Although it is triple-marinated in insufferable anti-religious contempt, Christopher Hitchens' Slate piece on the right of people to consider religious views when judging candidates is nonetheless correct on the constitutional question:
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).
He reminds us, though, that:
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.
Like I said, chock-full of anti-religious poison, but on the facts of Article VI, he's right. I have the right to consider someone's faith (Or lack of faith) when judging a candidate, and be quite vocal about doing so. Just because the government cannot impose a religious test, that doesn't mean the people can't. Contra Dennis Prager, Keith Ellison had every right to swear on the Koran, but voters do have the right to consider his adherence to that book when voting for him. Many will consider Romney's Mormonism, or Rudy's Catholicism. Hitchens will doubtless ask himself "does this candidate hate God as much as I do, and is he as self-absorbed and arrogant about it as I am?"
The wisdom of such considerations depends on your perspective, but let me add my view: I'm a Christian. Huckabee's faith isn't a problem for me (although he is a socon Republican, so I have issues with many of his policies). My problems with Romney have nothing to do with his Mormon faith, although there are questions he will have to face.
Back to Huckabee for a moment, while I totally understand the concern of improperly mixing religious and politics, I don't see what the big fuss is about on Huckabee's new Christmas ad, with the "floating bookshelf cross" in the background. It's a Christmas ad, and Huckabee has never hid his Christian faith. I'm not naive enough to think that he didn't know it was there, or at the very least the camera guy didn't know or plan it), I just don't see the big deal.
Before anyone asks, I'm not stumping for Huckabee. Being that he's a pretty conservative guy, chances are I'm not going to vote for him, but he seems like a decent man, and the pile on is getting silly.
There is a thought that I'm planning to expand on, about a possible anti-Huckabee conspiracy coming from the right, masking as a critique of hypersecularism, but that comes later.
HT: Althouse and Stubborn Facts