remember decades ago someone polled Americans by stating the meaning of the First Amendment, then asking if they supported it without telling them what it was...people were overwhelmingly opposed. The Constitution is rarely a winner in popularity contests, which is one reason why the politically-insulated federal judiciary is tasked with its interpretation rather than Congress or the President (Bush, of course, hasn't let that hold him back).

      You are way off base.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:15:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the GOP nomination is not a public office (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      i'd be a lot more concerned if this came up in a debate this fall.

      Newsday: Rudy Giuliani missing in action for Iraq panel

      by jethropalerobber on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:30:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, you're not over-reacting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leaves on the Current

      I've been watching the escalation this hypocritical sideshow involving the reichwingnuttia element with a growing sense of horror for years.

      I do genealogy research so I'm quite aware of when and why my Separatist and Quaker ancestors got here, right along with the other religious groups.  They were escaping monarchies that were intent on imposing a state religion on people.  While my ancestors were not among those who then turned around and tried to impose religion on people, I see the logic of the Founding Fathers' inclusion of Article VI:

      ... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

      It is perfectly logical to me, as is the First Amendment's clause that gives us freedom OF religion as well as freedom FROM religion, which is why I was so horrified when not one Congress Critter objected to Georgie's executive order (one of the first he issued in 2001) that funded faith-based charities.  If someone wants to donate to faith-based charities, I have no problem; it's their money and they can do what they want with it.  I do have a problem with our tax dollars funding religious organizations of any kind!

      Among the first white settlers in this country were also the not-so-religious capitalists, and many were both religious nuts who tried to impose their religion on people as well as being profit-seekers.  The illogicality of escaping religion imposed on them and their turning around and trying to do the same thing to others seems to have escaped them.

      Now the fundamentalists are doing the same to us today, which is all against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

      BOTH Lamestream Media and Congress Critters are treating the reichwingnuttia fundies with all the delicacy of the mentally unbalanced and sexually perverted rich uncle whose fantasies have to be indulged even as they give him money to make him richer so he can live in his delusions and continue his abuses, and none will point out what the Constitution or the First Amendment to him, nor call him on his illogical mindset regarding how science is being taught in our public schools, nor suggest that he needs counseling - and should be put in jail for the rest of his life for sexually abusing children or rape.  These blindly faithful fundies who have never been taught to think for themselves need to be taken off their kool-aid medicines and go through psychological cult de-programming, not be catered to because of their delusions.

      WHY?!?  I want to know why neither Lamestream Media nor our Congress Critters will point out the logical inconsistencies, nor point out to these people what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights says.  The Founding Fathers, children of the Enlightenment, were wise beyond the comprehension of most modern people's ability to appreciate when they included the separation of church and state when they gave us the blueprint for our Republic.

      While a few religious people have done much good because they live their religion and do not proselytize (and those individuals are to be appreciated)..., the hypocritical fundamentalists are a clear and present danger to the Republic our Founding Fathers gave us.  If someone wants to practice their religion at home or in their houses of worship or donate to their favorite religious charities, fine (it's their money and they are only making the fundie leaders wealthy beyond their wildest dreams).  The other reich-wingnuts who want to impose their religion on others should head back to the classroom and actually read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, read other early documents written by the Founding Fathers, study history, and while they're at it, actually read the Bible - the whole thing, not just endlessly repeat selected verses that were taken out of context in the first place.

      To mix religion and politics is a dangerous precedent that needs to be halted in its tracks!


      by NonnyO on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:35:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where Do You Think The Term... (0+ / 0-)

      "Preaching to the choir", came from?

      Dude, they're professional politicians. It's their job for you to like them. Since they're Republicans, and you're a Democrat, they're probably not going to get you to like them anyway, and you're going to have a hard time looking at the debate objectively anyway.

      Consider the GOP's Southern Strategy, which is essentially a bunch of closeted homosexuals pitching a lifestyle and morality based on fundamentalist religious teachings. Name me one piece of Congessional legislation in this vein which they've delivered on.

      What were Paul's views on the Trilaterals you found so loony? He said they exist, and their game plan is a one world government. Correct, and correct. Quick history lesson: the two wealthiest families in the world are the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds. David Rockefeller started the Trilateral Commission (although it's parentage can be found in the CFR, et al) in the same vein that the Rothschilds are responsible for the Bilderbergers.

      Paul was vague on the WTO, but his stating of the relative positions was correct.

      I'm kinda rooting for a Hil-Paul showdown for a couple of reasons. First, you'd have a Democrat who really isn't a Democrat running against a Republican who really isn't a Republican. Second, the campaign will expose the media to the general public for what it really is: a bunch of entertainers masquerading as journalists dancing to the strings pulled by their puppetmasters. The same media which has dissed Hil the last 6 years about ready to do a 180 and sing her praises bankrolled by those evil Trilaterals which don't, according to you, exist.  

      •  quite wrong on wealthiest familiesin the world (0+ / 0-)

        neither one would make the top ten right now.  In the US you have the Gates family (until they give away their wealth), the Allen family (Paul, also of Microsfot), the Walton family (as in Wal-mart, not the tv sow). the Mars family, and quite a few more whose family wealth may well exceed that of the Rockefellars.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:10:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  overreacting? (0+ / 0-)

      Not really, but religion has been a requirement for Republicans ever since the religious right took over the party. They honestly believe that you must be religious (and not just any kind of religion) to be president.

      Romney just as well pack it up. He will never be their candidate because he doesn't belong to main stream religion.

      If you see me behind you..don't assume I'm following you. We just happen to be going the same way and if you slow down, I'll run over your ass.

      by TKH on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:16:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're overreacting. (0+ / 0-)

      It would have been a very bad idea (for a candidate) to refuse to answer the question on the grounds you presented.

      Occasionally, as a political candidate, you have to field political questions from nutballs.  There's no two ways around it.  Knowing how to deal with them eliminates sound bites your opponents could use against you.

    •  You're overreacting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's what the American public would have wanted to hear.  Would Jefferson have answered "No, Christianity is a 7 headed dragon" on television?  No, he was smarter than that.

      It's also not a religious test, which would presumably have been required to make someone eligible to run for president, not eligible for the people to actually want to vote for him or her.  There's quite the difference.

      These overwrought diary titles make ME want to die.

    •  Yes you are overreacting.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ..not in your feelings, but in your constituional interpretation.

      The clause you cite is the oath clause.  The idea is that no religious "test" shall be incorporated into any oathes that are mandates of serving public office.

      No constitutional issue here as a matter or fact or law.  Im not sure what you mean by spirit.  This is republicans.  They are Christian at the root.  That is their party, and what seperates us from them.  That is why they suck, and we dont.  

    •  You are not overreacting (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for pointing this out.  T&R.

      "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

      by MikeTheLiberal on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 10:02:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I think you're overreacting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Constitution does not say that American's can't consider religious beliefs as part of what they consider important in a candidate. It simply says that their can't be a qualification that a politician be of a particular religion in order to be elected. I doubt very much that our founding fathers ever intended to stifle religious freedom by banning people from considering religion when making their decisions. The entire purpose of the religious limitations placed in the Constitution was to promore the right to make your own religious choices and to prevent the state from establishing a religion for it's citizens.

      You vote independent... I'll stick with the party that brought us social security, civil rights, and environmental protection.

      by dianem on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 10:40:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd have to say yeah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The clause you refer to in the Constitution explicitly prohibits a religious test that is imposed by the government as a precondition for holding office--there is no prohibition of the voters using a religious test as a criteria for who they vote for.  The socially imposed religious test has actually been in place for a Long time and quite simply trying to eliminate that would run afoul of the freedom to practice religion along with free speech-- voting based upon that criteria being an expression of the voters belief.

      Don't get me wrong, we're just as entitled (and I believe justified) to our moral objections to imposing a religious test upon our candidates.

      Also there's a congressman from VA that was arguing not long ago that muslims not be allowed to hold office.  I had a serious problem with his doing so outside of the context of proposing to amend the constitution.  In my view, without a serious proposal to amend the constitution of the religious test prohibition, that congressman violated his oath of office.

    •  The death of 1000 small affronts... n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think that the "no religious test" part means that you can't be asked about a religion or talk about religion.  It means that there can be no law prohibiting a certain person from running for office because they are a certain religion.  For example, no state can write a law saying "If you are of the Islamic faith, you cannot be governor."  People can vote for or not vote for a candidate for whatever reason they want.  If you are a religious bigot and you don't want to vote for a Muslim because they are Muslim, that's up to you.  You're just a d-bad.  That's my thought anyway.  I don't think it's supposed to mean it is unconstitutional in a debate to ask about religion, it's supposed to mean that anyone of any faith can seek office.

      That being said, I think its ridiculous that so many people think that "Christian values" are what this nation was founded on when it really was founded on ideas like religious freedom, separated power, individual liberty, and reasoned discourse.

    •  I posted the same thing this morning (0+ / 0-)

      at another blog before I read your diary, and said almost the exact same words.  Obviously, I wasn't as alone as I thought in thinking this.  It was not America's finest hour.

      Read it here.

      There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one. -5.25, -4.67

      by wolverinethad on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:23:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your update says it all. That is the point, (0+ / 0-)

      isn't it? I agree that the question itself was shocking, and the fact that they answered as they did just confirms their pandering to the RR.

      Trickle Up is a Downer....

      by Gorette on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 02:59:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I (0+ / 0-)

      absolutely 100% agree with you.  Scary shit.

    •  No, you didn't. (0+ / 0-)

      I too take it to mean exactly what you perceived -- a religious test.  We have to call the right-wingers on it every single time.  If we don't, we will regret it the rest of our lives, and our descendants will revile us as the biggest fools on the face of the planet.

      "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18 (-8.50, -7.23)

      by Noor B on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:08:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  its not a GOVERNMENT requirement (10+ / 0-)

    Republicans are a private organization, they can demand from a person they put up to run that the person tatoo their whole body purple.

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:22:59 PM PST

    •  No, it's a testing for the presidency (10+ / 0-)

      This isn't an exercise for a private club; it's a test to determine who will be one of only two serious choices the American people will have for the most important Constitutional office in the U.S.

      Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

      by Leaves on the Current on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:25:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  not an official test by the government (4+ / 0-)

        doesn't matter what half- ass test republicans bestow on their candidate. What part of official and government do you not understand. And btw political parties are not part of the constitution at all.

        fact does not require fiction for balance

        by mollyd on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:28:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But it WAS NOT the Republicans (11+ / 0-)

          it was a national news organization asking this question as though it was an appropriate question to ask ANY person running for the Presidency.  And it was NOT.

          1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

          by noweasels on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:39:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I completely agree noweasels... (13+ / 0-)

            Why didn't just one of them have the guts to quote from our own Constitution?  We fled from England to find our own Freedom of Religion....That all men are created equal, that we have indeed respect and honor for all those that have different beliefs and creeds....

            I am so sick of the first Religious Party (Republican) taking America back 100s of years, in every way.  I find the person that asked this question, was the same thing that happens when the Republicans get so upset if we have the opportunity to have a new supreme Court member, and they shit all over themselves, saying, "Or no, we won't have a litmus test," while lying through their teeth....

            One of those idiots tonight could have had enough courage to quote the exact words from our Constitution on freedom of religion, but instead, they sucked it up, and drank the kool aid big time....

            WHAT A SAD DAY IT HAS BECOME...when they stand in front of millions of Americans (many of them already sworn to protect the Constitution), and then piss on it all in a day....

            The question, and the reaction were the same.  Please stop parsing your words people, and stop trying to be so "accurate" (or else go clean your drawers out and put you CD's in order)...

            For God what it says in the Constitution.....The day that we get these Rethug Jesusbiscuits out of our government, will be a day we can all celebrate.  Don't you get it how these fundamentalists are no different from the Jihads crazies?  They are the same.....when will we find sanity again?  

            I completely agree with your Diary all the way....everyone up on that stage pretended that our Constitution, already in tatters should be used to wipe the sweat off their lying foreheads.....what a bunch of suck ups....


          •  unless CNN was deliberately sabotaging it (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            North Coast Ohioan, kyril

            I haven't seen the clip, but seems to me like the only "right" answer (no religious test, constitution, religious freedom, etc) was one that none of the people on stage could have given without alienating the evangelical "base" they're all hoping to win.  So, if the question was selected to make all of them own their stance as an unconstitutional religious whack-job, it worked out great!  

            This one question probably managed to piss off the talibangelicals, piss off the athiests, piss off the NON-xtianists- Sure, CNN picked the question, but after it's over, everyone except the 24-percenters is mad at all of the GOP candidates, which presumably only helps the good guys.  

          •  Why not? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            scrutinizer, kyril, artmartin

            Aren't you freaked out by someone who accepts the Bible as the literal truth, or even the actual word of G-d?

            Don't you want to hear them say they believe it's an allegorical work intended for an audience that didn't understand the concept of planets and stars?

            In our society, I think there are few more appropriate questions. This is one of the defining issues for this country -- this isn't some stupid flag-burning amendment. There are school boards that are trying to supplant the teaching of evolution, and the big-bang theory -- replacing it with a fable. The ban on stem-cell research, etc....

            This is a serious issue. At this time in our politics, I don't think this country can stand a President who thinks the Bible is literal history, or for that matter, a President who isn't willing to say that it's ridiculous to think the Bible is literally true.

            I can't understand why you think this is not an appropriate question to ask....Are we only allowed to know some things about the candidates, and theier personal religious beliefs are completely out-of-bounds, even if they might be germane to the most important policy debates in our country.

            Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

            by FischFry on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:00:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  One can refuse to vote for Barack Obama (3+ / 0-)

        solely because he's Black, and the Constitution is not offended.  But listeners to such a pledge ought to be, and your criticism of them is well taken.

        To me, the interesting juxtaposition is this versus Romney's "mercy no!" reaction to being asked to suck up to the Stars and Bars.  When did the GOP get over that?

