Is religion in America protected by enshrining in the Constitution one view of God's word?
"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that's what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than trying to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family."
- Mike Huckabee, January 14, 2008 (video)
The Faith in Public Life blog, Blogging Faith, notes that about the time "more than two dozen Catholic, Evangelical and Mainline Protestant leaders issued a statement asking candidates to respect religion's proper role in public life. The statement, Keeping Faith: Principles to Protect Religion on the Campaign Trail (PDF), released by Faith in Public Life and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, expresses concern about divisive rhetoric and identifies three basic principles to protect religion in public life."
Those three principles:
* No person should be expected to leave their faith at the door when operating in the public square. But it is inappropriate to use religious or doctrinal differences to marginalize or disparage candidates, by either comparison or assertion. No religious test may be applied to candidates for public office - not by the law, not by candidates, not by campaigns.
*Candidates for public office should welcome the contributions that religion brings to society. But just as government may not endorse or favor a religious faith, candidates for public office are obliged, in their official capacity, to acknowledge that no faith can lay exclusive claim to the moral values that enrich our public life.
*Just as government policies must be in service to the nation and not to any religious faith, the same holds true for candidates' positions on policies. While it is appropriate for candidates to connect their faith to their policy positions, their positions on policy must respect all citizens regardless of religious belief.
Addendum: The Christian Science Monitor reports 'Only a slim majority (56 percent) of Americans said in a 2007 survey that freedom of worship should extend to people of all religious groups, no matter what their beliefs (down 16 points, from 72 percent in 2000).'