Reading Time: 2 minutes

Greg Lopez, a Colorado politician hoping to unseat Democratic incumbent Gov. Jared Polis this November, said in a Republican primary debate over the weekend that he would have a No-Jews, No-Muslims, No-Atheists policy when it comes to selecting his potential Lt. Governor. He would only consider other Christians.

Choosing your lieutenant governor is one of the most serious decisions that a governor makes out of the chute—a candidate. So I’m looking for someone that not only believes in my Lord and Savior the way I do, but also that… should something happen to me—because, really, that’s why you’re selecting the lieutenant governor—is that if something should happen to me, and I’m not able to fulfill my term, that they are able to carry on the agenda. The agenda that the people truly embrace.

If you ignore Lopez’s literal definition of “lieutenant governor,” which no one was questioning, the only thing of note that he said was that there were only two qualifications for a running mate: someone who agreed with his political agenda (which is fine) and being a Christian.

A Jewish person who shared his conservative views would be disqualified from serving alongside him. Same with a Muslim. Same with an atheist.

Kyle Clark, the reporter who correctly raised this concern, brought up the point that the Constitution forbids a religious test for public office and the Supreme Court has upheld that rule at the state level. Both of those are true, but neither of those is really the concern here. (Lopez isn’t saying non-Christians can’t be on the ballot.)

Lopez is doing something more pernicious, albeit legal. He’s implying that anyone who’s not a Christian isn’t qualified in his mind to run the state… even though religious beliefs shouldn’t be guiding any governor’s public policies. It’s a sign that Lopez is utterly incapable of doing the job he’s seeking because he insists on his own personal religious test for an office that shouldn’t depend on anyone’s faith.

It’s an irresponsible statement from a man who’s not fit to serve. And it comes from someone who also wants to eliminate the one-person, one-vote system by instituting a statewide “electoral college” that would dilute the votes of the state’s largest cities.

The problem isn’t that Lopez is Christian. It’s that he wrongly thinks being Christian makes someone better qualified to lead the state. It’s an embarrassing belief in a party full of embarrassing beliefs.

He can’t win in a democracy. No wonder he fantasizes about a theocracy.

The GOP primary election between Lopez and Heidi Ganahl is scheduled for June 28. You would think this Christian supremacy statement would make for an easy slam dunk ad (or tweet) for Ganahl, but there’s no sign of her denouncing it in any way. Probably because she’s relying on the same base of religious extremists.

Hemant Mehta is the founder of FriendlyAtheist.com, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.