In Our Constitutional Democracy, One’s Religious Faith or Lack of One Should Not Be a Litmus Test for Political Candidates
By Lee Enochs
So Austin Petersen is an atheist. To this I say, who cares? This is 2016 and I would like to argue that his lack of religious faith is irrelevant to me and I did not endorse Petersen yesterday because I believe he would be the best pastor in America, but the best Libertarian candidate running for President.
While I am a devout Christian, I am not a social conservative in the tradition of Mike Huckabee and Jerry Falwell. I have no agenda to “Christianize” America and believe the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights is very clear that one’s religious beliefs or lack of religious faith should both be protected under law.
The First Amendment is very clear on this matter;
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
As a strict Constitutionist, I take the First Amendment seriously and one’s religious beliefs and political views should not be abridged whatsoever.
I endored Austin Petersen yesterday because I believe that he is the best Libertarian candidate running for President and I concur with a great many of his political views on Liberty.
While it may seem strange to some that a seminary trained Evangelical Christian would endorse an atheist political candidate, I do not see it that way.
There are many professing Christians running for President or involved in politics today (A la Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama) that hold political views that are entirely antithetical to my political worldview.
In the same way that I want to be fair an equitable in all my business dealings, I want to be fair to Austin Petersen and do not believe his atheism should be a determining factor in my support of his political candidacy.
For example, if I owned a business and was hiring people, I would not discriminate against a prospective employee on the basis of his or her religious faith. I would try to hire the best person for the job and leave their religious views out of it,
Similarly, if I needed open heart surgery, I would go to the best cardiac surgeon and would not care if they had the same faith as I do.
Again, Mike Huckabee and I share the same religious faith and both attended the same seminary down in Texas, but there is no way I would vote for Huckabee due to his record on spending while governor of Arkansas.
I simply endorsed Austin Petersen in his race for the nomination of the Libertarian Party because I think his views on politics are the best. Any supporter of Liberty, minimal government and maximum freedom is a friend of mine.
This does not mean I have jettisoned my Christian faith and mandate to spread the Gospel of Christ to this world. If Austin Petersen or any atheist was applying to be the pastor of my church, I would be the first one to discourage it.
I think Austin Petersen is a gifted politician with views that are very similar to mine in the realm of politics, if granted the opportunity one day, I would like to discuss my faith in Christ with him, if I earn that right.
I still endorse Austin Petersen for the Presidential nomination for the Libertarian Party, atheism or not.