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Jacques Berlinerblau Jacques Berlinerblau is an Associate Professor and Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at the School of Foreign Service. Berlinerblau has published on a wide variety of issues ranging...

A collaboration with Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive's On Faith site, The God Vote explores the role of faith in this year's election. It is featured here as well as on Georgetown/On Faith.


Why Does Santorum Despise the Separation of Church and State?

February 17, 2012

Obama’s Prayer Breakfast and the Still Small Voice of the Religious Left

February 3, 2012

Religion at the GOP Debate

January 8, 2012

Top 10 Religion and Politics Stories to Watch

December 30, 2011

How to Make Atheism Matter

December 19, 2011

Faith and Values at the Republican Presidential Debate

December 16, 2011

Why the Mississippi Personhood Amendment Self-Imploded

November 9, 2011

Rick Santorum Makes Faith Pitch at GOP Debate

October 19, 2011

For Sarah Palin: God, Family, then Country?

October 7, 2011

Where Does Church End and State Begin?

October 5, 2011

Bloomberg Takes Stand on Church v. State

September 12, 2011

Rick Perry and Rest of GOP Field Get No Values Questions at Debate

September 8, 2011

Rick Perry and the Jewish Vote

August 25, 2011

Faith Up for Debate

August 12, 2011

Piety is the Policy at Rick Perry’s Prayer Rally

August 8, 2011

Religion and Politics After bin Laden

May 3, 2011

Christians in the Middle East: A Minority Victim of the ‘Arab Spring’?

April 29, 2011

>> more


Thomas Jefferson on Religious Freedom in Notes on Virginia


Time for the 28th Amendment

March 27, 2008

Although I had initially conjured up the idea only to reject it as undemocratic, perhaps it is high time that we as a nation, believers and nonbelievers alike, consider the establishment of the 28th Amendment. Its majestic words would read as follows:

Section 1. The right of presidential aspirants to discuss religion, invoke sacred texts, or mention God on the campaign trail is hereby repealed

Section 2. Whenever a religious figure endorses any candidate for the presidency that candidate must reject aforesaid endorsement.

Section 3. The Congress shall have power to have the offending religious figure immediately deported to France

My proposal is only partly prompted by the widely discussed remarks of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Rather, I am hankering for constitutional change mostly on account of the infelicities of Senator McCain’s recent Evangelical champions.

While the comments of John Hagee and Rod Parsley have received less attention than those of Wright, they pose--and here I come to the first talking point for my amendment--a substantial threat to America’s tradition of inter-religious tranquility.

Reverend Wright’s unfortunate observations did damage mostly to Senator Obama’s presidential hopes. But those of McCain’s endorsers risk disturbing the national peace. The musings of Pastor Hagee evoke the specter of Old World Catholic/Protestant antagonisms that the Framers steadfastly sought to escape. Rod Parsley’s criticisms of Islam raise possibilities of hostility towards religious minorities that Americans have, for the most part, historically avoided.

I wonder if a few supporters of McCain and Obama might be coming around to my position. For the truth of the matter is that Faith and Values politicking has actually imperiled their candidates’ prospects. Reverend Wright’s heavy rotation on YouTube assures that the Senator from Illinois must now exert twice as much effort to secure the middle-class white votes he desperately needs to capture his party’s nomination and a general election.

His colleague from Arizona now has a potential problem with Catholics--the largest religious denomination in the United States. He never had one before. For this he has Pastor Hagee to thank.

This brings me to a final point: the unofficial insistence that all candidates for high office pay lip service to God and faith is depriving us of many skilled leaders. Simply put, there are many qualified politicians out there who do not want to inject religion into their campaigns. Some are nonbelievers, but the majority, I would venture, are believers who feel profoundly uncomfortable emoting about religion in public, or dragooning God into the service of their national campaigns.

My proposal is, of course, a tad facetious. Yet I think we should seriously consider that the relentless infusion of religion into the 2008 campaign poses dangers to the religious liberties that the Founders sought to secure, if not the integrity of our political process.