SMART-SOUNDING GUY ASKS REALLY DUMB QUESTIONS
John McCain said recently that voters, in choosing a president, should ask, "Will this person carry on in the Judeo Christian principled tradition that has made this nation the greatest experiment in the history of mankind?" When he was criticized for this, he backtracked and said he "would vote for a Muslim if he or she was the candidate best able to lead the country and defend our political values."
William F. Buckley tells us today that he admired the first statement, but he isn't wild about the second. He harrumphs, then asks a dumb question:
[McCain] resorted to the First Amendment parachute, which is that Congress shall make no law establishing religion, nor denying to anyone the free practice thereof....
Surely qualifications need to be placed on such effusions of equality. Would it violate the First Amendment for a state to ordain that any Muslim running for public office would have to endorse votes for women?
Er, no, Bill, it wouldn't violate the First Anendment.
See, Bill, last time I looked, women had a constitutionally protected right to vote. We require officeholders to uphold our laws and support our Constitution. (See, e.g., the U.S. Senate's oath of office and the oath of office for McCain's home state.) Nobody claims that this violates the First Amendment.
And as for your follow-up question, "Would [a Muslim office-seeker] have to abjure the commandment that any Muslim defector be executed?," the answer is yes, because that would be considered murder anywhere in America.
And by the way, Bill, if you're worried about rogue elements in our society who don't believe women should vote and who believe in enforcing religious homogeneity on pain of death, you might want to look not at Muslims who want to run for office, but at a woman named Coulter, who used to work for you.