In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
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16-02-2015, 10:41 AM
In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
Old news to some perhaps but I stumbled across this today...this just makes my jaw drop. I know the odds of an openly atheist political candidate getting voted into office is about ZERO, but to actually have a law in the state constitution that says it is illegal to hold office or testify in court if you are an atheist...how the fuck is this legal? it isn't on the federal level as discrimination is illegal, so how the fuck is this possible? 2015......the profound ignorance is just ....ugh

http://americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/...it-godless

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

However, these laws are still on the books and have given atheist candidates trouble in the past. Cecil Bothwell, an atheist who in 2009 won an election for a Asheville, North Carolina city council seat, was almost unseated by local critics who pointed to a provision in North Carolina’s constitution that prohibited nonbelievers from being elected. This provision of the state constitution is similar to provisions in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. The provisions follow:

Arkansas, Article 19, Section 1:
No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

Maryland, Article 37:
That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.

Mississippi, Article 14, Section 265:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

North Carolina, Article 6, Section 8
The following persons shall be disqualified for office: Any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

South Carolina, Article 17, Section 4:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.

Tennessee, Article 9, Section 2:
No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

Texas, Article 1, Section 4:
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

BlinkBlinkBlink

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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16-02-2015, 11:22 AM
RE: In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
These were all rendered unconstitutional and thus unenforceable by Torcaso v. Watkins in 1961. You may reasonably ask why then does the wording still exist in the Maryland Constitution. Nobody knows. Sentimental value?

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16-02-2015, 11:25 AM
RE: In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
(16-02-2015 11:22 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  These were all rendered unconstitutional and thus unenforceable by Torcaso v. Watkins in 1961. You may reasonably ask why then does the wording still exist in the Maryland Constitution. Nobody knows. Sentimental value?

Refusal to accept progress and fact. Thankfully the majority of lawmakers are not members of the Flat Earth Society. Can you imagine?

No person who denies the Earth is flat shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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16-02-2015, 11:34 AM
RE: In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
(16-02-2015 11:25 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Refusal to accept progress and fact.

I think it's more just the way the process works. The 18th amendment (prohibition) is still part of the constitution even though the 21st overrode it. The wording stays until you have a constitutional convention or otherwise rewrite the document from scratch. Until then, you just have the later laws invalidating sections of the earlier ones and it all stays on the books for reference but unenforceable.

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16-02-2015, 02:17 PM
RE: In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
(16-02-2015 11:25 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 11:22 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  These were all rendered unconstitutional and thus unenforceable by Torcaso v. Watkins in 1961. You may reasonably ask why then does the wording still exist in the Maryland Constitution. Nobody knows. Sentimental value?

Refusal to accept progress and fact. Thankfully the majority of lawmakers are not members of the Flat Earth Society. Can you imagine?

No person who denies the Earth is flat shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

I'm going to go with the reason all stupid and unenforceable laws (google silly laws there are tons) are still on the books. It is easier and cheaper just to leave them there than it is to change them. Especially in the case of changes to a state constitution, the amount of effort for no actual change in policy is not really worth going through.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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16-02-2015, 02:23 PM
RE: In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
(16-02-2015 10:41 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Old news to some perhaps but I stumbled across this today...this just makes my jaw drop. I know the odds of an openly atheist political candidate getting voted into office is about ZERO, but to actually have a law in the state constitution that says it is illegal to hold office or testify in court if you are an atheist...how the fuck is this legal? it isn't on the federal level as discrimination is illegal, so how the fuck is this possible? 2015......the profound ignorance is just ....ugh

http://americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/...it-godless

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

However, these laws are still on the books and have given atheist candidates trouble in the past. Cecil Bothwell, an atheist who in 2009 won an election for a Asheville, North Carolina city council seat, was almost unseated by local critics who pointed to a provision in North Carolina’s constitution that prohibited nonbelievers from being elected. This provision of the state constitution is similar to provisions in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. The provisions follow:

Arkansas, Article 19, Section 1:
No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

Maryland, Article 37:
That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.

Mississippi, Article 14, Section 265:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

North Carolina, Article 6, Section 8
The following persons shall be disqualified for office: Any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

South Carolina, Article 17, Section 4:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.

