Should the Church Say Amen?

“Should the Church Say Amen?” is a new addition to the Presbyterian Communicators Network e-newsletter.  The word “Amen” is familiar to us all.  It means “so be it” and is applied as a confirmation or endorsement of what God says. This column takes a look at current news stories that impact the church and our Christian values and poses the question—do we, the church, want to add an “Amen” to an expressed viewpoint or position on a certain topic?  We invite you to join the conversations around this column using #PCUSAcomm on social media.  And if you have a burning issue that raises the question “Should the church say Amen?” to that, we encourage you to submit an article to be published in this newsletter on the website and social media.

This month we ask the question, “Should a candidate’s religious affiliation impact their right to become president of the United States?”

’Tis the season for all things political. The Republican Party has a field of more than a dozen individuals vying to become the party’s nominee for the 2016 presidential race. All of these individuals say they have the knowledge and expertise to make this country “work.” One of the candidates is Benjamin Carson, aretired neurosurgeon who served as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital for 29 years.

In a recent Meet the Press interview, Chuck Todd, show moderator and political director for NBC News, asked Carson, “Should a president’s faith matter [to voters]?” Carson replied, “I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem.” Todd went on to ask whether Carson believes that Islam is consistent with the Constitution. Carson said: “No, I don’t—I do not.” He further stated, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

On the matter of the presidency, the Constitution says: “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.” It does not mention religious affiliation.

Disregard whether you’re a registered Republican, Democrat or an independent. If a person meets all of the qualifications as described in this country’s Constitution to be president of the United States of America, should their religious affiliation have an impact on their right to hold that office? And what should the church say “Amen” to concerning this issue? Join the conversation at #PCUSAcomm.