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:36:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think you miss her point (19+ / 0-)

      which is that not ONE of the nominees pointed out that the implication of the question was that even asking that question implied a religious test

      it might not be government, and it might be something that is entirely within the competence of an individual voter to apply, but that not one of the potential nominees raised a concern about the phrasing represents an abandonment of the Constitution

      after all -   Ron Paul could oppose the President on Iraq

      John McCain could oppose the President on waterboarding, on abandoning Geneva

      Mike Huckabee could defend giving services to the children of undocumented aliens

      but not one raise a challenge to the framing of the question

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:27:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They DID try that purple thumb thing (0+ / 0-)

      remember? Heh. hell below us, above us only sky.

      by rightiswrong on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:08:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  bs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, kyril

      If they are a "private" organization, then what's with all the laws and regulations governing primaries, who can vote and all that, for instance? Why are states in the business of regulating that? Let them regulate their own damn primaries.

      •  Exacty (0+ / 0-)

        And don't taxpayers pay for the primaries? Don't we pay for the matching funds for primary candidates who accept public financing? Don't we provide the voting machines? If the Republican Party is a private organization, let it run its own damn elections (or crown a candidate with no elections, if it prefers)?

        During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

        by kyril on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:24:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree that the degree of religious (8+ / 0-)

    kowtowing that has crept into politics is disgusting.

    But we may be witnessing a course correction of sorts. The religious right is slowly losing its cohesion as a political movement.

  •  What would people have said (20+ / 0-)

    had the book been the Koran?  Well said, Leaves on the Current.  This country is NOT (yet, anyway) a theocracy.  And that was one scary moment.

    1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

    by noweasels on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:29:25 PM PST

    •  Easy enough for me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kimoconnor, kyril, artmartin

      had I been a candidate the answer would have been "No" to either book, despite the fact that I find both fascinating in many ways.  But "every word is true"?  In fact I would answer "Hell no!"

      Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -4.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.15

      by bythesea on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:50:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did I miss something? (11+ / 0-)

    When was The Constitution resurrected so that it could die again?

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.
    Goodness Gracious

    by BalanceSeeker on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:30:27 PM PST

  •  Keep in mind this is the 5th Great Awakening (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trix, madhaus, mcfly, jfadden, 4Freedom, kyril

    Honestly, I figure the U.S. has been run this way at least since Jackson.

    Let me show you my Christians. My Christians: let me show them to you.

    by hhex65 on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:31:47 PM PST

  •  I understand the chill it gave you (10+ / 0-)

    because this has come up before in other places where people have stated that God comes before the Constitution.

    I doubt any of the candidates had the courage to say that, tonight, but it should be asked of them again and clarified if they believe that the Constitution comes first.  

    I think they could have at least said that it is a private issue.  Of course, we can now see where they stand, too, rather than guess....sigh.

    Thanks for your diary.

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat Wednesday evenings 8 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:35:26 PM PST

  •  The fact that CNN would even consider that (11+ / 0-)

    to be an appropriate question is simply horrifying.  We are slipping, perhaps not quietly, but surely, into abandonment of one of the bedrock principles of this country -- espoused in The First Amendment, endorsed by the Founders -- that religion and government do NOT mix.  The Christian rightists -- the Chalcedon types -- endorse the view that this framework is mythical.  It is not.  But when the MSM buys into it, it is truly scary.  What kind of question was THAT?

    1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

    by noweasels on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:37:13 PM PST

    •  Oh, I think it was appropriate to ask (18+ / 0-)

      knowing it is a widely held belief in the Republican base.  It gave the candidates an opportunity to speak as potential leaders of the entire country, and in my opinion they all failed.

      Especially when, as you might know if you watched Hardball tonight, Mike Huckabee's latest ad in Iowa had the title superimposed on the video of "Christian Leader."  

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:39:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  teacherken (6+ / 0-)

        I so seldom disagree with you, but I do disagree here.  It doesn't surprise me that Mike Huckabee is running such an ad (although I missed it).  But I disagree that the MSM should be playing into this frame as though it was appropriate.  Your point on the fact that none of the candidates disputed the frame, however, is well taken.

        1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

        by noweasels on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:43:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  let me explain (8+ / 0-)

          I think it would be wrong for the MSM to ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room, and one can fairly use that descriptor for this particular attitude.  It serves as an appropriate way for the candidates to demonstrate that they understand the Constitutional separation of religion and government.  

          I think it would be just as appropriate to ask if they would reject the support of someone whose rhetoric is hateful, such as an Anne Coulter.

          If they do not ask the question, will the vast mass of people ever have an opportunity to ascertain where in fact the putative presidents actually stand on key points?

          Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

          by teacherken on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:47:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The YouTube questioner (4+ / 0-)

          was probably not religious.  He was probably portraying a religious man in order to expose to the world the religious positions of these Republican politicians, who have been pandering to the Religious Conservatives.

          Good.  We got some of their nonsense on video tape, so that more less-engaged, "middle" voters can see more clearly what type of zealot their choice could be if they voted for one wingnut versus another.

          -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

          by sunbro on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:08:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Disagree (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sunbro, bythesea, kyril

            There are a whole lot of people out there who really, truly believe this.  I think he was one of them.

            1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

            by noweasels on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:29:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  maybe he was and maybe he wasn't (4+ / 0-)

            but whatever the case, I do think it's a fair question, don't you? Are you or are you not a Bible literalist? If I were the least unsure, it's a question I might ask a candidate for public office myself (and then run like hell if answered in the affirmative).

            I agree w/ the diarist however that the candidates' answers were woefully neglectful of the Constitution on religious tests, an allusion to which really should have followed up (supplemented) any kind of answer.

            God bless our tinfoil hearts.

            by aitchdee on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:29:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I disagreed for so many reasons, aitchdee (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aitchdee, kyril

              upthread (and probably downthread), but your comment made sense to me.  Thanks.

              1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

              by noweasels on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:32:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I think you're off a bit (0+ / 0-)

              The question wasn't about literalism so much as protestant fundamentalism (hence the use of the King James Version specifically.)

              See my comment upthread

              Bring the WAR home

              How about a country where the government doesn't tell churches who can marry, and the churches don't tell the goverment who can't.

              by EthrDemon on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 11:29:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  well, (0+ / 0-)

                what is protestant fundamentalist Christianity if not Bible literalism?

                God bless our tinfoil hearts.

                by aitchdee on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 11:50:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Right, but... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  If biblical literalism is the important part, why the emphasis on the version?  If I had to translate the question back from Newspeak to English it would be:

                  Do you support the King-James Only movement and the wing of protestant fundamentalism that subscribes to it?

                  Bring the WAR home

                  How about a country where the government doesn't tell churches who can marry, and the churches don't tell the goverment who can't.

                  by EthrDemon on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 11:56:40 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  if KJV exclusivity (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    was what the questioner was driving at--and it appears as though it was--why didn't he just ask? Was it, as a few others have suggested, to tweak Mormon Mitt Romney and Catholic Rudi with a little "gotcha" moment? I don't know.

                    Anyway, if that was the intent, it didn't really play out that way. It appears CNN--if they were aware of the punch apparently being pulled here at all--decided to let the ambiguity ride--let the question it stand as a straightforward inquiry about the candidates' belief in the literal truth of the Christian Bible, whatever version. Understandable, I think, since there were probably far fewer people watching the debate who cared about such nuance than who would simply like to know, in general terms, do you believe the Bible is literally true? Young earth, Noah's ark, virgin birth, deity of Christ, the resurrection, etc.

                    In other words, whatever the questioner's intent, the way it wound up being taken probably did the trick for most viewers. Don't you think?

                    God bless our tinfoil hearts.

                    by aitchdee on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:35:47 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  100% agreed (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      That's definitely the way it played out, I just think the questioner had another intent that was completely washed over by Mr. Cooper and the candidates.

                      Bring the WAR home

                      How about a country where the government doesn't tell churches who can marry, and the churches don't tell the goverment who can't.

                      by EthrDemon on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 10:08:20 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  also (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aitchdee, sunbro, 4Freedom, kurious, kyril

            I am religious.  I am a devout Christian.  And I was appalled by the question.

            1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

            by noweasels on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:30:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was happy with the question, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              4Freedom, North Coast Ohioan, kyril

              because I believe that many evangelical Christians are turned off by the bible thumpers who say, "I believe EVERY WORD of the Bible!!"

              The literalists are ignorant and yet, they will not vote for anyone who does not share their warped viewpoint.  I have worked with such people in the past and I can tell you that those Bible Thumpers are NOT in Christianity to spread God's Love; rather, they like the spiteful, hateful version of Christianity of Robertson, Dobson, and the late Jerry Falwell.

              -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

              by sunbro on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:40:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  My situation exactly. (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              4Freedom, kyril

              Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

              by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:05:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  It was probably representative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of a sizable percentage of the submitted questions received by CNN. It's not their job to be the Constitution Police on the voters' choices of issues. We have a little thing called freedom of the press, too.

      If CNN was trying to create a roughly representative sample, and there were lots of bible questions from the religious conservative republican base who have been thinking about nothing else because of Romney and Giuliani (and I think that it is pretty likely that they did receive a lot of bible questions), I don't fault them for asking it and I definitely don't see any constitutional violation.

      Heck, I appreciated knowing the answer myself. Now I can make a more informed choice about the candidates (in terms of being pushed even FURTHER away).

      •  but Anderson could have followed up (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4Freedom, drbloodaxe, Argyrios, kimoconnor

        in a way that was far more illuminating - if he felt obligated to ask Giuliani about the story in Politico, which was not in any question submitted, why not ask the logically question about the idea of no religious test or how the candidates square the kinds of answers they are giving with their responsibility to support the Constitution, including both Article VI and Amendment I?  And would not that have been quite appropriate to ask Romney, give his recent remarks about Muslims in the cabinet?

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 02:48:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  we were in trouble when "under God" was (9+ / 0-)

    added to pledge.

    There are people who think being a Communist is illegal, even though the Constitution guarantees freedom of association.

    Clearly being anti-choice is another "test" for Republicans. They have no end of weirdness required for their tiny minds.

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:39:29 PM PST

    •  May not be illegal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but I remember being asked if I was or had ever been a member of the Communist Party when I joined the military. No idea what would have happened if I'd answered "yes."

      During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

      by kyril on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:30:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "fact does not require fiction for balance " (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

       Oh, I wish you would write a diary on this.  I watched the media repeat, time and time again, the bogus charges of the Swift Boat thugs against Kerry and it didn't make any difference that what was being repeated had been discredited, it was still repeated to achieve the "balance" you are talking about.  I about drove me nuts.  It is a good thing that NASA is not considered controversial or we would have to be treated with a rehearsal of all the ways the moon landing was "faked in the MGM studio in Hollywood" every time there is a shuttle launch.  :-(

      ...Candidate in Democratic Primary for TX-32 Congressional seat.

      by Steve Love on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:54:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, this could be seen as a trick question. (5+ / 0-)

    The questioner didn't say "The Holy Bible". "Specifically this book that I am holding in my hand" could have been Harry Potter with a Bible cover.  The only correct way to directly answer would be something along the lines of, "I don't know what is in that specific book."

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.
    Goodness Gracious

    by BalanceSeeker on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:40:11 PM PST

  •  RIP, but... (6+ / 0-)

    the Constitution died when politicians decided their political advantages and calculations were more important than enforcing the Constitution's provisions.  When they decided they were the owners of the government, rather than the hirelings of the sovereign people delegated with the task of carrying out the functions set forth in that Constitution.  When a president decided he could rewrite the law and the Constitution to suit his will, and a Congress failed to act to preserve and protect the Constitution against this presidential usurpation of power.  It was then that the Constitution died, and that happened well before tonight.  The Bible being waved around, well, that's what they do at funerals, now isn't it?

  •  Why put their hand on the bible when... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Simplify

    ...they swear to defend the Constitution? Nowhere in the constitution is it required to swear on the bible (or any book) when getting sworn into office. Yet they have done it ever since I can remember. This would be a good 'ask Dr. Maddow' question.

    The first person to ever brew beer was probably naked.

    by bobinson on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:47:19 PM PST

  •  out of those GOP clowns only Paul (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stridergambit, malharden, kyril

    cares about the Constitution.  This has been obvious for months.

    "There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always." -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by duha on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:48:50 PM PST

  •  Important information. Thanks. (3+ / 0-)

    "We are in a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. The planet is in peril." Barack Obama, Nov.10, 2007

    by keeplaughing on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:51:45 PM PST

  •  in another context (12+ / 0-)

    the question could have had an entirely different meaning.

    I heard it as a question of whether the candidates were so batshit insane as to believe in the literal truth of every word of the Bible.  I heard it as a way to isolate the ones too militantly dogmatic to be entrusted with the presidency.

    Then I remembered what I was watching.

    "this machine kills fascists" - woody guthrie's guitar

    by clashfan on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 09:56:44 PM PST

  •  Oh, it's been dead for a while (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exNYinTX, Simplify, planetclaire4, kyril

    You just noticed tonight.  :)


    "Ye though I say unto you, they shall raise up the least among them to the highest post and he shall appear as a monkee. The sheep shall follow and the lies shall flow like water from the sea. They shall believe his deceptions and follow him unto war with the wrong nation. And Cheney will shoot a guy in the face too."

    Lobotomy 9:11

  •  It died when the PATRIOT Act (6+ / 0-)

    was passed. That question was one more nail in the coffin.

    "I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed."   —Marvin, The Paranoid Android

    by londubh on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:00:27 PM PST

  •  That is not a religious test (13+ / 0-)

    and that is not what the Religious Test Clause means.

    You are free to vote for whomever you choose for whatever reason you chose.  If you wish to vote only for people who believe in Martians, that is your G-d-given (and Constitutional) right.  And you are certainly free to ask of candidates if they believe in Martians.  And in an attempt to get your vote, the candidates can respond (or not).  That is also their right.

    The Religious Test Clause means only that IF you get the most votes, you cannot be barred from office for your religious beliefs.  But you are certainly able to exploit your religious (or other) beliefs in order to get into office.  The Constitution does not prohibit that.

  •  It was a stunning moment to me, (7+ / 0-)

    although of course it shouldn't have been.

