Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christopher Hitchens on Article VI and Mike Huckabee

Hitchens says what he means and often is very witty in doing so. In this case he is defending the true meaning of Article VI of the Constitution, and also getting in a good shot at the most theocratic candidate running for the presidency, Mike Huckabee.

If we thought Bush pandered and gave lip service to the religious right, Huckabee would fill the government with people who do not believe in evolution, or any other science that disproves the Bible. His administration would have a religion test, most likely, and those who do not hold Huckabee's extremely fundamentalist beliefs need not apply.

A Huckabee presidency might finally be enough to make me move to Canada (and I'm sure many people would say good riddance).

Here's Hitch:

Just before this gets completely out of hand and becomes a mantralike repetition, let us please recall what the careful phrases of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution actually and very carefully and deliberately say:

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.

As so often, the framers and founding fathers meant what they said, said what they meant, and risked no waste of words. A candidate for election, or an applicant for a post in the bureaucracy, could not be disqualified on the grounds of his personal faith in any god (or his disbelief in any god, for that matter). This stipulation was designed to put an end to the hideous practice of European monarchies—and the pre-existing practice of various American colonies—whereby if a man did not affirm the trinity, or deny the pope, or abjure Judaism (depending on the jurisdiction), he could be forbidden to hold office or even to run for it. Along with the establishment clause of the First Amendment, and the predecessor-language of the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom, it forms part of the chief glory of the first-ever constitution that guaranteed religious liberty, religious pluralism, and the freedom to be left alone by priests and rabbis and mullahs and other characters.

However, what Article VI does not do, and was never intended to do, is deny me the right to say, as loudly as I may choose, that I will on no account vote for a smirking hick like Mike Huckabee, who is an unusually stupid primate but who does not have the elementary intelligence to recognize the fact that this is what he is. My right to say and believe that is already guaranteed to me by the First Amendment. And the right of Huckabee to win the election and fill the White House with morons like himself is unaffected by my expression of an opinion.

Emphasis added. Read the rest.

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