Would you refuse to vote for a candidate based solely on his/her religion?

A new poll shows that while most Americans would not refuse to vote for a Jewish or Catholic candidate based solely on his/her Judaism/Catholicism, many still would never under any circumstances vote for a Muslim or a Mormon.

For my part, I believe that the sooner evangelical Protestantism dies out in America, the better off we shall be and the better off the world as a whole shall be. (I’m not holding my breath.) But I might well vote for an evangelical candidate, or not, depending on what effect his/her religion has on his/her politics. Jimmy Carter, for instance, was well worth voting for.

What do you think?

I think it might affect my decision (possibly in either direction) if the candidate was making a campaign issue out of his/her religion.

Having seen the bigotry and intolerance expressed when John Kennedy ran in 1960, I’m inclined to say no.

But I have to ask, is Scientology considered a religion?

But, that was in 1960. Nowadays, the important division in America is not between Catholics and Protestants but between those who are deeply and traditionally religious and those who are not. Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan are allies now, strange though it may seem.

Yes. By its friends and by its enemies!

Well, with that clarification, yes, yes I would. I would never knowingly vote for a Scientologist for anything short of [del]a firing squad[/del] garbage collector.

My thoughts exactly- unless the Religion is question was an obviously uh, “unorthodox” one- like, say, Scientology or the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There’s no way I’d vote for someone who was openly a JW/Scientologist/Mormon/Other Fundmentalist Religion (of any Faith), as I’d have grave concerns that their overall judgement (and ability to hold political office) might be compromised by their religion.

I’d have no problem at all voting for a moderate Muslim or a Jew/Buddhist/Hindu/Sikh, however, as long as their policies and political platform were sound- just like any other political candidiate.

I think that’s why Lisa Marie Presley’s marriage to Michael Jackson didn’t work out. Michael just cannot handle weirdness!

I would vote for a Muslim or a Jewish candidate, but only if he/she made me believe that they could still function effectively as a diplomat in the Middle East: any candidate who blew off the issue or claimed that their religion had no bearing on their public life would seem too idealistic. I would want them to be very, very knowledgeable about the Middle East and be able to speak intelligently about how their religion would be percieved by various parties and how they would mitigate any negaitive effects it would have.

Well, that pretty much rules out masturbation for him, then.

And in response to the OP, the only time a candidate’s religion would dissuade me from voting for him or her would be if I was convinced that they would pursue the agenda of that religion against the will, rights and interests of their constituency - even a minority of them.

Born-again Christian? Fine.
Born-again Christian who want ID taught in schools? Seeya.

Muslim? No prob.
Muslim who wants non-Muslim women to have to cover their bodies in public? Nope.

I could go on.

As long as the candidate can guarantee to keep their religion private and have it NOT affect their administrative duties, i couldn’t care less who/how the candidate worships, be it Christianity, Judeaism, Buhhdism, Islam, The Almighty Og, Cthulu, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Holy Burrito, etc…

truth be told, i’d be happier with an athiest, no “voices in their heads” or invisible sky pixies telling them what to do…

I’m reminded of a bit from one of George Carlin’s albums, where George is playing a political candidate (going from memory):

INTERVIEWER: Do you think your religion will be a problem?

GEORGE: Yeah. I think bigotry is going to be an important consideration. Bigotry and fear.

INTERVIEWER: So what are you going to do about it?

GEORGE: The only thing I can do, Bob. I’ve renounced my religion.


GEORGE: Yeah. Let’s face it, the Rosicrucians ain’t gonna miss me! I never went to the meetings, I didn’t order the candles . . . I just answered the ad in a dirty magazine!

Atheist weighing in.

Scientology is the only deal-breaker that comes to mind.

I would definitely rule a candidate out based on religious beliefs. As the OP notes, Jimmy Carter is an evangelical Christian. So is Fred Phelps. The devil is in the details.

Beyond that, it’s a matter of percentages: I’m pro-abortion rights, so if I hear that a candidate identifies him/herself as Roman Catholic, I will assume that he/she differs with me on abortion rights more so than I would if the candidate were Jewish, agnostic or Sub-Genius. (But find more facts before making up my mind).

:confused: Did you inadvertently leave the word “not” out of the first sentence there?

As an atheist in rabidly Christian America, I’ve always had to vote for people whose religious views I disagree with, and I likely always will. Therefore, when it comes to the religion of candidates, I have 2 questions; which is the least crazy, and is he likely to push it on the rest of us. If I had to choose between a moderate Catholic and a rapture-raving guy who wants to destroy the world so Jesus will come and he’ll get sucked into Heaven, I’d vote for the Catholic, obviously. I’d actually choose a Scientologist over most religions because of factor number 2; since it’s both a minority relgion and regarded as crazy, the odds of him successfully getting the government to, say, require e-meters in all classrooms to be very low.

Just a few days ago, I got an e-mail from my parents. Actually, they’d forwarded one to me. It’s the one about “Why we fight wars” and taking a bunch of quotes from Patton. It also has quite a lot of offensive comments about Islam along with offensive pictures.

Now, normally my parents don’t buy into that kind of garbage, but for the last few years, whenever it’s been anything to do with the Extreme Religious Right, they discard their thinking hats (more like they catapult them into outer space).

The Big Thing[sup]tm[/sup] in that e-mail is “There are millions of Muslims among us!” Of course, there’s not a word about the Muslims who are honorably serving in the military; not a word about the Muslims who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks; not a word about the many Muslims who are outraged at the terrorists.

That’s what the issue of a candidate’s religion is like right now–especially if that candidate follows a religion that many consider a “cult.” There are too many who will make an issue out of the candidate’s religion instead of focusing on the actual campaign.


The distinction is between their personal beliefs and the set of beliefs espoused by their declared religion.

If they declare their affiliation to a faith that states that abortion is murder, they get the once over. (E.g., I voted for John Kerry).

If they declare repeatedly on the record that abortion is murder, and that doctors who perform abortions should be tried for murder, they likely get ruled out.

I don’t mean to single out abortion. The same process applies to many issues. If you believe that guns (or the military, or alcohol, or Playboy) are evil; that the rights of infidels (gays, atheists, Jews, Muslims) are to be curtailed, you probably aren’t getting my vote.

I realize that a whole nother issue is the ability to separate oneself from one’s beliefs. More than I feel like getting into right now.

Monty, when I served this year in Iraq, one of my best friends was a devout Mormon who opened up this atheist’s eyes to how often the LDS church gets unfairly branded a cult.


Atheist, here.

A candidate who makes a public show of his/her religion in an obvious attempt to curry political favour doesn’t get my vote. Fortunately, that’s rather rare in Canada. If I was American, though, my policy would turn me into a nonvoter, I expect.

I wouldn’t reject them for being religious per se, but if I found their religious beliefs too extreme, I’d be disinclined to vote in their favor. Thing is, extremist religion and a boatload of other issues I find distasteful are so often associated, it’s hard to imagine a candidate who I would vote for purely on the issues who happened to be, say, a rabid Christian fundamentalist, or a Scientologist. I mean, I can speak of the pro-choice fundie hypothetically, but how likely is it I’m going to have the opportunity to vote for one?