Religious Test?

Regarding the recent Capitol Letters “Fundamental Values” column.

Although the U.S. Constitution itself, in Article VI, clearly states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,” The Independent published a religious-test attack article on Hal Conklin that comes from its own place of prejudice and dogma.

A highly intelligent man and seasoned politician who is running for Santa Barbara mayor, Hal Conklin can take care of himself.

I’m very concerned, though, that some in our community reading this article might think it is acceptable — even admirable — to think and write in this way. Can you imagine The Independent publishing a similar hit piece about a Muslim candidate’s religious beliefs?

I’m also concerned that in their zeal to persecute Conklin, they also took a shot at a wonderful local church, where some of the most devout and loving members of our community congregate, worship, and plan events for the betterment of Santa Barbara.

Jerry Roberts’s Reply

For the record, it was Conklin who introduced the issue of religion into the campaign, hyping his endorsement by several dozen ministers in a news release that stated he would, as mayor, create an environment of “spiritual values.” My follow up reporting was an attempt to understand and write about what those values might be.

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