No it wouldn't. I could give a fuck about religion until it becomes a public policy matter, especially the way Bush has made it. One of the reasons that America, despite being one of the most culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse societies in human history, has survived and has successfully maintained (with the exception of the Civil War) a very high level of domestic tranquility even in times of economic depression, war and contentious elections is the fact that its public discourse has always been conducted on a largely secular basis. This is what makes it possible for people from dramatically different belief systems to live, work and govern themselves harmoniously. And, indeed, it is a necessary pre-condition for religious freedom itself.
To have an impact on public affairs in America, it doesn't matter what your religion is or what background you came from. The only thing that matters, in the long run, is who can best compete in the free marketplace of ideas in terms of having the most rational answers to the issues of the day.
Contrast that with the rest of the world. Depending on where you live in Ireland, for instance, it does matter very much if you are Protestant or Catholic. It very much did matter if one was Jewish in Germany in the 1930s or occupied Europe in the early 1940s - and, sickeningly, there are ominous signs that it is starting to once again matter in countries such as France. Consider the violence in Holland and the murder of playwright Theo Van Gogh on grounds that he blasphemed Islam - and the inability and/or refusal of the rapidly growing Muslim population in many European countries to integrate themselves into the mainstream of those societies to the degree that Muslims in America have done so here. Consider the situation of the entire Mideast.
If you think about it, all public policy discussions ultimately boil down to one thing: how and under what circumstances should the government's monopoly of legalized force - i.e., its police powers - be used? In a free society, the actionable scope of such discussions is strictly defined and limited by the rule of law and by the country's constitution. But, nevertheless, whenever we talk about any subject that has political ramifications, one cannot get around the fact that, in the end, we are discussing the potential use of force against some person or persons - and that is a very serious matter. The danger of introducing things like faith and emotion into such discussions is the simple fact that reason, facts and logic are the only objective means of settling disputes amongst men. Why are religious wars so bitter and bloody? Precisely because there is no way to reconcile diametrically opposed faiths. If people of opposing religions refuse to check their faith at the door and find some sort of secular basis of common ground, when push comes to shove, their only recourse is to MAKE the other side conform to their faith - i.e. to engage in violence. In other words, the only proper basis for finding common ground in matters of public affairs is Sgt. Friday's old line from Dragnet: "Just the facts, ma'am." For that reason, I consider matters of faith and theology to be off-topic in any discussion or debate of public policy where the participants are from a potentially diverse religious or philosophical background - and when others do bring it up, the best course of action is to refuse to participate (or take the issue to a more appropriate venue).
George W Bush quotes:
God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.?-- George W Bush, according to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, from minutes acquired by Haaretz from cease-fire negotiations between Abbas and faction leaders from the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular and Democratic Fronts (circa June, 2003), quoted from Arnon Regular, "'Road map is a life saver for us,' PM Abbas tells Hamas" (Haaretz.com:June 27, 2003)
To date, we've arrested or otherwise dealt with many key commanders of al Qaeda.... All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies. [Applause.]?-- George W Bush, admitting to having ordered disappearances, kidnappings, torture, assassinations, summary executions, and murders of untried people, in his State of the Union Address (February 4, 2003)
This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.?-- George W Bush, using a loaded term that recalls the Christians' Medieval wars against Muslims in the so-called Holy Land, after stepping off the presidential helicopter on Sunday, September 16, 2001, quoted from Jonathan Lyons, "Bush enters Mideast's rhetorical minefield " (Reuters: September 21, 2001). Bush later apologized for this remark.