    Candidates for the presidential nomination challenged with
    a Bible and not one dismissed the question by citing the

    Also--implicit in the question, is that you must believe the
    New Testament, right? Not only the Old Testament with all its
    metaphors and 600-year-old folks. Thank the Lord no Jewish
    candidate is running--CNN couldn't have even aired that question.

    Or, wait, strike that....

    It is never too late to blog what you might have blogged....George Eliot (UPDATED)

    by begone on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:01:52 PM PST

  •  cnn chose the questions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida, planetclaire4

    it was about the Bible, not the Constitution.  I agree someone could have said, "that is not your business".  But to say the Constitution "died tonight".  well, by this blog, it has died so many times, it must have been resurected more than Christ.

  •  Even the Bible acknowledges that some of its own (7+ / 0-)

    words are not true.  Take for example

    For misery does not come from the earth,
    nor does trouble sprout from the ground;
    but human beings are born to trouble
    just as sparks fly upward. Job 5:6-7

    These words are spoken by Job's "friend" Eliphaz.  Later in the book, God speaks to Eliphaz.

    My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.  Job 42:7

    Anyone who answered that question "yes" knows very little about the Bible.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:05:56 PM PST

    •  Waiting for Christian Taliban to explain Joshua (6+ / 0-)

      Joshua 10:12 in which the sun is moving around the earth.

      Some Christians still believe sun revolves around the earth because they take the Bible literally. For example, Joshua commanded the sun to stop, not the earth to stop spinning. Walter Lang published the Bible-Science Newsletter in the mid-1960’s with articles from strict Biblical literalists who believed the earth was the center of the universe and the sun revolves around the earth. They quote verses such as Psalm 93:1 which states, "the world also is established, that it cannot be moved" (KJV). Therefore, the earth does not spin around on its axis or orbit the sun, but according to Joshua 10:12 it is the sun that is moving around the earth?!

      It is the dichotomous rigid thinking that all or nothing is what gives me trepidation.  Forgive the judgement but many seem unstable.

    •  Absolutely. (7+ / 0-)

      And you think the early Christians who compiled the New Testament didn't notice the contradictions in the accounts of, say, the Crucifixion?

      Heck, I'm a believer myself.  Christians aren't necessarily stupid.  Just the ones who eat Rove Bait (TM).

      Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

      by Leaves on the Current on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:27:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not to mention (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the historically inaccurate and obviously fabricated book of Daniel.  However much one may or may not like the story, no honest person with any historical knowledge of the Bible, or any shred of honestly, would claim it's anything but fiction.

      Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -4.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.15

      by bythesea on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:10:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sorry, I disagree - (3+ / 0-)

        and I have a masters in Biblical studies

        There is a distinction between saying that it is not all to be taken literally and saying as you do that anyone with any knowledge would refuse to say its ANYTHING but fiction.   There is a fair amount of it which is NOT fiction - one finds it in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles for example.  Even in NT, much of the Pauline material can be classified in lots of ways, but since he is not telling a story per se or arguing history it is not "fiction."

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 02:51:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry I think there is a miscommuniction (0+ / 0-)

          The "it" in my final sentence refers to the Book of Daniel, not the entire Bible.  I was pointing to one book of the Bible that fundies believe is literally true, but is clearly a work of religious historical fiction.  I agree completely with you about the Bible as a whole.

          Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -4.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.15

          by bythesea on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:00:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, our founding fathers would puke like (5+ / 0-)

    Bushie 41 if they could see what has been going on in America the past 7 years. Sane folks in this country have to battle not only religious fanatics from overseas but also religious fanatics in our own country.

    I'm not sure anyone can get this country's ship righted but from what I've seen from both parties I believe Barack is our best hope.

    Steve Everett

  •  The constitution died with these people ages ago (6+ / 0-)

    But it hasn't died with people who still think, and believe in it and its core principles--and in being a thinking person. So no, it didn't die tonight, any more than it has died on any other day or night during the past 7 years. It has clearly been dying, slowly, due to abuse, neglect and ignorance--on the part of both Pubs and Dems. But it hasn't flatlined quite yet, nor am I prepared to predict that it will. I like to think of it as battered and in rather poor shape. But dead? No freakin' way. Not everyone in this country is a bible-thumping, gun-worshipping, bigoted, torture-loving, chickenhawk subnormal nutjob who thinks that McCain's practically a commie and that Cheney needs to grow a pair. There's still decent Americans out there. And so long as this remains true, the constitution remains alive in my mind.

    0101011101100101 010101000110100001100101 010100000110010101101111011100000110110001100101

    by kovie on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:09:50 PM PST

  •  It's not too late (3+ / 0-)

    it won't be dead if we do something about it, even just pointing this out is important.

    sign the petition at

    by DrKate on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:11:01 PM PST

  •  I thought it was a Book of Mormon question (16+ / 0-)

    If you look at the guy's YouTube videos, he has tons and tons and tons of postings about why only the King James Version is the "true" version of the Bible, and all others are lies.  If he meant "do you believe the bible is true", he would have just said so.  Instead, he kept saying "this one -- this one right HERE -- this SPECIFIC bible", which I believe was a challenge to either (1) Giuliani, who as a Catholic doesn't follow the King James Version, or, more likely, (2) Romney, who has "another testament of Jesus Christ" (and the D&C texts) on top of the Bible which supercede scripture.  Unfortunately, despite the YouTuber's best efforts, neither the candidates nor CNN picked up on this.

    Turtles, turtles, turtles all the way down.

    by cartwrightdale on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:11:12 PM PST

    •  nice catch - probably worth a diary (5+ / 0-)

      of course, none of the candidates would know the context, but it is possible CNN might have . . .

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:13:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  KJV (8+ / 0-)

      is the worst translation, it contains errors that were not in previous translations.  Mostly it is used because of the old style language lends itself to be easily misunderstood.  One of the reasons for the Protestant revolution was the belief that people should be able to interpret the word of God instead of relying on the word of the church leaders.   Fundamentalists are the same, it is about power and control not the actual beliefs contained in their respective holy books.

      •  Oh yeah? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, pgm 01, kyril

        Check out one of the maaaaaaaaany postings from that YouTube:

        Clearly, the King James Version is the most accurate, and all others are false.  He says so.  With quotes.

        Turtles, turtles, turtles all the way down.

        by cartwrightdale on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:24:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The quotes (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dus7, 4Freedom, kyril

          add some much authenticity, it must be true!

          His statement about 'one day' while he attributes it to the NIV comes from the amplified version.  He is not so good with the facts, each translation is different and to lump them all together is absurd. Each one is going to rely on different sources and even among the oldest sources there is a great variation.  Basically the meaning is similar but the language differs just like any time you translate something from one language to another.  This does not even include the differences that are found with the Gnostic texts which would be considered sacrilegious to many Christians.  Fundamentalists obsess over the Bible but rarely actually attempt to learn about it or worse, learn from it.

          Anyway, if you ever want to see the variations in translations provides an excellent resource with many versions and languages available.

        •  One of calciumboy's favorite YouTubes is... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          4Freedom, pgm 01, kimoconnor, kyril

          ...this one about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer

          Essentially this you tube features Dahmer's father and Jeffrey blaming his murders on lack of religious beliefs and the Theory of Evolution.  I kid you not.

          Somebody should keep an eye on calciumboy.

          He certainly has a big ego;

          This is quote from someone calciumboy seems to admire based on his MySpace page;

          Texe Marrs:
          "...masonic Jews tormented, tortured, mutilated, and murdered over 100 million Christians and other innocents in the 20th century's most bloody holocausts without so much as a whimper from the world's politicians and media... These Jewish-directed genocidal events...far exceeded the terror of the Nazi holocaust... We've heard over and over what the Nazis did. Why is it we never hear about the horrors perpetrated by the communists?"

          calciumboy is fascinating and disturbing;

; an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action -1.75 -7.23

          by Shockwave on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:49:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I prefer the KJV myself (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leaves on the Current, pgm 01

        having grown up more or less in the Anglican/Episcopal Church, which doesn't take any of it particularly literally anyway. But you're right about the translation errors.

        It has other virtues, though, like literary style, which to me is the most important part given that I read it as a giant compilation of myth and fiction.

        During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

        by kyril on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:42:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Same Impression. Romney dodged. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aitchdee, Over the Edge

      My wife and I both looked at eachother and gasped at what seemed to me as a direct challenge to Romney.  I do not have Romney's verbatim response but he was very guarded and deliberative, even repetitive, in his answer.  More or less "I blieve in the bible, its is inspired by God...can we please move on to another question please?"

      •  Actually (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jethropalerobber, aitchdee, trivium, kyril

        And I say this as a Catholic-raised atheist, I really admired Giuliani's answer on the question.  It was brave (for the crowd), and intellectually honest, despite no doubt pissing off a hell of a lot of people.  (Seriously -- read the Republican blogs for all sorts of hate over his answer.)  It was the only time in the debate where I kind of admired him.  

        Truth be told, I actually don't hate Giuliani, and think he was a decent mayor of NYC.  But his temperment and his ideals make him ill-suited for the highest office in the land, and we absolutely must not let him acquire it.

        Turtles, turtles, turtles all the way down.

        by cartwrightdale on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:28:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  challenge how? mormons use the KJV (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but you're right that he answered in a very guarded way, which was unnecessary.

        i think he couldn't quite decide whether to get into nuance like giuliani did or just stick to his talking point.

        too bad for him he wasn't called on after huckabee who totally disarmed the question.

        Newsday: Rudy Giuliani missing in action for Iraq panel

        by jethropalerobber on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:22:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Huckabee picked up on it (6+ / 0-)

      No question.

      The King James Only Movement would be well known to Huckabee. Basically they think that it's the one, true Bible and that newer versions are part of a conspiracy to rewrite the Bible to favor Catholics, etc.

      Huckabee would know all about these guys and the question would be clear. It's not enough to be a social conservative, you need to be a protestant, or a evangelical, or a fundy, or a KJO fundy, or a white KJO fundy... Give in to them just a little and they split apart like little balls of mercury and demand something new, unique to their new little subset.

      This is what the founders were afraid of - even subsects will impose their will as major religions would if religion gets an official role in government.

      -6.00, -7.03
      "I want my people to be the most intolerant people in the world." - Jerry Falwell

      by johnsonwax on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:11:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BOM doesn't "supercede" the bible (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ArmyWife the doctrine or practice of mormons. it complements the bible.

      please stop posting about things you are ignorant of.

      Newsday: Rudy Giuliani missing in action for Iraq panel

      by jethropalerobber on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:58:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would of like the person to hold up (9+ / 0-)

    In the left hand the Bible
    In the right hand the Constitution

    Of the two items, what oath will you hold allegiance to?

    "The Conservatives definition of torture: Anything that provides death or false information from its captive." Me 2007

    by army193 on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:14:01 PM PST

  •  It was a religious test question (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, 4Freedom, kyril

    directed towards Romney...

    Revelation 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.

    Romney has his own religious beliefs, which do not jibe with fundimentalist Christians.  The questionaire was directing this question to Mitt.

    January 20. 2009 cannot come soon enough.

    by Crisis Corps Volunteer on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:20:47 PM PST

    •  Uh Oh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dus7, kyril

      Willard better watch out for the Ninety sumthin' headed lion dragons whatchamacallits spittin' flames and shit popping up in his bedroom tonight.

      That would really suck.

      On second thought, that'd be kinda cool to happen- to Mitt, not me. That would suck then.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. -Aldous Huxley

      by Dave925 on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:06:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tonight was all about the 3 "G"s (6+ / 0-)

    The issues at the forefront of Republican politics and the 3 most important issues in America today if you are a Republican - God, Guns and Gays.

    What a truly terrifying abyss we stand on the edge of.

  •  Eh (3+ / 0-)

    Not a big deal.  The "religious test" clause is directed at official religious requirements for officeholders, not questions from random citizens who say that religion is the only factor that they and their wingnut friends care about.  

    I wouldn't have a problem with your observations if they weren't so ridiculously overstated.  The Constitution does not "die" just because a bunch of Republican candidates answer a question rather than object that it is vaguely analogous to a religious test for office.  On a list of recent right-wing threats to the Constitution, tonight's event wouldn't crack the top 100.  

  •  Funny... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current, kyril

    For me, your update was totally unnecessary.  I admit I didn't watch the debate.  But the framing of the question, the statement that preceded it, that the answer would tell one EVERYTHING she would need to know, spoke volumes about the American public philosophy.  Where do you stand on this continuum?  It is the subject, and all objects shall be compared to this standard.

    Watched this personally resonant clip of Pat Condell, via Pharyngula, just prior to reading this diary.  Condell, athiest comedian/commenter, addresses the sanctity of sincerely held beliefs.  As Myers observes, a clenched fist salute to Pat Condell.  Check it out and enjoy some sound humour.

    Why debate dogma?

  •  the only acceptable answer: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, tommymet

    all religion is a crutch for the weak mind, and there is no place for any religion in the American government.

    At least we have the comfort of knowing that none of  those assholes on stage tonight stand a chance of beating the (D) nominee.  

    •  Count, count, weigh, divide........ (0+ / 0-)

      like Babylon, our days are numbered unless we heal our divide, which only appears to be deepening.

      There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

      by 4Freedom on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:29:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No. It didn't. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, 4Freedom, NonnyO, quadmom, kyril

    The Constitution couldn't die tonight.  It had already died on October 17, 2006.  

    "The Romans brought on their own demise, but it took them centuries. Bush has finished America in a mere 7 years." -- Paul Craig Roberts

    by Roddy McCorley on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:47:27 PM PST

  •  See my companion diary, written in advance (5+ / 0-)

    [because I knew this was coming :)]

    "If you want to go quickly, go alone.
    If you want to go far, go together.
    We have to go far, quickly."

    by shpilk on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:49:33 PM PST

  •  The revelation of these non-answers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, aitchdee, NonnyO, kyril

    should not be a surprise to anyone, but as you say it's the deafening silence in challenge that is most troubling of all.

