By Zachary Conatser–

What makes a president effective? Is it the hair? No. Charming smile and easy eyes? No. The way they move and carry themselves, or even the clothes they wear? No, of course not.

What about religion? Does each president have to be Christian? Having a religious affiliation isn’t a requirement to become president, and a president doesn’t have to worship any particular God in order to be effective. So why all the pressure to be affiliated to something the masses prefer? Bernie Sanders may just be the one to finally break through that boundary.

Sanders said he’s culturally Jewish, that he grew up Jewish, yet he doesn’t consider himself affiliated with any organized religion. Influenced by horrors committed by the Nazis in World War Two against Jewish people, political action and duty grabbed hold of the reins on Sanders’ life, and hasn’t let go.

“I believe that Bernie has the right not to identify with any organized religion because everyone has their freedom of religion,” communication major John Paul said. “It doesn’t mean he can’t lead the country.”  

So why is this such a big deal? To sane, open minded people, it’s really not. Sanders was questioned about his faith on the Jimmy Kimmel show and his answer was priceless: “I am who I am, and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about, is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people.”

Being agnostic or atheist is looked down upon and judged by some as Islam, a religion of peace. Why is that? It’s because fearing something is much easier than understanding it. If it’s one’s freedom to be Christian, than it’s another’s freedom to not practice any religion at all without being criticized for it. It seems highly unlikely for a person of the Islamic faith to ever be elected president, just for the sole purpose of being Muslim. There are even some who criticize President Barack Obama for secretly being a Muslim, even though he is a self-proclaimed Christian. Even if he was Muslim, what would be wrong with that? It wouldn’t impede on his ability to perform as our commander-in-chief, but it would definitely “offend” those who are prejudiced of any religion other than their own.

Some could foresee potential smearing campaign ads being developed by the opposition in the near future. There may even be a few red hammers and sickles, and several not so subtle comparisons to Stalin, the Communist leader who was atheist. Republican nominees are lucid enough that this crazy idea doesn’t seem so far fetched, and they’ll stop at nothing to paint a picture of something a good portion of their voters fear; a tremendously educated, religiously irrelevant, democratic socialist.

What makes a good president is the ability to take action, lead and to ensure a better America for all the people. We don’t live in a theocracy, but in a democracy, where we have a separation of church and state. The three branches of government don’t look to any god for answers on what to legislate next. Sanders will be the first to sweep one’s personal religious beliefs under the rug as a non-issue. A vote should be cast for the candidate you think is going to do the best for this country, not whichever god he or she may believe in.