Veterans Urge Candidates to Stop Using Religious Test

Posted Oct 30, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version Bookmark and Share


Washington, DC - Two national military and veterans organizations
denounced a controversial negative television advertisement airing in
North Carolina because it creates an unconstitutional “religious test”
for candidates.

Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) and the Military Religious Freedom
Foundation (MRFF) called on all candidates to issue an immediate “cease fire” on negative ads using and/or exploiting religion.

The television ad, aired by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole’s campaign
against State Senator Kay Hagan, can be viewed at this link:

In Article VI, Section 3 of our Constitution, our Nation’s founders specifically required that there be “no religious test” for public office.

VCS and MRFF are outraged that U.S. Senator Dole, who swore an oath to
protect our Constitution, invoked a clearly prohibited, unconstitutional religious test. We are also disappointed that State Senator Hagen did not denounce Sen. Dole’s ad on Constitutional grounds.

In 1985, Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, a World War
II veteran, wrote in the Wallace v. Jaffree decision that, “the Court
has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience
protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any
religious faith or none at all.”

According to a recent poll, Americans have a history of discrimination
against atheists:

There are both religious and non-religious Americans in our military who honorably defend our Constitution which protects our guaranteed religious liberties. A religious test for political office has absolutely no place in election politics. Again, we ask all candidates to issue an immediate “cease fire” and refrain from using odious unconstitutional religious tests while campaigning.

Mikey Weinstein, President and Founder, Military Religious Freedom Foundation,

Paul Sullivan, Executive Director, Veterans for Common Sense,