Istook’s Insights: No religious test, a divided nation, the biggest loser in the debates

Is it proper to say no Muslim could become president of the United States?

Our Constitution makes it clear in Article 6: There can be no religious test for any public office anywhere in the United States.

John F Kennedy was our first and only Catholic President; Mitt Romney would have been the first Mormon. All Presidents have professed to be Christians.

In Congress, professed Christians are 92%, including 30% Catholic. 5% are Jewish; there are 2 each of Muslims and Buddhists. A handful of lawmakers just won’t say, but none of the current Congress is openly atheist.

Voters are free to choose or reject someone because of their faith, but it’s not a qualification for holding office.

The most remarkable religious pattern in Washington is among people never elected. On the Supreme Court, we have 6 Catholic justices and 3 are Jewish. That’s it. And they almost always come from elitist law schools.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s presidency has divided America.

Washington is changing society so much that half the country feels threatened.

The Gallup Poll reports that 49% of us now believe the federal government is an immediate threat to our rights and freedoms. The biggest gripe is that government is too big and tries to control every aspect of life. But another 49% disagree.

That’s pretty close to the percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes, and those who don’t. It’s pretty near a 50-50 split.

Another divide is that race relations have gotten worse. We even hear claims that enforcing local laws is unfair to minorities. National law enforcement already is breaking down, with cronyism in Washington that punishes political enemies while giving a pass to political supporters, who also get cash from federal giveaways.

If we don’t fix them, these splits could become a total breakdown of American society.

As the election progresses, the biggest loser in Presidential debates is the Washington establishment.

National media and Washington insiders don’t want to talk about abortion or the half-billion dollars Planned Parenthood gets from government each year. They don’t want to discuss how illegal immigration suppresses the wages of American workers. But Congress got dragged into these because outsider candidates and fed-up citizens insist that something be done.

But they have not slowed down President Obama’s aggressive push to re-shape the nation, changing not only government but also changing our culture.

Watch for a new showdown with the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He insists that putting women in ground combat roles will weaken the Marines. But other generals, appointed by Obama, say they’ll do as the President wants and add women and transgenders to combat units.

It’s another issue Congress would like to dodge — but may be forced to get involved.