“no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”
Which, Romney aside, means also no profession of faith, either.
If any test-act were to be made, perhaps the least exceptionable would be one, requiring all persons appointed to office to declare, at the time of their admission, their belief in the being of a God, and in the divine authority of the scriptures. In favour of such a test, it may be said, that one who believes these great truths, will not be so likely to violate his obligations to his country, as one who disbelieves them; we may have greater confidence in his integrity. But I answer: His making such a declaration of such a belief is no security at all. For suppose him to be an unprincipled man, who believes neither the word nor the being of God; and to be governed merely by selfish motives; how easy is it for him to dissemble!
Who shall be excluded from national trusts? Whatever answer bigotry may suggest, the dictates of candor and equity, I conceive, will be, None.
Far from limiting my charity and confidence to men of my own denomination in religion, I suppose, and I believe, sir, that there are worthy characters among men of every denomination — among the Quakers, the Baptists, the Church of England, the Papists; and even among those who have no other guide, in the way to virtue and heaven, than the dictates of natural religion.
Because it is after all a pretty godless Constitution:
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandise or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
Update: PZ Myers on Romney, who links to Greg Laden. There’s a huge gap between how these natural scientists think about this and how historians do, though in the end I want separation of church and state, as they do. But dude, one of my favorite exponents of religious freedom is Roger Williams. Because honestly, what kind of God needs your silly laws?