Is America ready for a non-Christian president?

Story highlights

  • Sreedhar Potarazu: Choosing a president who isn't Christian would send powerful message
  • Nations such as India have broken barriers of this kind, he writes

Sreedhar Potarazu, an ophthalmologist and entrepreneur, is the founder of Enziime, a software company focused on providing data science applications to assess health care delivery. He is the author of "Get Off the Dime: The Secret of Changing Who Pays for Your Health Care." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)In 2008, our nation broke through a barrier, electing an African-American to be president of the United States.

In 2016, another barrier may very well be broken. All polls indicate that a woman or a Latino has a very good chance of being elected to be our 45th president.
But there is another barrier -- an important one in the eyes of the world -- that is almost certain not to be smashed. Barring an unprecedented political upheaval, the next president of the United States will be a Christian, just like virtually all of his (or her) predecessors. The only exceptions may have been Thomas Jefferson, who abandoned orthodox Christianity, and Abraham Lincoln, who often spoke of God and frequently quoted the Bible, but who never joined a church.
    There are more than 300 million people in the United States, and 70.6 percent of them self-identify as Christians. But that percentage dropped dramatically -- by 7.8 percentage points -- over the course of seven years, and there now are roughly 100 million non-Christians living in the United States.
    It's another symbol of the changing face of our country, but it has yet to be reflected at the top level of American politics. Will the United States elect a president who is not a Christian?

    Few non-Christians have run for president

    A Jewish Democrat, Joe Lieberman, and a Jewish Republican, Arlen Specter, have run for president, but neither succeeded in winning hi