On Wednesday night down at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Rep. Paul Ryan officially became Republican Vice-Presidential Nominee Ryan as he accepted the party’s nomination. Pundits, tweeters and commentators all have different opinions about what he said and how he said it, but one thing in particular caught my attention:
Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I’ve been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination (Thursday) is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he’s a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.
Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.
It’s as though Ryan is saying: Look, you might not know much about Romney’s faith, but take it from me: He’s one of us. You can check that box off on your list of qualities for a good President.
But here’s the catch – “religious enough” or “believes in God” or “believes the right things about God” isn’t on my top 10 list of things I look for when choosing who to vote for. And get this, the Founding Fathers agreed. Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits using religion as a qualification for any government office.
I do think religion and personal faith can be a powerful motivator to action and in my own life, my faith does inform my political beliefs.
But disagreements on policy points and even theological understanding shouldn’t mean you or I are not “religious enough” or not a good Christian (or Jew or Muslim or …). And, despite what Senator Marco Rubio said last night at the Republican Convention about belief in God being the most important American value, not belonging to a religious tradition doesn’t mean a person isn’t a good American and can’t be a moral public leader.
Instead, my list of top 10 qualifications for President includes policy positions, voting records, how they treat those around them and honesty.