Twenty-One Words By Charles T. Buntin, US Air Force, Retired B.A., M.S., M.A.R National Board Certified Teacher of History I often send Bible lesson notes out to a small group of people, and these notes are always based on a Bible text or passage. However, the text for this written message is an unusual one, because this text is not from the Bible, and this set of notes is not about a religious topic. Our text is, in fact, totally secular, found in one of the most revolutionary paragraphs of a very revolutionary document, The Constitution of the United States. In Article VI, , we read the following: “…3. The senators and representatives before-mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States….” The American Left, in its frenzy to destroy Sarah Palin and brand her some kind of religious kook, has made Sarah Palin's faith into an avenue of attack against her qualifications to be Vice President of the United States. The "All Things Considered" program on I heard the other day on National Public Radio, and CNN's Anderson Cooper, and others in the liberal media have attacked with glee the idea that Sarah Palin depends on prayer, that she believes in the power of prayer, that she believes in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, that she believes the Bible, and that she seeks God's guidance and leadership in her life. The "two left coasts" of our media, (and some in the Middle, like the Atlanta Constitution) treat this knowledge of Governor Palin's faith as if they had discovered illegal drugs in her stuffed moose head from the office! Horrors! How dare any intelligent and educated person depend on God and wait for His guidance! How dare a potential Vice President of the United States believe in the power of prayer! This is dangerous—the next thing you know, there will be a Bible on the desk in the Oval Office! This is how they are acting about all of this. To put it in a most distinguished and scholarly way, what a crock of smelly stuff! There is a term for this set of activities by the left media: religious persecution! This bald-faced persecution of Governor Palin is a drastic mistake by the liberal left, because Sarah Palin is FAR from alone. In her faith in a living Christ Who guides us by the Word and Spirit, she is not alone, and as any evangelical knows, you don't have to be Pentecostal to believe these things—all Bible-believing Christians, in varying degrees, believe this way, evangelical and mainline, Protestant and Catholic, Baptist and others. And in small town America, requests for prayer are taken quite seriously, and they cross all party and denominational lines. This writer is one Southern Baptist who has seen prayer work many times! So, what of our secular text for this set of study notes? This text, written in 1787 by a group of real geniuses is the basis for our freedom; this short document has been used by God's Providence to provide a growing wealth of liberty for all. The first, and longest part of this text is this: “…The senators and representatives before-mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution …” Whose who hold office in this great land, including not only political office holders the military, the police, and firefighters, are required to swear allegiance to the Constitution, of which this is a part. Imagine that! Dictators and emperors, kings and queens, from ancient times through today, require that all of their minions swear an oath to them; that is not so here. When this writer, at the tender age of 19, was sworn into the US Air Force, it began a happy association that continues and has continued into retirement. When I was inducted, then again when re-enlisted, then again when I earned my commission, and again when made a Regular Officer—in each case, I swore an oath. I swore allegiance to a thin document in parchment, a pamphlet, a tract, a brief statement of the principles of governing a free people. My loyalty was not and is not to my colonel, my generals, or even out Commander In Chief—my loyalty is to a set of ideas written on wrinkled lambskin with a quill pen. As I have sworn many times, so has Sarah Palin several times—and her record is that she has maintained loyalty to her town, and her state, and to the oaths she undertook. Those who know her best have said that after she seeks God's guidance, she then looks for a solution for all Alaskans. What could possibly be wrong with that? What kind of rude and arrogant mind would assume that, having sworn and kept an oath as Mayor of Wasilla and Governor of Alaska, that Sarah would violate that oath as Vice President or President. Only a mind twisted by bias, hatred, and party spirit could be so blind—and that is where too many in our news media live. Sarah Palin has made and kept faithfully, the oaths required of office holders under our constitution. So much for the first half of our text. The second part of our secular text is this:: "…but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States…" My Scots Presbyterian ancestors could not legally meet for worship under the Kings of England, and they, along with Baptists, Quakers, and anyone whose religious opinions differed with the Crown, were excluded from attending college and holding any office at all. This was the religious test of the Anglican establishment that our forefathers and foremothers faced, and they were not alone. Until religious freedom was written here and then locked in decisively in the First Amendment's "free exercise" clause, any dissenter from the religion of their secular ruler anywhere in the world faced the same wall. The Jews who came to Rhode Island and other places, the gentle Mennonites and Quakers of Pennsylvania, the Baptists of Rhode Island, and others, were set free politically by the 21 words above, to be able to believe what they willed, and yet be a full and equal partner in this great experiment of government. The religious beliefs of an American are sacred to their God, and in a strange secular way, the religious beliefs (or non-belief) are sacred to our political system. The left-wing media in the United States has minimized and attempted to keep a good distance from Senator Obama's Muslim relatives and Muslim background, and so they should, for 21 words tell us that there can be no religious test. One would think that they would give Governor Palin the same courtesy, since it is her right, by the sixth article of the Constitution of the United States, to practice her religion without any religious test making her unqualified for any public office. Twenty-one words have made matters of conscience to not be the matter of the state; let's adhere to them. And, given the wild and wooly shape of the world in which we live, what's wrong with a request for divine intervention?