Bob Novak, Constitutional scholar

Part two of the very intermittent series: columnists say false things about the Constitution. Via Amy Sullivan, Robert Novak thinks that:
The U.S. Constitution prohibits a religious test for public office, but that is precisely what is being posed now. Prominent, respectable Evangelical Christians have told me, not for quotation, that millions of their co-religionists cannot and will not vote for Romney for president solely because he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Romney is well aware that an unconstitutional religious test is being applied to him, but he may be seriously minimizing the problem's scope as limited to relatively few fanatics. He feels the vast majority of conservative voters worried about his faith will flinch at the prospect of another Clinton in the White House.
It is of course true that Article VI of the U.S. Constitution says, "[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." But the idea that this (or anything in the seven articles and majority of the amendments) is a limitation on the people, as opposed to the government or other actors exercising state power, is simply madness. That part of Article VI forbids the government from preventing someone from taking office because of their religion, or (this amounts to the same thing) making them take an oath expressing their belief in a particular religious faith. This is particularly clear if you contrast it with the state practice at the time, where eleven states did apply a religious test as a qualification for office, nine of them in their state constitution.

Despite the fact that almost nothing in the constitution directly limits the choices of the people, and that this clause doesn't even on its face purport to, Novak thinks that voters who refuse to vote for Romney because he's a Mormon are themselves doing "precisely" what the amendment prohibits and are behaving "unconstitutionally." Now of course I agree that with Novak that it's a bad idea and contrary to the best parts of American practice to let someone's belief about whether or which God exists effect your decision on whether or not to vote for them, but the idea that it's unconstitutional, that is, illegal, is absurd. Also I wonder if Novak has made the same point in the past when voters were applying a "religious test" to the disfavor of Democratic candidates.