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“I propose that it is high time for the electorate to reject anyone who is strenuously devout,” writes David Barash in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s on-line blog “Brainstorm.”

His proposed ban would include any candidate who is a”Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelical, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Shinto, Wiccan, or committed fundamentalist practitioner of any other faith or creed.”

“America’s problem isn’t too much prejudice against overtly religious presidential candidates (e.g., Messrs. Romney and Huntsman, not to mention Christian evangelical evolution-denier Mike Huckabee and the newly-minted “I’m no longer a womanizer” Catholic Newt), but not enough,” writes Barash.

He notes that ccording to Article VI, paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

“Fair enough,” writes Barash. “My own immodest proposal, however, is that we turn this ‘no religious qualification clause’ around and agree that no religiously fundamentalist candidate shall ever be permitted to obtain the office of President of the United States.

“Why? For one thing, it’s time for politicians to accept responsibility for their actions instead of attributing them to divine advice or counting on supernatural intervention.

“Haven’t we had enough of the kind of faith-based policy initiatives favored by the previous administration? After all,” asks Barash, “George W. Bush claimed that in invading Iraq, he was acting out God’s will: How many more such faith-based disasters must we endure? (And wasn’t 9/11—a faith-based action if ever there was one—enough?)

“For another, perhaps the most dangerous attitude for any political leader is the insistence that he or she doesn’t care about this life, being convinced that the real consequences of one’s actions are to be encountered only in the next. Think of the Islamic jihadists who devalue this world in favor of a forthcoming heavenly recompense.

“Remember James Watt, whose disastrous tenure as Interior Secretary under Ronald Reagan was notable for his claim that America’s natural resources don’t really need careful stewardship since, ‘I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns.’

“And,” notes Barash, “don’t forget those who welcome nuclear apocalypse because it would herald the ‘end times.'”

CLICK HERE to read Barash’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education

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