    "If you want to go quickly, go alone.
    If you want to go far, go together.
    We have to go far, quickly."

    by shpilk on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:54:07 PM PST

  •  You're not over-reacting... (4+ / 0-)

    it's just evidence of how much damage the republicans have done to the constitution.  For decades now they have been trying to replace the constitution with religious doctrine; this very scarily shows how close they are getting to getting their way.  
    Help us all!

    "Imagine all the people, Living life in peace..." -John Lennon

    by angrybird on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:55:44 PM PST

    •  And with the help of Lamestream Media at that... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's what's so disturbing - to me.

      None of those pundits and talking heads bothers to point out the logical fallacies or the unconstitutionality of the questions, nor do they seem to have actually read our founding documents nor our history..., but they're catering to the religous wingnuts every bit as bad as the polticians are.


      by NonnyO on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:35:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with your larger point, Leaves. (3+ / 0-)

    While I don't think the Constitution was harmed in this instance--not mugged, that is, any more than it usually is in Republican gatherings--it remains true that there's no such thing as being "too alarmist" when the falsely "religious" are hooding themselves up for another of their periodic witch hunts.  Tonight, they were trying it on with the Pug presidential candidates.  And tomorrow?

    "Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure." -- White Rose letter no. 1

    by keikekaze on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 10:58:20 PM PST

  •  Your title really scared me. (5+ / 0-)

    I thought some law had been passed, or there had been a Supreme Court decision that finally killed the Constitution.  But what happened during the "debate" is no worse than our leaders walking around with Bibles in their hands and saying God Bless America at every opportunity.    BTW, I thought Giuliani's answer was reasonable, but the others made fools of themselves.

    •  Yeah, really (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti, Sharif, noble experiment, kyril

      We see so much anti-constitutional crap coming from the Bush White House that I nearly panicked when I saw the diary title too (especially given the fact that it's the #1 Recommended diary for some reason).  Then I read the diary and was annoyed at the diarist for misleading me.  The Constitution didn't die tonight.  At worst, we just saw more evidence that the Republican Party is dominated by the religious right.  But we knew that already.

  •  Someone should raise a copy of the constitution (9+ / 0-)

    in the next debate and ask the same question.

  •  That was no ordinary American! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AllisonInSeattle, Mad Kossack, kyril

    That was some zealot firebrand looking for someone to deny the literal truth of the Bible...or...a canny performance spoofing one ... to draw out the craziest of the candidates.

    Ron Paul got a tin-foilish question to field for exactly the same reason that Kucinich got a UFO question.

    You did over-react and allowed CNN's agenda to get to you. People who expect America to get out of Iraq because it was a false premise to invade are... you know... kinda funny up the head.

    Ron Paul... whatever warts exist in libertarian theory applied to real life... asked Americans to consider their reaction to foreign occupation.

    It is unacceptable to Americans..and it is fair to ask why it is supposed to be acceptable to others.

  •  The Death of A Thousand Cuts? Cut the drama (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scrutinizer, xanthe, Sharif, Argyrios

    This has to be the thousandth time that a diary has appeared with this theme. While I give you props for edumacating me wiht a word I'd never seen (ensorcelled), it's enoough already with this "Constitution has died" diaries. At least, the torture diaries had a serious point. You're just being farcically melodramatic.

    It's not a religious test. As you say, that's prohibited by the Constitution. Anyone can run for office without having to pass such a test.

    On the other hand, people can choose to determine their votes by any yardstick they prefer. If they want someone who believes the Bible is literal truth, they are entitled. If they would refuse to vote for someone who professed to view the Bible as literal truth, they are equally entitled. I"m in that latter category, so I'm at least a little interested in their answers.

    This has nothing to do with the Constitution. Our whole tradition is religious. While Europeans have established a "freedom from religion", we have a "free Exercise of religion". The Constitution prohibits governmental action. No state/federal/local gov't can establish a religious qulaification for office. The individual voter, however, can do whatever the hell he/she wants.

    If you don't think this is a significant question, you don't understand anything about this country, or the way some people determine their votes. You may not like it, but it's got nothing to do with the Constitution. Frankly, you should rewrite and retitle this diary, or just delete it, because your premise is flat-out wrong.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:45:36 PM PST

    •  You missed my point (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, Fabian, 4Freedom, NonnyO, kyril

      Of course individual citizens can vote by whatever criteria they want.  If this had been a private conversation, I'd have rested easy.

      But it wasn't.  It was in a forum designed to elicit the appropriate criteria for selection of the nation's chief Constitutional officer.  And so when a question was asked whose application as a formal legal criterion for the office is explicitly prohibited by Article VI, did anyone point out the contradiction?  Did anyone say, "I'll answer that as a point of information, but you realize the Constitution forbids making your criterion a matter of law?"

      Nope.  Now, maybe you're right that we have nothing to worry about, even so.

      Or maybe I am, that we do.

      Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

      by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:25:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If your point is... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scrutinizer, Argyrios, kyril

        That the GOP candidates trip over each other trying to pander to the fundamentalists, that's nothing new. That's why none of them gave the answer you wanted. If that's not your concern, then I don't get wht you're saying.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

        by FischFry on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:05:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, my point is-- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          --that such pandering elicits extensive discussion of a topic that, while appropriate for a private citizen in the privacy of her conscience, in the context of a national presidential debate implicitly and unmistakably legitimizes a criterion for public office that is explicitly forbidden by the Constitution--in a clause that speaks directly to one of the (formerly?) bedrock principles of this nation.

          We will disagree here, I think, but I hope we understand each other.

          Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

          by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:40:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My problem with your approach (0+ / 0-)

            is that you are trying to tie your personal religious preferences into the constitution in a facially disingenuous way. Repeat after me: There is absolutely no conflict with the Constitution to allow candidates to discuss their religion in a national debate. There is no conflict with the Constitution to allow citizens to refuse to vote for people because of their religion. There isn't even a conflict with the Constitution for a political party to explicitly only allow members of certain religions.

            You can be disgusted about it all you want. But don't pretend that the Constitution has anything to do with this.

  •  Title incredibily misleading (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tbrucegodfrey, brentmack, kyril

    Something tells me the Constitution did not die tonight and when I go to work tomorrow I will still be appointed to represent poor people since they have a constitutional right to an attorney.  I also think the judge will rule on my suppression motion by applying the 4th amendment as it stands and not by informing me the 4th amendment is dead (that is another debate thank you SCOTUS).

    "Bad philosophers are like slum landlords. It's my job to put them out of business."

    by Sharif on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:48:19 PM PST

    •  Histrionic, I might grant you-- (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, NonnyO, kyril

      --but at what point are we operating under a system that is scarcely more than a collection of formalities to whose underlying principles few still assent?

      That's what got me in the gut tonight.

      Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

      by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:19:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But historically (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        this has often been the case. Much of what we take for granted as the Constitution has been ignored over time. The religious test, for example, has existed since the beginning. We expect our present leaders to adhere to the Constitution fully, as we should, but we should not romanticize the past.

        •  True, BUT: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          4Freedom, kyril

          (1)  Unless you're (ugh) a constitutional originalist of a bizarrely dogmatic sort, once we've recognized that something we once thought was constitutional really isn't, we can't go back on that recognition without violating the Constitution.  For instance, we now know that prayer in schools is impermissible.  Doesn't matter that it was fully permissible and indeed the norm for more than a century and a half: we can't have it now.

          (2)  I'm not romanticizing the past--quite the contrary, in this case.  In 1800, one of the two top candidates for the presidency (Jefferson) was widely (and as a matter of fact inaccurately) accused of atheism.  He refused to respond; refused to discuss his personal religious beliefs at all (even in private, with rare exceptions).  He was elected anyway.  To acquiesce in a political practice that precludes such a situation today isn't romanticizing the past; it's making excuses for a present so inexcusable that it falls short even of the standards of 1800.

          Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

          by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:35:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sadly mistaken (0+ / 0-)

            (1)  Unless you're (ugh) a constitutional originalist of a bizarrely dogmatic sort, once we've recognized that something we once thought was constitutional really isn't, we can't go back on that recognition without violating the Constitution.  For instance, we now know that prayer in schools is impermissible.  Doesn't matter that it was fully permissible and indeed the norm for more than a century and a half: we can't have it now.

            It's called SCOTUS changing their minds.  Check the history of the exclusionary rule since its inception, abortion rights since Roe,  the recent establishment clause cases which I would argue are a step backwards, etc.  There has been a significant amount of backpedaling since the Warren Court even if there has still been progress on other fronts, e.g., Lawrence

            "Bad philosophers are like slum landlords. It's my job to put them out of business."

            by Sharif on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:52:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Duh. But that hasn't happened here (0+ / 0-)

              Obviously, yes, a SCOTUS decision can change everything.  So I should have prefaced the above with "in the absence of a SCOTUS reversal. . ."

              But there's been none of that on this issue.

              Not that I'd put anything past the Roberts Court.

              Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

              by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:00:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  How many times has a non-Christian been (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, kyril


    The religious test has been there since the beginning.

    •  At least once. And functionally, no. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jethropalerobber, Fabian, 4Freedom, kyril

      A de facto, though not de jure, religious test was tried--with strenuous clerical effort--in 1800, and it failed.  (See my response to your comment upthread.)  

      In 1800, this nation elected as president someone who had been accused of atheism so systematically that the accusation became one of the central issues in the campaign, and he had on principle refused to respond or to say anything publicly about his religious beliefs.

      Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

      by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:49:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Constitution died (9+ / 0-)

    on Dec. 12, 2000.

    You're just talking about crazy people dancing on its grave.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident . . .

    by LeftCoastTimm on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:38:59 AM PST

  •  Use as a "Wedge". (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, kyril

    What progressives need to/should do is foster this divide between the religious fanatics and the fiscal conservatives in the GOP. Unlike their dumping money into the green party candidacy in past election cycles with marginal success, we could peel off a sizable chunk of their voting base by encouraging the Christian-Taliban faction to peel off from the mainstream GOP, if there is such a thing as mainstream GOP anymore...

    Stop wasting energy & bandwidth on flame wars and use it constructively at Your voice is needed!

    by tnichlsn on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:33:51 AM PST

    •  That schism actually showed up in the debate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tnichlsn, 4Freedom

      I was impressed with several questions from fiscal conservatives, although not with the candidates 'answers, which were awful (all starting from the premise that defense spending is sacred and we need to be fiscally conservative by spending less on programs to benefit Americans).

      They even tried to pull out the line-item veto, which they'd previously opposed when Clinton tried to claim it, as a way to be fiscally conservative (rather than a way to further marginalize Congress and make the Pretzelnit a King). Giuliani held his own here, actually mentioning the Constitution (!)

      During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

      by kyril on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 03:38:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Parallels to UK politics (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4Freedom, kyril

        I'd be curious to know the specifics as to how the Labor/Conservative, 2-party system in the UK became the 3 party system we see in place today, with the Liberal Democrats now an established force to be dealt with. Wikipedia has a general discussion but lacks specifics.

        Stop wasting energy & bandwidth on flame wars and use it constructively at Your voice is needed!

        by tnichlsn on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 03:53:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  After the '08 election cycle will be a good time (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to really consider the third party option.

          The two party system at present does not represent the spectrum of American political opinion.

          There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

          by 4Freedom on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:31:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Citizens don't take an oath to it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, kyril

    But I consider it my duty to try to uphold Constitution.

    •  actually, many do (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnnCetera, 4Freedom, kyril

      you take the oath in Article VI when you are sworn into the military.

      And when you become a Naturalized Citizen, you take an oath which includes that material:

      "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 02:55:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Monday night at the Kucinich Impeachment Rally (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, cotterperson, AnnCetera

        at Dartmouth in New Hampsire, Adrienne Kinne, head of the Northeast Iraq Veterans for Peace, and ex-Army intelligence, used the above lines to say that she sincerely regrets not honoring her oath of office even more than she already has by her service.

        She now works in a VA hospital caring for wounded vets and protecting their vanishing benefits and rights. Her regret is that she didn't fully understand sooner that America's most serious enemies are domestic, and that they are leading our government.

        There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

        by 4Freedom on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:38:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  All Federal employees do, too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        First day on the job, you take an oath to the Constitution.  Executive or Legislative agency (I've worked in both), same thing either way.

        Just sayin'.

        Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

        by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:25:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scrutinizer, ShaunMcDonnell

    As with free speech, the constitutional deals with laws that the federal and state governments can and cannot make. The question asked by the bible-toting interlocutor has nothing to do with lwas against government overreaching and so therefore isn't related to constitutional protections against it.

    Also, since CNN is not BBC, and not a government-owned network, there's even less of a connection between what the constitution says about restrictions on federal electoral law and what CNN does.

    In fact, if you want the questions asked to matter you have to say that individuals cannot base either their candidate analysis or final voting decision on religion. Obviously that's ridiculous. This diary is as on-point as the "Kos banned [insert disruptive user here] and violated the First Amendment!" diaries.

    But you knew all this already.

  •  Actually... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moira977, MA Liberal, marina, 4Freedom, kyril

    It 'Died' when the Supremes Stopped The Individuals Vote Count and Any and All Questions of Tampering!!

    As it it is such an Important Document it's a large Coffin, each incident these last years have added nails to that coffin!

    It's almost ready for the Burial, to be lost forever!

    May it Rest In Peace, as this Planet Won't!!

    If they were sent to fight, they are too few. If they were sent to die, they are too many!

    by jimstaro on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 02:04:26 AM PST

  •  The Constitution died a long, long time ago. It (0+ / 0-)

    died the first time that the Congress refused to honor  Article V, something they have refused to do for almost 200 years

    Go here and learn the shocking truth about the death of the Republic and how it can be restored.

  •  Outstanding diary, (6+ / 0-)

    a great example of  thought and writing.Thankyou for expressing this. Your words should be shouted from the roof tops, but the repugs won't hear them. Thanks again, because we will hear them.

    *a hundred years from now, the future may be different because I was important in the life of a child*

    by bonesy on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 03:06:56 AM PST

  •  I think you are over-reacting (3+ / 0-)

    OK, I'm an atheist, raised as a Jew.

    So this sort of thing gets to me.

