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There are states where you technically canít hold public office if youíre an atheist
Washington Post ^ | 07/09/2014 | Hunter Schwarz

Posted on 07/09/2014 1:26:46 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Eight state constitutions include restrictions on people who don’t believe in a supreme being.

In Arkansas, denying the existence of God means you can’t hold civil office or testify in court, while in Tennessee there are also guidelines about belief in the hereafter.

However, the Supreme Court ruled in a 1961 case that a Maryland man appointed as a notary public didn’t have to declare his belief in a supreme being to hold office, arguing it violated his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Since then, these restrictions haven’t been enforced, said Dave Muscato, a spokesman for American Atheists.

Still, candidates for office who are openly atheist face discrimination at the polls. Muscato said a belief that atheists aren’t moral or trustworthy contributes to voters’ reluctance to say they’d vote for them. A 2014 Pew poll found 53 percent of Americans think it’s necessary to believe in God to be moral, and a 2012 Gallup poll found 43 percent of voters would not vote for a candidate who was atheist.

Here are the states and what their constitutions say about belief in a supreme being:

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS: atheism; atheist; publicoffice

1 posted on 07/09/2014 1:26:46 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I would think that would be a violation of Article VI of the Constitution:

“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.”


2 posted on 07/09/2014 1:30:04 PM PDT by cotton1706 (ThisRepublic.net)
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To: SeekAndFind

Yeah, poor atheists have really been denied their rights.


3 posted on 07/09/2014 1:32:57 PM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: SeekAndFind

there are a lot of statutes on state books that are never ever enforced. I suspect these are among those.


4 posted on 07/09/2014 1:34:51 PM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’ve heard this discussed, that atheists have a high negative rating; that a large number of voters would not vote for an avowed atheist for public office. Whereas prejudice against minority, homosexual, divorced, women candidates for office has greatly declined in recent years, prejudice against generic atheist candidates for office is still strong. According to some polls I have seen.


5 posted on 07/09/2014 1:35:13 PM PDT by Dilbert San Diego (s)
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To: SoFloFreeper

6 posted on 07/09/2014 1:37:12 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

So, would this get one out of jury duty?


7 posted on 07/09/2014 1:39:47 PM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: cotton1706

RE: but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

This is an interesting case because barring of atheists from holding public office is in the STATE constitution.

The problem is this — many of the state constitutions CAME FIRST before the US Constitution.

So, it becomes STATE CONSTITUTION vs The UNITED STATES Constitution.


8 posted on 07/09/2014 1:40:31 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

In my view, then the previous clause would apply:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”


9 posted on 07/09/2014 1:42:28 PM PDT by cotton1706 (ThisRepublic.net)
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To: SeekAndFind

“Still, candidates for office who are openly atheist face discrimination at the polls.”

Which is perfectly legal and proper.


10 posted on 07/09/2014 1:53:00 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman

Everyone discriminates at the polls all the time. That’s what VOTING is all about.


11 posted on 07/09/2014 1:54:26 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: cotton1706

There is no “religious test” specified by those states though, so that is how they got away with it. A religious test would be like what some colonies had before the Revolution, for example, only allowing Catholics or Anglicans to hold office.


12 posted on 07/09/2014 1:54:46 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: SeekAndFind

Big deal. In Toronto until the 1960s, a Roman Catholic could not work for the city.


13 posted on 07/09/2014 2:32:24 PM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Lacrosse- Canada's national sport, like hockey only violent)
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To: Dilbert San Diego

The reason is that we don’t really know what they believe in. Even in my atheist days, I had more confidence dealing with Christians & Jews because I knew where they stood.


14 posted on 07/09/2014 2:34:20 PM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Lacrosse- Canada's national sport, like hockey only violent)
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To: SeekAndFind

Yeah, but hardly anyone even knows the definition of the word anymore. “Discrimination=bad” is the extent of their thought process.

That’s why you never see commercials or ads anymore with taglines like “For discriminating tastes...”, because idiots would assume they were pitching their product to bigots.


15 posted on 07/09/2014 2:44:10 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: SeekAndFind

Since it is ONLY 8 states, that have “disparaging ideas about atheists”, (mind you, a Buddhist fits these terms too), let the disparaged atheists MOVE to another state, say California?


16 posted on 07/09/2014 3:12:01 PM PDT by Terry L Smith
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To: Squawk 8888

Where they stood on what?


17 posted on 07/09/2014 6:32:21 PM PDT by GunRunner
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To: GunRunner

On just about anything. My first observations of real Christianity (not the organized form that drove me away from God) was the fact that its practitioners were straightforward on just about everything.


18 posted on 07/09/2014 8:57:53 PM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Lacrosse- Canada's national sport, like hockey only violent)
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