"Federal authorities on Thursday opened a criminal investigation into who wrote e-mails that warned private citizens of a possible terror threat to New York City subways days in advance of a city government decision to issue a public alert last week. News of the probe followed a report Thursday in the New York Daily News that a 'select crowd of business and arts executives' received e-mails tipping them off to a potential threat days before most New Yorkers heard about it from local officials." [NBC News | Oct. 13, 2005]
The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level, Ridge now says.
"Article VI of the Constitution states that 'No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.' As the New York Sun pointed out recently, it is the single most absolutist and emphatic sentence in the entire Constitution. For those who would say that just because President Bush considered Miers’ religion in nominating her, that doesn’t necessarily mean he was imposing any kind of 'religious test,' I would implore you to think of it this way: if part of the reason the President nominated Miers was her religion, then that necessitates the fact that part of the reason other prospects were not nominated was because they did not have the same 'quality' of religion that Harriet Miers did. Thus, they were subjected to a religious test by the President in considering them for an appointment to the Supreme Court. This is grossly unconstitutional, and if it is allowed to stand, it will be a tacit admission that the 'Religious Test' clause has become outdated and inoperable, and we will be one major step closer to theocracy." [source]
"Religious test" as used in Article VI refers to a specific institution from seventeenth-century England: the Test Acts, which were designed to keep Catholics out of office by requiring all officeholders to take communion according to the rites of the Church of England, and to swear that they did not believe in transubstantiation.
Certainly the principle of "no religious test" suggests the extreme impropriety of using denominational membership as a screening mechanism or a talking point, but doing so isn't imposing a "religious test" in the Constitutional sense of that term.
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