    But I don't think this is the death of the constitution.  Neither the question nor the answers violated the litmus test rule.  The questioner was, as you state, acknowledging a right.  And the answers were exactly what you would expect.  The only 'litmus test' being applied was by the quetioner, and by people with similar views.

    •  I tend to agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515, Argyrios

      With plf515.  It is kind of an overreaction.  I have a feeling that if the same question was asked in a Democratic debate, you would have received similar answers.  What would be interesting is if there was a Jewish or Muslim candidate.  

      •  if specific question were asked, I'd hope not - (0+ / 0-)

        because the framing of that question was as a religious test on the part of the questioner.  He has every right, but that should be challenged.  We are not electing a clergyman in chief, we are electing a President under the Constitution.  And given the precedent of how Kennedy addressed the question of his religion, I would hope someone would have sense enough to refer to that

        it is appropriate to address concerns of people of faith - I don't deny that.

        Oh, and given that we have had a question which a number of Dems answered pointing out the diversity of faith beliefs in this country, and included those of no religion, I think we have had demonstrated a different approach on the Democratic side.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:13:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But what should be challenged? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leaves on the Current

          If, as you say (and I agree) the questioner (or anyone) has a right to decide for whom to vote based on any criteria whatsoever, then what should be challenged?

          I think the best answer to the question would have been "My faith is my concern".

          But nothing in the question or the answers threatens the constitution.  

          •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

            the tacit acceptance of the frame is the implication that one's faith outweighs one's responsibility as an official under the Constitution, and the willingness to kowtow to such a demand for a religious test implies that abandonment of the Constitution.  

            Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

            by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:16:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I do not see how (0+ / 0-)

              any of this implies abandoning the constitution.

              Acting like jerks and bigots? Yes.
              Scary for the country that so many such people (both in the electorate and among the candidates) are out there? Yes.

              But I still do not see what any of this has to do with the constitution, or that any of it is new.  Many politicians, throughout our history, including many presidential aspirants and presidents, have spoken of their faith and been questioned about their faith.

              What has that to do with the constitution?

  •  What if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Floja Roja

    What if the questioner asked because he wanted to vote for the person who answered "No"?

  •  I saw the question as snark (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, 4Freedom, Pandoras Box

    not serious from the questioner. That the candidates took it so seriously was scarier than the question.

    My new bumper sticker: Cheney-Satan '08

    by adigal on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 04:08:11 AM PST

  •  I'm not anti-religious but (5+ / 0-)

    anyone who can believe every single word of the Bible must necessarily have a mind that is fractured and splintered beyond repair.

    Perhaps it is the conservatives' intolerance of ambiguity that enables them to skate over the outrageous contradictions contained in those stories. They appear to blindly accept that it is right to kill newborns, have sex with their daughters, sacrifice their sons, and delight in all kinds of ghoulish tortures.

    And yet the man who is the presumed raison d'etre for the whole religion, Jesus Christ, preaches the opposite of those things. To hold both sets of beliefs in one's head must cause a celestial headache. No wonder they are grumpy all the time.

    It is normally considered appropriate to sequester people who are so mentally shattered, for their own protection and to keep society safe from their harmful delusions. Medicated as necessary to keep them from mischief.


    •  No kidding. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I wonder about those people too. They are seriously misguided. The Bible is a fine book. There are lots of things in it that can help people lead a good life. But "word for word?"
      Here's a word to them: the earth was not created in 7 days and women were not created from a rib. Got it?
      I actually think these people are what John Dean calls RWA's (right wing authoritarians). They live in fear and can be manipulated.
      The bible thumpers I've known in my life (not many, but I'm talking the real serious ones) have, in reality, been mentally unbalanced. One, a roommate in college, suffered a nervous breakdown after she graduated and actually became a normal person.

      "The truth shall set you free, but first it will piss you off!" - Gloria Steinem

      by MA Liberal on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:09:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  James Raskin's infamous quote... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    space, annrose, rlochow, 4Freedom, kurious

    Via Wayne Besen (why not?):

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Quote of the Week

    In Annapolis, (Capital of) Maryland, at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU, was requested to testify and he did so.

    At the conclusion of his testimony, a right-wing senator rose to say, "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says that marriage shall occur only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

    Raskin: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

    [Emphasis mine.]

    That, in actuality, says everything I needed to hear, but did not. It's everything that should have been said, but was not. Not a single one of those men are qualified for the job.

    Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
      Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
    Tempest even in reason's seat.

    by GreyHawk on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 04:15:35 AM PST

  •  The sad part is that I can only think (3+ / 0-)
    of one Dem candidate that would have refused to answer citing the Constitution.

    Sinclair Lewis was correct when he wrote: "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

    "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

    by Spud1 on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 04:30:44 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current, 4Freedom
  •  Constitutions do not die simply bcause (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal, mcfly

    a television network decides to air a question from a rather abhorent individual who holds extremist relgious beliefs and the candidates who answer that question decide to pander to that segment of the electorate that the individual nominally represents.

    I think this is a total overration to the event, and we would be a lot better off rebutting it with reason, rather than hyperbole; that is, make a teaching moment out of it.  

    Waterboarding is torture. Torture is unacceptable. Period. ~~Ted Kennedy

    by GOTV on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 04:50:40 AM PST

  •  FSM (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, lisastar

    I can't believe we're 300 comments into this thread, and nobody has mentioned the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Next debate, I'm sending in a question about Him.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."

    by rb608 on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 04:56:34 AM PST

  •  Mindless Christianity . . . (4+ / 0-)

    the new threshold for electibility in the GOP.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:05:41 AM PST

    •  There's a redundant term. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Like frozen ice.

      Or Gay Republican.

      GreenState Project: Democratic Talking Points for Cannabis Reform.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:22:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am not a Christian (5+ / 0-)

        but you are wrong. I know plenty of ccommitted Christians who are far from mindless.

        The end game is the presidency not the nomination

        by stevej on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:45:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know that. (0+ / 0-)

          I know lots of Christians who give "religion" the good name it should have.

          The very powerful wingnut assembly of dogma, though, is who and what that comment is directed towards.

          And I imagine you might sort of grasp that.

          Just as I need to hear more Muslims denouncing "radical Islam", I need to hear more good Christians denouncing the wingnut faction.

          I grew up in  Baptist family with parents who are as quiet as they are devout in their religion. They are aghast with the influence and conduct of the element to which I refer.

          If people are offended, fine. But I imagine plenty of folks know what I mean and the real Christians in particular. They really should consdier becoming a bit more expressive of their concerns about the God Squad.

          GreenState Project: Democratic Talking Points for Cannabis Reform.

          by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:08:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  But Mike-fucking-Huckabee ain't one of 'em. (0+ / 0-)

          Talk about a disingenous snake-oil purveyor.  He CLAIMS to be a fucking minister of Christ, but when asked what Christ's take on the death penalty was . . . he avoided, made a flip remark, and refused to address the issue.

          Hey, Mike, you asshole:

          Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

          Is there something confusing about that???? Cause my take on Jesus was he was opposed to the death penalty, having endured same.

          "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by bobdevo on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:24:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  No.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, stevej

    The whole religious test thing is from the GOVERNMENT, from the people.

    We may not like this gentleman's thinking, and we can but try to persuade him, but he is free, as a citizen, to vote for whom he wants for whatever reasons he wants.

    If CONGRESS said that they needed to know how a President thought about the bible to, say, determine whether to Impeach him or not, THAT would be a problem.

    Effectively, this questioner speaks for himself.  He may THINK he's speaking for a majority of Americans, but he is not.

    This is much ado about nothing, really.  It does tell us a lot, about the motivations of a large chunk of the Republican party, and how much the Republican candidates are willing to prostitute themselves to that segment of their base.  But it doesn't signify the death of the Constitution (which has been in its decline, honestly, since the time of Reagan..)

    No Timeline. No Funding. No Excuses. Edwards '08!

    by Stymnus on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:07:53 AM PST

  •  A belated vote for "No, you're (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current

    not overreacting." The words "no religious test" crossed my mind, too, as I watched that segment.

  •  STUPIDITY killed the Constiitution (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, rlochow, dallasdave

    The dork holding up that bible nd asking that MEANINGLESS question has to be dumber than a bag of hammers when it comes to the Constitution.

    Of course, the last 30+ years in America have seen a consistent effort to liquidate the Constitution.

    Fascism is NOTHING if not enforced stupidity.

    We have people trying to protect us from germs and disease, for crime, and from terrorism (whatever that REALLY is) but NOBODY is protecting us from Stupid.

    And I am unsure what can be done. By now, I think we have become powerless against the force of unmitigated stupidity in this country.

    GreenState Project: Democratic Talking Points for Cannabis Reform.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:20:42 AM PST

  •  Just one more stone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, Floja Roja

    falling off of the crumbling remains of a once great civilization.

    When you make yourself less free, you are not safer, you are just less free. - Molly Ivins

    by Audri on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:25:32 AM PST

    •  Kind of like the inauspicious occassion where (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy, Leaves on the Current

      the Supreme Court began to crumble...

      Remember this...?

      Supreme Court Chunk Falls By Crowd

      (CBS/AP) Government inspectors are checking out the Supreme Court building in Washington, after a chunk of marble fell earlier today.

      A court spokeswoman says architects figure a 12-inch-by-ten-inch section broke from the facade and shattered into about 40 pieces when it hit the steps below.


      The chunk of basketball-sized Vermont marble was part of the dentil molding that serves as a frame for nine sculptural figures completed in 1935. The piece that fell was over the figure of Authority, near the peak of the building's pediment, and to the right of the figure of Liberty, who has the scales of justice on her lap.

      This was, of course, handled in a way that -- now -- appears all too symbolic for the Bush Administration's imprimateur upon our nation:

      A short time later, workers loaded the roughly 40 pieces into plastic fruit crates and carried them away.

      The entire episode was symbolic in that the literally crumbling facade of Justice came at a time when a major blow to our nation's honor and integrity was beginning to foment. From a Google search on 'Washington November 2005', here are the top two hits:

      The FBI's Secret Scrutiny

      In Hunt for Terrorists, Bureau Examines Records of Ordinary Americans. By Barton Gellman. Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, November 6, 2005; Page A01 ...<wbr>/article/2005/11/05/AR2005110501366.html

      CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons -

      Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, November 2, 2005; Page A01. The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives ...<wbr>/article/2005/11/01/AR2005110101644.html

      The "secret prisons" and "spying on Americans" bullsh!t is only a small part of a much larger list of abominations against the entire mythos of the United States -- what do we stand for, if we don't stand against such blatant offenses to law, order, justice and integrity?

      Irony, anyone?

      Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
        Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
      Tempest even in reason's seat.

      by GreyHawk on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:09:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  is the constitution dead? (0+ / 0-)

    as the stomach turns...that was pitiful.  you are so right about the constitution - they could have nipped it in the bud had they had the common .sense or the liberty to..

    what's the matter with those people! stop the war, for chrissake!

    by beachglass on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:45:21 AM PST

  •  It wasn't a religious test. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kkjohnson, nathguy

    It was a well thought out question of faith position. And you are right, nobody answered it.

    A test would be the answer either qualified or disqualified the respondent. That is not the case here.

    It was a sticky wicket question, so everybody fumbled in my opinion. They knew what the next questions would be if they answered honestly.

    •  I hardly think it was well-thought out - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it was a direct challenge to accept the King James version of the Bible as the absolute truth/standard - while that might not have been totally clear from the question (which is why I don't think it was all that well thought out) it is apparently quite clear from the history of videos the questioner has posted to youtube in the past.  That means he was not really clear on what his intent was.  

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:19:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's been dead. (0+ / 0-)

    President Bush breaking the law and not being held accountable killed it dead.  Done.  Over.  Welcome to the police states of america.

    20 JANUARY 2009 - An End of an Error

    by MarkVA71 on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 05:53:53 AM PST

  •  don't agree with ur Ron Paul take--he clearly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current, kkjohnson

    possesses rationality unlike the other GOP candidates--but the diary was right-on. what's going on anyway with the Goppers? this thing is really starting to creep me out.

    Democrats demand change--not experience. Now let's turn this mother around.

    by PeckingOrder on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:01:57 AM PST

  •  These debates are staged events (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashy, lisastar

    has no one caught on?  The second debate sponsored by the Coal Industry, both parties debates are horrible circus shows where questions are staged and narratives shoved down our throats(pearls or diamonds?).  Shut off the TV, think for yourself, and remember come election time they probably won't count your vote anyway.

  •  whoa, you had me worried there for a minute :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current

    The Christians who believe we are a Christian nation strangled the Constitution years ago, by your definition.

    So yes, it's appalling how ignorant America has become.  How extraordinary that the Republican Party would become the party of religious extremists.  This is the party of the corporate elite, the most unreligious pack of DNA on the planet.  Why the religious right and the narcissists of Wall Street are an alliance is something I still fail to comprehend.  Except that one cares only for unsubstantiated ideology and one cares only for money.  And neither give a rat's patootie for principle, the rule of law and the Constitution.

    Great post, and excellent point.

    We all gather here because we fear for the foundation of our country.

  •  Not quite dead yet. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current

    Very ill, and possibly on life support, yet not quite dead.

    But electing one of those guys would pull the plug.

  •  I honestly couldn't figure out if it was a gotcha (0+ / 0-)

    question or not.

    I saw very little of the debate, because something far more important than republican sports was on television - Detroit Pistons vs. Cleveland Cavaliers sports.  I did, however, tivo the debate, and heard some of it on the radio.

    I heard that question on the radio, so I couldn't see who asked it, what his mannerisms were, etc.  That would have helped me understand what kind of answer he was looking for... but I couldn't figure out if he was saying you have to believe the King James Bible to get his vote, or if he was trying to gotcha the candidates - either you piss off conservative christians, or you make yourself look like an idiot to intellectuals by claiming that Jonah really was in the whale's belly, etc.

    It probably wasn't a gotcha question because it was interposed to a republican, and there was probably only one right answer for the republican crowd.  However, that question posed to a democrat would be definitely be a gotcha.  

