Kentucky Politicians Face Religious Inquisition

A local official and a church youth group in Kentucky have teamed up to ask all state legislators and legislative candidates whether they have “accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”

Jeff Sharp, the county attorney for Barren County, sent the question to Kentucky lawmakers and candidates for the General Assembly in late February. The Louisville Courier-Journal  reported on March 3 that 15 state legislators had responded to Sharp’s survey. All said they had indeed accepted Christ.

State Rep. Kathy Stein (D-Lexington) introduced a resolution calling on her colleagues in the House to disregard the religious questionnaire.

Stein, a member of the Americans United National Advisory Council, said the survey is an attempt to intimidate lawmakers and those seeking public office.

“This is doing what the Constitution prohibits,” Stein said, “and that is offering a religious test for public officials. That’s the long and short of it.”

Sharp told The Courier-Journal that he is surprised by the reactions to what he called “a simple little survey.” He added that he would be more likely to vote for a Christian candidate “because I feel their values would be more in tune with my values.”

As the newspaper noted, the U.S. Constitution states, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”