Tennessee, Article 9, Section 2:
No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

Texas, Article 1, Section 4:
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

BlinkBlinkBlink

I wonder if the second amendment counts as a supreme being here in TX. I actually see about an equal number of God bumper stickers and second amendment bumper stickers. Or maybe if you profess your love and admiration for Jerry Jones that would be good enough. Consider

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

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16-02-2015, 07:06 PM (This post was last modified: 16-02-2015 07:13 PM by RogueWarrior.)
RE: In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
There was a very recent court case of an atheist holding public office in one of those states and it was contested on the grounds of his atheism.

EDIT

Quote:[Cecil]Bothwell was elected on November 3, 2009, to the city council after he won the third highest number of votes in the city election.[6] Following the election, opponents of Bothwell, including H. K. Edgerton, a former president of the Asheville NAACP, challenged his election because the North Carolina Constitution does not allow for atheists to hold public office in the state.[2] Law experts argued the provision was invalid because the United States Constitution prevents religious tests for public office.[11] The Supreme Court of the United States held in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961) that such provisions violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.[12] Bothwell began his service with an affirmation of the oath of office.
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16-02-2015, 07:08 PM
RE: In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
(16-02-2015 07:06 PM)RogueWarrior Wrote:  There was a very recent court case of an atheist holding public office in one of those states and it was contested on the grounds of his atheism.

2015 and we seem to be going backwards...

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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16-02-2015, 07:33 PM
RE: In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
(16-02-2015 10:41 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Old news to some perhaps but I stumbled across this today...this just makes my jaw drop. I know the odds of an openly atheist political candidate getting voted into office is about ZERO, but to actually have a law in the state constitution that says it is illegal to hold office or testify in court if you are an atheist...how the fuck is this legal? it isn't on the federal level as discrimination is illegal, so how the fuck is this possible? 2015......the profound ignorance is just ....ugh

http://americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/...it-godless

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

However, these laws are still on the books and have given atheist candidates trouble in the past. Cecil Bothwell, an atheist who in 2009 won an election for a Asheville, North Carolina city council seat, was almost unseated by local critics who pointed to a provision in North Carolina’s constitution that prohibited nonbelievers from being elected. This provision of the state constitution is similar to provisions in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. The provisions follow:

Arkansas, Article 19, Section 1:
No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

Maryland, Article 37:
That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.

Mississippi, Article 14, Section 265:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

North Carolina, Article 6, Section 8
The following persons shall be disqualified for office: Any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

South Carolina, Article 17, Section 4:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.

Tennessee, Article 9, Section 2:
No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

Texas, Article 1, Section 4:
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

BlinkBlinkBlink

Why, I find great hope in these laws.
"Buck" up there GWG. In Texas, South Carolina, and Mississippi one can say the supreme being is the FSM, and there's nothing they could do. In Arkansas and Tennessee you can claim to worship Baal, Isis, Zeus, Hera, or Osiris, and you'll do fine. Thumbsup

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16-02-2015, 08:02 PM
RE: In 7 US states it is unlawful to hold public office or testify in court if atheist
(16-02-2015 07:33 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 10:41 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Old news to some perhaps but I stumbled across this today...this just makes my jaw drop. I know the odds of an openly atheist political candidate getting voted into office is about ZERO, but to actually have a law in the state constitution that says it is illegal to hold office or testify in court if you are an atheist...how the fuck is this legal? it isn't on the federal level as discrimination is illegal, so how the fuck is this possible? 2015......the profound ignorance is just ....ugh

http://americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/...it-godless

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

However, these laws are still on the books and have given atheist candidates trouble in the past. Cecil Bothwell, an atheist who in 2009 won an election for a Asheville, North Carolina city council seat, was almost unseated by local critics who pointed to a provision in North Carolina’s constitution that prohibited nonbelievers from being elected. This provision of the state constitution is similar to provisions in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. The provisions follow:

Arkansas, Article 19, Section 1:
No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

Maryland, Article 37:
That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.

Mississippi, Article 14, Section 265:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

North Carolina, Article 6, Section 8
The following persons shall be disqualified for office: Any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

South Carolina, Article 17, Section 4:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.

Tennessee, Article 9, Section 2:
No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

Texas, Article 1, Section 4:
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

BlinkBlinkBlink

Why, I find great hope in these laws.
"Buck" up there GWG. In Texas, South Carolina, and Mississippi one can say the supreme being is the FSM, and there's nothing they could do. In Arkansas and Tennessee you can claim to worship Baal, Isis, Zeus, Hera, or Osiris, and you'll do fine. Thumbsup

hehe I like the way you think Yes

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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