    "From war, corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption follows, until all wealth is aggregated, and the Republic is destroyed." Lincoln

    by PJ Jefferson on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:38:25 AM PST

  •  Perhaps the Constitution didn't die... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I still have a copy in my back pocket.  
      Perhaps what we saw last night was what happens to a party that has traded on ideas promulgated by a radicalized faction of the religious community, the Religious Right, but is faced with the reality that the group has been largely discredited and fragmented beyond repair.  
      The guys on the stage last night were like people on a cruise ship taking on water.  They cannot quite decide if it is time to abandon ship or hang around for one more round of drinks.  :-)

    ...Candidate in Democratic Primary for TX-32 Congressional seat.

    by Steve Love on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:44:46 AM PST

  •  Almost all are doing it. Even in secular ways. (0+ / 0-)

    For example, Pelosi single-handedly killed off the impeachment clause.

  •  I'm jealous. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, zigeunerweisen

    I wrote about this last week.  Got 6 "Recommends".  You're up to 331 as of this writing.

    Great diary.  Glad it's getting the attention it deserves.

    Highly recommended.  (as if one could "highly" rec...).


    The distinction that goes with mere office runs far ahead of the distinction that goes with actual achievement. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:53:26 AM PST

  •  May 8, 2002 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current, mayim

    I'm afraid our Constitution expires the day American citizen, Jose Padilla, was arrested and his Habeas Corpus rights were denied.

    Yesterday's bible hootings were the grave side services.

    "The skeleton in the closet is coming home to roost!" Tom Stoppard

    by Apotropoxy on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:54:02 AM PST

  •  And Anderson was silent. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current

    Please... will one Dem,ocratic candidate please, please, please speak truth to the news media already. It needs to be brought to CNN's attention that they are contributing to the demise of this country.

  •  I thought it was a silly question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    A private individual can't violate the this guy wasn't really violating anything.  The Constitution mandates that the government cannot put forth any religious test for any candidate running for public office.  It really has no control over whether a private citizen votes for a candidate due to his/her religion, the color of his shirt, or anything like that.

    That question is the least of our issues with the Republicans.

  •  As the Repubs sow, so they shall reap. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nathguy, TexasTwister, lisastar

    It's Karma, baby.  

    They had that question thrown at them because pretty much the whole party has used the Bible as a blunt instrument of politics, and have proven themselves hypocrites many times over.

    It may not have been a great choice of CNN to air the question of this apparent fundie nutjob, but I don't feel sorry for any of the creeps who had to answer this question.  

    The reason they couldn't answer it with anything but mealy-mouthed nonsense, and the reason they couldn't reject the premise of the question, is because their own party has accumulated political power by shamelessly pandering to the guy asking the YouTube question.

    In short:  tough shit.

    IMPEACH Dick Cheney. "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." -- Abraham Lincoln

    by chumley on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:00:46 AM PST

    •  agreed (0+ / 0-)

      The question was silly...but it hurt them more than it helped them.  The Constitutional issue here is irrelevant.  It's not about the religious test.  It's about the fact that this party is uber-religious when it's convenient, when it riles up the base, and when it's not on national tv...when they're on national tv and they have to speak to the public at large...that's when it gets interesting, and you see them squirming out of every answer.

      The only semi-decent answer on that one was Huckabee's.

    •  love that quote from Lincoln (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chumley, TexasTwister

      it's so what is wrong with America.

      Everyone in corporate America is terrified of John Edwards & Dennis Kucinich ..... Thom Hartmann

      by lisastar on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:38:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I believe Kucinich has a copy of the constitution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lisastar, Ephemera

    Correct me if I may be wrong but I've heard Dennis Kucinich mention in the past debates that he's got a mini-copy of the constitution in his pocket all the time.  

    Chris Dodd on the other hand doesn't have a copy of the constitution in his pocket but damn, he certainly takes charge when it comes to demanding that Habeas Corpus be restored.  That's an example of someone who cares about the rule of law AND the constitution.

    I wish more of the GOP candidates would do that.

    •  I bet Ron Paul does too (0+ / 0-)

      In the event he has yet to fully commit it to memory. Anyway I think each party has to have a candidate that carries a copy with them at all times. No one-upmanship allowed.

      Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -Frederic Bastiat

      by jqmilktoast on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:25:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kucinich also has a bag of green tea in there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Over the Edge

      ...and a lot of other things, revealed in his appearance on Stephen Colbert, for which Kucinich got enormous points from me for being able to take himself less than seriously (I'm still not voting for him, but his points are secure).

  •  Constitution, Still On Life Support (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But why is the diarist sticking up for the Trilateral Commission?

    Get a clue folks!

    Do you think that high-powered group has any use for Democrats?  Ha-ha-ha...  Only when they want to stick us with a stooge for a candidate.

    A great deal of Democrat's ineffectiveness is due to a failure to see the world as it is.

  •  I think you're overreacting. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is the Constitution under assault?  Yes.

    Is this the most egregious example of it?  No.

    Not by a longshot.  Not even in the Top 10.  Just to toss out a few candidates for way worse than a civilian wingnut asking for people's religious views:

    1.  Signing statements.
    1.  Domestic spying.
    1.  Politicization of the Dept. of Justice.
    1.  Stealing the 2000 election with the complicity of the Supreme Court.
    1.  Using government funds for political campaigns.
    1.  Obstructing Congressional investigations with impunity.
    1.  Eliminating habeas corpus.
    1.  Promoting torture.
    1.  Obstructing criminal investigations with impunity.
    1.  All of the above = implementing the theory of the unitary executive.

    In that light, I'd have to say that one citizen-wingnut's religious litmus test (to which he, as a voter, is constitutionally entitled) fades to insignificance.

  •  The statement in the constitution (0+ / 0-)

    refers to the government passing a law that would, let's say, make it illegal for a baptist to become president. Ithas nothing to do with candidates answering questions about their faith, however stupid their beliefs might be.
    What's amazing is that a piece of fluff and puffery like your diary made it to the recommended list.

    Remember, all odors are particulate in nature.

    by ckerst on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:36:59 AM PST

    •  Please explain (0+ / 0-)

      how the Article VI passage quoted in the diary applies to passing laws.  Any laws.  I'll even quote the entirety of the passage for you so you don't have to search for it yourself.

      "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

      What you're thinking about is the First Amendment which states:

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

  •  However bad you think it is, (8+ / 0-)

    it's worse.  Why?  Becuase at least two, and now probably four, Supreme Court Justices think religious tests at the State level are probably okay:

    As you all know, in our Courts we are experiencing a fight between "strict constructionists" and "living Constitution" theorists.  The "strict constructionists" believe two things. First, if it is not explicitly in the Constitution, it is not there at all.  This is best rebutted by the 9th Amendment, which states "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."  The second thing they believe is that the Constitution must be interpreted strictly by the facts as they existed at the time the relevant Article or Amendment was written, and that any changes, no matter how incremental, must be by amendment rather than interpretation.  It is this thinking that says if putting people in stocks or whipping them for adultery was okay in 1789, it is not cruel and unusual punishment today.  The latter is really the great threat to religious freedom in this country.

    Lee and Elk Grove

    Two recent cases, Lee and Elk Grove, really got me thinking about this.  The following is really the original premise of the entire concept.  Some of you will recognize it, as I have posted parts of this before.

    Lee v. Weisman

    In a dissenting opinion in Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, 112 S.Ct. 2649, 120 L.Ed.2d 467  (1992), Justice Scalia castigated the majority of the Court for deciding its opinion in a graduation ceremony prayer case on the psychology of coercion rather than on history.  The majority decision found that a graduation prayer was coercive, as students attending graduation were required to stand and either join the prayer or remain silent.  The Court considered psychological evidence that this created a coercive atmosphere violative of the Establishment Clause.  

    Having first ridiculed the majority's decision, Justice Scalia turned next to the Establishment Clause.  "The Establishment Clause," he wrote, "was adopted to prohibit such an establishment of religion at the federal level (and to protect state establishments of religion from federal interference)."  The import of the last statement might well be hidden by its location in a parenthetical statement, but it can not be underestimated, for it is the heart of Justice Scalia's opinion.  His final position is that States are free to establish official religions.  Further, he would only limit such establishment to prohibit 'actual coercion,' "acts backed by threat of penalty" by the State government.   In other words, short of statutory punishment, such as imprisonment or fine, a State could establish an official religion, and delegate to it official state functions.  

    Justice Scalia went on, rejecting even Jesus' admonition against public prayer, arguing on behalf of public and institutional prayer.  He wrote "[c]hurch and state would not be such a difficult subject if religion were, as the Court apparently thinks it to be, some purely personal avocation that can be indulged, entirely in secret, like pornography, in the privacy of one's own room.  For most believers it is not that, and has never been.  Religious men and women of almost all denominations have felt it necessary to acknowledge and beseech the blessing of God as a people, and not just as individuals...."  While, on its face, this argument has validity, combined with the establishment of an official State religion it legitimizes public devotion, not at individual churches or synagogues, but at public institutions and events.

    Elk Grove

    Justice Thomas built on Justice Scalia's Lee dissenting opinion in his own dissent in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, No. 02-1624. Argued March 24, 2004--Decided June 14, 2004, the recent Pledge of Allegiance "Under God" case.   He introduced his opinion stating "I would take this opportunity to begin the process of rethinking the Establishment Clause."  He wrote that he accepted the Free Exercise Clause as applied against the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, but "the Establishment Clause is another matter," and "it makes little sense to incorporate the Establishment Clause."  Justice Thomas opined that the Establishment Clause protects only the States, and not individual rights.  "[T]he Establishment Clause," he wrote, "is best understood as a federalism provision--it protects state establishments from federal interference but does not protect any individual rights."

    Justice Thomas went on to discuss exactly what he meant by "state establishments," describing official endorsement of a particular religion throughout State governmental authority.  He began where Justice Scalia left off, discussing legal coercion, and finding (inconsistently with his thesis, that the Establishment Clause simply does not apply to States) that coercion through force of law and threat of penalty remained prohibited.  However, he went on to state, there were other ways for a State to establish a religion without coercion.  He wrote "[i]t is also conceivable that a government could 'establish' a religion by imbuing it with governmental authority, ... or by delegating its civic authority to a group chosen according to a religious criterion."  He did not state what authority could be imbued, or what civic authority could be delegated.  However, it is reasonable to anticipate that, at a minimum, such an official establishment could prohibit public employment or contracting by members of other religions.  Other state prerogatives, including marriage, divorce, and even civil courts (many of the American colonies had ecclesiastical courts), could be included.

    This opinion is disturbing for two reasons.  First, it encourages official public endorsement of, and delegation of authority to, an individual religion.  Second, and even more pernicious, the internal illogic hints that Justice Thomas' limitation against coercion is a temporary public sop, promising religion without Inquisition.  However, if his opinion is accepted at face value, the Establishment Clause simply does not apply to states, and therefore contains no limitations.  Individuals might remain protected by the Free Exercise Clause, indeed that might have been Justice Thomas' point, but his opinion as written does not state that.

    Colonial America

    As noted above, the whole idea of "strict construction" is to look at the facts on the ground at the time the relevant Article or Amendment was written.  Given the Scalia/Thomas opinion that the 14th Amendment does not apply to the Establishment Clause, the relevant time period is 1787 to 1789, the time from the writing of the Constitution to its ratification.  Therefore, one huge part of the opinion would be a survey of the law at that time, and it is not good news.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

    The Constitution was written in 1787 and ratified in 1789.  The Constitution, Article IV, Clause 3, states, in relevant part,

    no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    The First Amendment states, in relevant part,

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ....  

    So what does this mean?  To follow the strict constructionist reasoning, you would have to look at the facts on the ground in 1789.  

    Of the eleven original Colonies with their own Constitutions in 1787, nine had some form of oath or requirement that legislators and others holding position of public trust believe in God and Jesus Christ.  Several required adherence to Protestantism, while other expanded the requirements to include Catholicism, by requiring only adhesion to the Old and New Testaments.  Only two States, New York and Virginia, permitted persons to hold public office without consideration of their religion.

    You would expect, in a Supreme Court opinion of the gravity I suggest, to see each cited.  Here is what you would find:

    The Delaware Constitution of 1776, Article 22, require every person

    appointed to any office or place of trust" to subscribe to the declaration "I, _, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ his only Son an din the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine interpretation.

    The North Carolina Constitution of 1776, in Article XXXII, stated

    That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the devil departments within this State.

    The South Carolina Constitution of 1778, Article XXXVIII, established the Protestant religion as the religion of the State and extended religious and civil privileges to

    all denominations of Christian Protestants in this State, demeaning themselves peacefully and faithfully.

    The Georgia Constitution of 1777, Article VI, required that all representatives to the state legislature

    shall be of the Protestant religion, ....

    The Maryland Constitution of 1776, at Article XXXV, stated

    That no other test or qualification ought to be required on admission to any office of trust or profit, than said oath of support and fidelity to this State, and said oath of office, as shall be directed by this Constitution or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion.

    The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 required

    Any person chosen governor, lieutenant governor, councilor, senator, or representative, an accepting the trust, shall, before he proceed to execute the duties of his place or office, make and subscribe the following declaration, viz: ‘I, _, do declare that I believe the Christian religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth: ....

    The New Jersey Constitution of 1776, Article XIX, stated,

    all person, professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, who shall demean themselves peacefully under the government, as hereby established shall be capable of being elected into any office or profit or trust, or being a member of either branch of the Legislature, and shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege an immunity, enjoyed by others their fellow subjects.

    The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, at Section 10, required each member of the State’s legislature to subscribe to the declaration

    I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked.  And I do acknowledge the Scripture of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.

    The New Hampshire Constitution of 1784 stated,

    And every denomination of Christian demeaning themselves quietly, and as good subjects of the state, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another, shall ever be established by law.

    The Vermont Constitution of 1777 required each member of the legislature to declare,

    I _ do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked.  And I do acknowledge the scripture of the old and new testaments to be given by divine intervention, and own and profess the protestant religion.

    Only two states, New York and Virginia, of the eleven that had Constitution in 1789, protected against the establishment of an official religion.  

    The New York Constitution of 1777, at Article XXXVIII, stated,

    And whereas we are required, by the benevolent principles of rational liberty, not only to expel civil tyranny, but also to guard against that spiritual oppression and intolerance wherewith the bigotry and ambition of weak and wicked priests and princes have scourged mankind, this convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, ordain, determine, and declare, that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed, within this State, to all mankind: Provided, That the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State.

    The Virginia Constitution of 1776 stated, at Section XVI,

    That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.

    After the United States Constitution was ratified several states followed its example, amending their own Constitutions to remove religious tests and oaths.  George (1789), Delaware (1792), and Vermont (1793) amended their Constitutions to expressly forbid religious tests, while Pennsylvania extended its test to permit Jews to hold public office.  As new states entered the Union some of them expressly forbade religious tests (e.g. Tennessee, 1796, Alabama 1819), and some did not even mention such tests (e.g. Kentucky 1792).  However, some newly admitted States included religious tests for public office years after the ratification of the Constitution.  See, e.g., Mississippi Constitution of 1817:

    No one who denies the being of God, or of a future state of reward and punishment, shall hold any office in the civil department of this State.

    Given the above facts, it is not difficult to envision Scalia and Thomas writing, quite simply, "it was obviously permitted in 1789, as there has been no Constitutional amendment altering the meaning of the Establishment Clause from that understood at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, such tests remain Constitutional."

    Punch up your blogs and publications with cartoons from independent lefty artists.

    by dhonig on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:43:20 AM PST

    •  Please diary this! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pb, Dave the Rave, Argyrios

      It deserves a debate on its own, not unintentional burial at the end of a l-o-o-o-o-o-ong thread.

      Great research, too, btw.

      Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

      by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 07:56:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  you mistake my point above (0+ / 0-)

      I am not saying that looking at an official religious litmus test for public office, and heralding that test as the (or a) death of the Constitution wouldn't be warranted.  If the trend you cite (about which more below) were to result in an actual Supreme Court decision upholding state legislation requiring religious belief to qualify for public office, I would be outraged.

      But that hasn't happened yet.  What did happen was that a run-of-the-mill Christofacist wingnut asked a question typical of his ilk.  Were the Republican responses disappointing?  Duh.  But in no way does that amount to an actual creation or enforcement of a religious test for office.

      On the trend you discuss, I have a couple of quibbles.  Mining dissenting opinions for clues to what would happen in a majority decision is always risky.  Also, I would like to see a survey of current state constitutional provisions on the issue -- since this will never come before the Supremes unless some state actually legislates such a test.  Can any states do so under their present constitutions?

      •  to answer your question (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave the Rave

        Yes, states can do so under their present constitutions, where those constitutions allow amendment by referendum.  In other words, if the SC were to rule the Establishment Clause is not incorporated, expect to see such referenda approximately 3 seconds later.

        I understand the risk in mining minority opinions, but when you're looking at Scalia or Thomas, it is pretty predictable that they will rule in the majority just as they wrote in the minority.  The Lee and Elk Grove Courts have changed, with the addition of Roberts and Alito, and I suspect we are therefore closer to losing the Establishment Clause than we were 4 years ago.  A Republican replacing one more member of the Court, therefore, would not only be a threat to privacy rights, but to religious rights as well.  That is fucking TERRIFYING as far as I am concerned.

        Punch up your blogs and publications with cartoons from independent lefty artists.

        by dhonig on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:12:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  agree you should diary this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leaves on the Current

          I look forward to continuing the debate, because I simply can't get too worried about this at the moment.  In one sense I agree with you; were we to lose the Establishment clause it would be terrifying.  If.  Later, sometime.  After statewide referenda to amend state constitutions, and after legislation passed to require candidates to office to be Christian, and after the Supremes actually rule that such legislation is constitutional.

          Lots of conditions there.  Lots opportunities to fight.  Fertile ground for a political victory, since I have to believe that most Americans wouldn't stand for something like that.  In any case, though, I am MUCH more concerned about assaults on the Constitution that have actually happened.  And that are not presently being fought with sufficient fervor.

          Just reading the excerpts you posted, I think your gloss goes over the top.  Thomas' language is vague at best, and doesn't support your contention that the Establishment clause doesn't apply to states and doesn't have any limitatios.  He expressly admits a limitation -- coercion -- which is (potentially) a very broad category.  Scalia is more clear, but is also (it must be remembered) a staunch Catholic and a decent student of history.  I'm not sure that, in the event, he would actually affirmatively usher in an era of American inter-religious conflict a la pre-Enlightenment Europe.

        •  but Court would be reversing decades of precedent (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leaves on the Current, jfaustus

          among which of course is Engel v Vitale, in which the state board of regents of ny writing a prayer was described as an absolutely clear violation of the idea of no establishment.  That is, part of the state government was violating the establishment clause, meaning that clause is clearly incorporated.

          Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

          by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:43:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No question about it (3+ / 0-)

            but both Scalia and Thomas have expressed contempt for stare decisis.  You have to predict that Roberts and Scalia have similar contempt, particularly in regards to Roe v. Wade, so that makes four.

            The reason I want to fight this fight NOW is because later is too late.  If Giuliani or Huckabee get to replace Stevens, the deed might well be done, and only undone after generations, if at all.

            Punch up your blogs and publications with cartoons from independent lefty artists.

            by dhonig on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:52:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yeah... (0+ / 0-)

              Maybe something to watch, but I hope it isn't actually that likely. See also, Torcaso v. Watkins:

              Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961) was a United States Supreme Court case in which the court reaffirmed that the US Constitution prohibits States and the Federal Government from requiring any kind of religious test for public office.
              The Court unanimously found that Maryland's requirement for a person holding public office to state a belief in God violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

  •  That citizen's view is myopic, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current

    but I think that a candidate engaging with faith--and its issues--is perfectly acceptable. I like to know that my elected officials struggle with religious questions, and I would like them to speak frankly about them. This is, I think, a better way of facilitating between religion and secularism within the public square.
    The issue of faith is important, and it should not be mocked, minimalized or moved to the side. Elements in both parties have done this (the Republicans, more successfully, by antagonizing against non-believers).

  •  If they were in Eugene Oregon (0+ / 0-)

    and someone held up "Revolution for the hell of it" they would have danced around it, too...if they thought it would get them elected.

    The only one of them who has any integrity is McCain and he's lost too many of his cogs.

    Sadly, I doubt if the same thing happened at a dem debate that it would have been much different, unless Kucinich was allowed to speak.

  •  Article IV of the Constitution... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...means that the Government can't use religious tests in hiring people.  Individual voters can use whatever they want.  If one of the candidates had spoken up and said, "You can't decide how to vote based on that because of Article IV of the constitution," they would have just been wrong anyway.

    Grand Rapids Michigan | -5.75, -5.54

    by TooFolkGR on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:12:17 AM PST

  •  This diary makes no sense... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, RonK Seattle, ScottTx

    This was a private citizen asking a question of candidates for the Republican nomination, not some judge or US official administering a test.

    That CNN chose to air the question probably reflects the importance of so-called Christian values to the Republican base. (That an embrace of war, guns and the death penalty are part of these values is beyond me).

    So I don't see what bearing that debate question has on the Constitution. I agree that our Constitution is all but dead, but that's not CNN's fault.


    For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

    --Mark Twain

    by redglare on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:18:37 AM PST

    •  You have far more faith (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fhcec, zigeunerweisen

      --than I do that the crucial and subtle distinction between an official test and a private opinion was being honored here.

      Do you think the questioner, who said "this will tell us"--sic--"all we need to know" recognized that distinction?

      Do you think the candidates, and most people in the room, recognized that distinction?  How--by their silence?  By their willingness to entertain detailed examination of a "private" (wink, wink) issue that the Constitution says is publicly irrelevant?

      Do you think the question, and the way it was answered, had nothing to do with a desire to circumvent Article VI and impose a de facto religious test by making it impossible for anyone who wouldn't pass such a test to get the GOP nomination?

      Well, maybe you're right.  But I'm afraid I think you're naive.

      Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

      by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:54:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think that most people... (0+ / 0-) the audience or watching the debate on TV could find the USA on a world map, much less parse the Constitution.

        But I don't get your outrage: did you really expect a GOP candidate to object to this question?

        I was actually surprised that most answered that they see the Bible as largely allegorical, whereas the questioner seemed to want the candidates to say they believed every word literally.

        I  don't think I'm naive; I think you're making a mountain out of a a molehill.

        If you want to look for the death of the Constitution, look at habeas corpus, search and seizure, free speech "zones" and signing statements, not some stupid CNN debate question.


        For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

        --Mark Twain

        by redglare on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:10:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm still not sure you're following (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pb, redglare, ScottTx

        Voters are ALLOWED to use a religious test when they vote... whether it's for the GOP nomination or the President or for Dog-Catcher.  Government agencies CANNOT use a religious test when they hire.

        There absolutely, without question, one hundred percent IS a religious test for who gets the Republican Nomination, and one could argue the Democratic nomination as well.  But it is not a test that is sanctioned or enforced by any principals of the government, so it's not a constitutional issue.

        I mean I think it sucks too that 3/4 of this country still has to ask the Chicken Bones who they should vote for: I'm guessing we completely agree on that point.  But this is unrelated to the constitution because (thankfully) the constitution doesn't tell people what criteria they need to use when they vote.

        Grand Rapids Michigan | -5.75, -5.54

        by TooFolkGR on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:12:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If you understood your Constitution ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        redglare, ScottTx

        ... you'd understand that there's no constitutional issue here. None. Not even by a slippery slope.

        Yes, it's distressing -- on a microscopic scale -- that you have no grasp of the Constitution, and that a few hundred politically active readers and recommenders are just as clueless.

        Is it your understanding that our Constitution places limits on the factors an individual voter may or may not consider in exercising his/her right to vote?

        We must defeat them over there, or they'll follow us home ... hide under our beds ... and grab us by the ankles when we get up to pee.

        by RonK Seattle on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:21:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the answers were distressing. (0+ / 0-)

          Just imagine how Washington or Madison would have answered the question.  Or Thomas Jefferson.  Remember Jefferson took the Christian Bible and cut out big chunks of it.  This revised Bible is now know as the "Jefferson Bible."  He certainly did not believe every word of the Christian Bible.  And I think it was he who gave us the term of a "wall" separating church and state, didn't he?  

          If you don't have an earth-shaking idea, get one, you'll love building a better world.

          by hestal on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:13:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You are right.The Constitution is all but dead. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JuliaAnn, Leaves on the Current

    Nothing more to say. You are right. Thanks to the right wing they have succeeded at doing what no foreign enemy has been able to do-kill the Constitution. Thank you for this thread.

    How stupid does someone have to be to believe ANYTHING on Fox 'News'?

    by wesg01 on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:20:26 AM PST

  •  You're Not Overreacting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current, FOS, billybam

    IMHO the "religion" litmus test that has been and continues to be applied by the GOP "base" to their political candidates as disturbing.  Even more disturbing is the candidates pandering to and giving their seal of approval to this clearly Unconstitutional and very exclusionary criterion for acceptability as a GOP candidate.  

    BTW, I'm a Christian whose dismay at the hijacking of the Constution has been equaled by my dismay and horror over the hijacking of my religion by nuts and often ignorant fundamentalists and by the phony "christian" politicians who pander to them.

    I strongly believe in the separation of church and state.  But then, I also believe that each individual has a right to choose whether to believe and what to believe, and that their beliefs should not determine the policies of any one country.

    •  Amen to every word. (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

      by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:41:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  no subject (0+ / 0-)

      IMHO the "religion" litmus test that has been and continues to be applied by the GOP "base" to their political candidates as disturbing.  Even more disturbing is the candidates pandering to and giving their seal of approval to this clearly Unconstitutional and very exclusionary criterion for acceptability as a GOP candidate.  

      How is the subjective criteria a political party uses to nominate its candidate unconstitutional?

      I strongly believe in the separation of church and state.  But then, I also believe that each individual has a right to choose whether to believe and what to believe, and that their beliefs should not determine the policies of any one country.

      This begs the question as to why you're even concerned about how the GOP base chooses which candidate it supports.

      Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -Frederic Bastiat

      by jqmilktoast on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:35:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank You for Your Concern (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        To Clarify:  Firstly, I should have prefaced my comment with the IMHO disclaimer.  My "concern" is not really what criteria the "base" uses to choose its candidates.  Of course, they can use whatever criteria they want to choose candidates.  My concern is how the Candidates react to those criteria.  As Leaves on the Current quoted:  

        "Article.VI.  . . . no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. "

        IMHO:  The GOP candidates refuse to stand up and state that their religious beliefs will not influence them to make decisions that are contrary to the best interests of the United States or contrary to the law as defined in the Constitution.  That’s what bothers me. It's my personal opinion, to which at least for the time being, I'm entitled.

        Secondly, Thank you for your concern over what concerns me:

        "This begs the question as to why you’re even concerned about how the GOP base chooses which candidate it supports"...

        However, my concerns and yours may well be quite different.  I respect your right to have your own concerns and opinions, even if they differ from mine.  

        •  Are you looking for a (0+ / 0-)

          JFKesque statement along the lines of his assertion that the Pope wouldn't be calling his shots for him?

          Our concerns likely are different, I just don't see any scenario where religious extremists "have a red phone" direct to the Oval Office.

          Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -Frederic Bastiat

          by jqmilktoast on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 11:40:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You ask a good question, jqmilkoast. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            How about a presidential candidate who says that he cannot support gay marriage because of his Southern Baptist upbringing?  I find that troubling, because I can see no Constitutional language that prohibits gay marriage, but I can see the "equal protection" clause.  So it seems to me that the candidate is placing his religion above the Constitution.  Of course I am speaking of John Edwards, a Democrat.  And Mr. Edwards also supports school prayer, he says it is a "good thing," and he supports federal funding of faith-based initiatives.  Yes he does issue disclaimers on these last two issues, but he also pledges to make them happen.  Again I find this very troubling.  But when I raise these questions here, in a Democratic stronghold, I get blistered but good.  

            If you don't have an earth-shaking idea, get one, you'll love building a better world.

            by hestal on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:10:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It would be a long discussion (0+ / 0-)

              regarding whether the 14th proscribes states from enacting 1 man/1 woman marriage statutes, and likely one which would go nowhere quickly. I don't particularly find the school prayer and funding of things like faith based charities to be all that problematic. In my view, it does not constitute an establishment of religion as the 1st would prohibit. So much fluff has been made about Jefferson's "wall of separation" phrase as to make any reasonable discussion nearly impossible.

              Your blistering, in my estimation, is more a result of the knee-jerk defense of peoples' candidates of choice against any criticisms levelled against them, regardless of how legitimate those criticisms might be.

              Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -Frederic Bastiat

              by jqmilktoast on Fri Nov 30, 2007 at 11:41:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  don't need a red phone when they are in office (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fhcec, kurious

            which with some of these characters is guaranteed - after all, Huckabee doesn't need anyone to tell him on this subject, and some of the other are quite closely connected with the likes of the main figures of the religious right.   They wll be in the office on a regular basis should one of these creatures get elected.

            Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

            by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:15:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  how about the one that Dobson has... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to vet supreme court nominees?

            To infiltrate the Air Force academy and the uniformed services?

            To substitute faith-based as opposed to science based health programs for teens, and women and dying members of families?

            which of these brings the President out in his pajamas to sign a bill to keep a family from making an end of life decision about their loved one?

            Or for those of us who would like to have "death with dignity" rather than dying eventually with hundreds of tubes keeping otherwise dead systems working?

            Many are deeply concerned about how the separation of church and state has been trampled by the Republican "base" - and the diarist is right to call out this issue.

            Any individual is free to believe whatever they want to believe, but to enforce it on all of us - not so free. It's against the Constitution -  plain and simple.

  •  is the democratic party (0+ / 0-)

    the pallbearers?

    Peace is a good thing. War is the ultimate political failure.

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:34:50 AM PST

  •  I haven't read the comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, GOTV

    but, the title:

    Tonight, the Constitution Died over the top. Just because the Republican candidates for President do not respect the Constitution enough to address the question appropriately doesn't mean that the document died. None of these people has been elected President, and I doubt any of them will be. I do agree, though, that religious tests like these are very disturbing and it's disappointing that ANY candidate for President can't easily repudiate such a question.

  •  Tehocracy rulz!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    "Can you hear the grasshopper at your feet?" -Master Po

    by DW Dawg on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:59:59 AM PST

  •  Umm... People offstage objected to the stupidity (0+ / 0-)

    present in the Q and A.

    We are right here.

    Dana Curtis Kincaid Ad Astra per Aspera! The enemy is not man, the enemy is stupidity.

    by angrytoyrobot on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:02:27 AM PST

  •  This happened in a Dem debate, too. (0+ / 0-)

    Russert asked the Dems their favorite biblical passage.  Not one of our Dem candidates gave the correct response.  NOT ONE!

    Proof (starts at about the 1 minute mark; takes a couple minutes to get through all the answers):

    (As much as I like Gravel's remark on love, that still isn't the correct response.)

  •  relevant quote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leaves on the Current, crose

    MAY 9, 1798



    WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 1798

    The other papers of this city have chosen to be silent this day, because the President has recommended a fast. We do not follow their example:

    Because there is nothing in the constitution giving authority to proclaim fasts .

    Because, if any such power can be considered, by implication, as vested by the constitution, it would rather belong to the Legislators.

    Because prayer, fasting, and humiliation are matters of religion and conscience, with which government has nothing to do, but which every individual is to attend to at such times, and in such manner, as he shall deem fit.

    And Because we consider a connection between state and church affairs as dangerous to religious and political freedom and that, therefore, every approach towards it should be discouraged.

    Source of Information:

    General Aurora Advertiser, May, 9, 1798, Philadelphia, Penn. MFILM N.S. 12516, HF5862.A9

    The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

    by NCrefugee on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 09:56:19 AM PST

  •  Willst thou thump selected sinners? (0+ / 0-)

    was the real question.

    The bearing false witness commandment would have been a insurmountable hurdle in recent American history had there been a true religious qualification.

  •  Don't be ridiculous, Leaves! (0+ / 0-)

    The Constitution died a long time ago! But don't worry...freedom-loving citizens will one day bring it fully back to life.

  •  The irony of it all is... (0+ / 0-)

    ...we easily could ask the same question to Democratic candidates. Anyone who answers in the affirmative automatically loses my vote.

  •  "Off the table" Dems killed the Constitution. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
    --Basil King, Canadian novelist, 1859-1928

    by dallasdave on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 11:14:23 AM PST

  •  In 1600... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Claudio & Hero, and their comic counterparts, Benedick & Beatrice had a title for this kind of thing.

    "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

    by pere on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 11:22:52 AM PST

  •  Go home folks theres nothing to see here (0+ / 0-)

    It wasn't a test. Are you suggesting we can can't ask religious related questions to people who run for office? Sounds like you want to limit my 1st Amendment right to free speech.

  •  I read the question as... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Do you believe every word in the Bible is literally true? This should tell me everything I need to know about whether or not I should vote for you, 'cause if you think everything in this book is literally true, you're a nutcase, for whom I cannot vote."

    That's what I thought the guy was implying. But that's just my interpretation.

  •  Pardon me as I say fuck you (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Over the Edge


    I can agree that our Constitution is in peril, what from the corporate greed that has festered since the Industrial Revolution (and prior for some minds), but your little hit-sentence on Ron Paul is weak, misinformed and wrong.

    Hon. Paul was asked if he believed that efforts were underfoot to bring about a North American Union.  He replied that a) there's a lot to talk about with regards to the question and b) that certain REAL SITUATIONS regarding a direction towards a NAU are in effect via NAFTA, the attempt at CAFTA and now the CanAmMex Highway.

    So, next time you try to character assassinate someone, do so with a bit more evidence and understanding of the REALITY.

  •  The LAST (?) word on this, by the diarist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurious, crose

    A lot of people have seriously misunderstood what it was that got me so upset in this episode, and have thought I deemed the question itself to be unconstitutional.

    Absolutely not!--and my fault, it seems, for writing too hastily and passionately.

    What disturbed me so much was this:   both the context and response--or lack of response--to the question seemed to indicate that the pertinent clause in Article VI is now in practice, if not in law, irrelevant and open to full functional abrogation.

    For elaboration, please see what I wrote at and in other comment responses on this thread.

    Otherwise, thanks to everyone for a lively discussion.  I wish--really!--that I felt more reassured that there's nothing to worry about here.

    Instead,  I still fear this is of those moments of clarity when we look back and realize that something inestimably important--in this case, a principle enshrined in the Constitution--has effectively died, and we are merely bearing up its carapace until that, too, falls apart into dust.

    Stop global warming--or nothing else we do will matter.

    by Leaves on the Current on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:42:43 PM PST

    •  It is truly sad (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that your imaginary Constitution of Fantasyland that outlaws public religious expression died today.

      Meanwhile, in the United States, our Constitution is also imperiled, but not remotely by the question asked at the Republican debate, the responses to it, or any of the surrounding circumstances.

  •  ron paul is right, i agree w/u on the other thing (0+ / 0-)

    actually the trilateral commission and the cfr are working towards a "new world order" but i do agree with u that no religious test should need to be passed. If u want to know just how christian psycho and i repeat PSYCHO! Mike Huckabee is(other than the fact that he really does seem to care about the poor) you will love this read. in fact it might be hucka bee who has that "med problem" you gave to ron paul.

  •  Forget Ammendment XI (0+ / 0-)

    W. signed a signing statement.  It was briefly worded.  It said "na-da"


    Never confuse kindness and patience with stupidity and weakness!!

    by Joes Steven on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:33:22 PM PST

  •  2 Kings 2:23-24 (0+ / 0-)

    Just Google it.

  •  the US Constitution died off a long time ago (0+ / 0-)

    well, maybe not "died off" maybe "killed off"


    by dancewater on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 03:08:23 PM PST

  •  By the way, props to the diarist (0+ / 0-)

    for his values and his attitude discussing this issue, especially in disagreement.

    To the diarist: I've been really hard on you because I completely disagree with the constitutional argument you are making. But I want MY last word to be, I respect you and thank you for the diary. Rec'd.

  •  How would Leiberman or Obama handle that one? (0+ / 0-)

    The person posing the question seems to have ruled out the idea of a non-Christian President

  •  In other words, (0+ / 0-)

    these guys are in charge of the relevance of our Constitution?  These chumps have the ability to slay our American creed?  They can render our Constitution, in its totality, dead on the basis of a YouTube debate?

    Are you for fucking real?

    What an insulting diary.  

    First Amendmently Yours,

    by lightiris on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:09:13 PM PST

  •  Hi, Sweetie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Welcome to Christian America.

    BTW, you SHOULD have been shocked that the question was asked.  The questioner ought to have been holding a copy of the Constitution, not a milleniums old work of fiction.

    THAT question would have been valid.

    Right the Wrongs...Gore in 08!

    by creeper on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 06:10:03 PM PST

  •  Is Separation of Church and State (0+ / 0-)

    even mentioned in the Constitution?
    Jefferson speaks of a "wall" in the First Amendment
    (more at link)
    I don't see how these examples evidence the theory that "tonight The Constitution Died".   I would never expect PETA people NOT to go ballistic on Michael Vick because of their personal feelings about humanity and ethics. One might be for different reasons, but I am GLAD that Evangelicals are environmentalists because it is what Jesus would do.
    You can't forget that we live in a society that around 90% of the population believe in a Higher Power ie "God". I myself an am agnostic, but in all honesty I wish that sometimes I could "go back" to believing. I promised I would never try to take "God" away from anyone, and that I would try my hardest to see the result rather than the motivation.
    I didn't get mad at Kerry when he "came out" about being Catholic.
    That being said, I would never, ever, not in a million years vote for a Creationist or a Mormon.
    Call me "racist" or whatever you want, I wouldn't do it, they are a different breed.  

  •  Hillary Woos Evangelicals Quotes bible (0+ / 0-)

    LAKE FOREST, Calif., Nov 29 (Reuters) - Emphasizing her own Christian faith and quoting frequently from the Bible, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton wooed a U.S. evangelical conference on AIDS on Thursday with a pledge to fight the global pandemic together.
    Like it or not, people in this country tend to be religious, and like it or not, the debates are for the people, and like it or not, religions form voting blocs.

  •  I'm still waiting for a candidate .... (0+ / 0-)

    ... (from either party) who would have answered the question "No, I don't believe any of it. Not one word".

    Fat chance, huh?

  •  Rest assured that this has happened (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    many, many times before in every election ever held in this nation.

    And it will be asked in every election to come.

    "Parlimentary inquiry Mr. Speaker... does whining come out of my time?"

    by Andrew C White on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 08:03:51 PM PST

  •  But the question isn't even (0+ / 0-)

    a religious test - to hold up the Bible and ask if "it" is true to give evidence of nothing so much as one's failure to have read that book at all, of one's utter lack of religiosity in any meaningful sense of the word.

    Two of my favorite episodes, which contain truth of a sort...

    1. A smart little Jewish kid (name, David) takes down a big roaring arrogant Philistine.
    1. The tower of Babel falls and human language splits into many languages, making long books all of a sudden rather hard to understand...
    •  The question was not the issue (0+ / 0-)

      the lack of an appropriate response was the issue.  The question was asked of the man running for public office.  It was not asked of the man in his role as a private citizen.  As a candidate for public office, the candidate should have pointed out that it was inappropriate for him to submit to a religious test.  Every citizen has the right to ask what they wish. We will be watching for candidates who fall back on the code language of the Religious Right.

  •  You're Mistaken (0+ / 0-)

    I realize the sincerity of your feelings on this matter, but I'm afraid you're somewhat confused about what that passage in the Constitution means.  You're not the only one; Chris Matthews has been trying to hawk the same opinion on Hardball, with few takers.

    The article says there shall be no religious test or qualification for office.  That's not at issue here.  The qualifications to be President are to be 35 years old and, for everyone alive these days, a natural born US citizen.  No one is saying because a candidate answered a question on religion on way or the other that they are not qualified to be President, in the sense that they shouldn't be allowed to run for the office.  Rather, they are simply using that opinion to evaluate whether or not they as an individual want to vote for a particular candidate based on their religious views.  And throughout history in this country that has been entirely appropriate.

    It's hard to know without talking to the questioner (maybe someone can contact him on YouTube) what he meant by his question.  I feel he might have been trying to apply a religious test -- you must believe this word for word or I won't vote for you -- but rather a logical one.  He may have felt anyone who believed in it word for word was automatically incapable of critical thinking. Or perhaps by referring to this specific book he was trying to see if anyone was smart enough to say they couldn't answer because they haven't read the specific book in his hand and it could mean anything.

    People are free to have their own personal beliefs, and to the extent that they don't impact their thinking when applied to any real world tasks, I agree with the general sentiment that they shouldn't feel obligated to explain them, nor should we feel compelled to judge them.  However, insomuch as they DO impact their thinking, then we DO have a right to know and ask about them, especially if they're running for an elected position.  To posit a society otherwise would be unteable, as anyone could declare any position they hold as a personal "religious" belief and thus not subject to question, and by your standards you would have to not judge them on that.  I don't think that's a very viable option.

    Now, I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't be allowed to hold a belief that has a religious background or reasoning to it.  I am suggesting, however, that if it's a matter of practical concern, it should also have some concrete logic to support it as well, or at least, voters should be able to expect it to and vote based on whether or not it does.  Many people's abortion positions, pro and con, are based on religious grounds, but I would want any candidate whom I asked about their abortion position to be able to at least attempt to defend it with concrete reasoning rather than solely appealing to divine authority.

  •  I don't buy it (0+ / 0-)

    I don't buy it. This was just a debate, and a privately operated one at that, not an oath of office. No one was obligated to answer. Your interpretation would bar ever asking any politician any question with religious content. If this was a question given by the government that had to be answered correctly in order to be sworn in, that would be different. I think the whole swearing in on the Bible thing is a lot closer to a religious test than a debate question from a private citizen broadcast on a private tv network.

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