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Dutchess_III's avatar

Why haven't any of these 8 states been hit with a massive law suit?

Asked by Dutchess_III (46938points) April 16th, 2015

In these states, one is not allowed to hold a government office unless you acknowledge a belief in God and heaven.
Atheists not allowed.

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.”[90]

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.”[91]

Mississippi:
Article 14, Section 265
“No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.”[92]

North Carolina:
Article 6, Section 8
“The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.”[93]

South Carolina:
Article 17, Section 4
“No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.”[94]

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.”[95]

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.”[96]

An eighth state constitution affords special protection to theists.

Pennsylvania:
Article 1, Section 4
“No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.”[97]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_against_atheists

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17 Answers

Jaxk's avatar

There are a lot of nonsensical laws still on the books. I doubt you would find a case where any of these are actually enforced. They call them ‘lawmakers for a reason. They never seem to repeal anything.

zenvelo's avatar

You only get to sue if you have actually been harmed. So you would have to be disqualified based on your atheism to give you standing to sue. Has anyone actually ever been denied office because of being an atheist?

jaytkay's avatar

__Has anyone actually ever been denied office because of being an atheist?_

For the most part, you can’t get elected unless you at least pretend to be religious, so it doesn’t get tested.

zenvelo's avatar

@jaytkay I am aware of that, except in places like here in San Francisco where it is downright rude to bring up religion in conversation when running for office.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It should be illegal to even have such laws, blatantly flouting the constitution, on the books, I don’t care how antiquated they are.

talljasperman's avatar

Maybe it is against the law for an atheist to sue someone.

jca's avatar

A bunch of states have laws against sodomy but they don’t enforce them either.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, under the right circumstances, they do enforce them @jca.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

These are tantamount to the no J-Walking thing. No one is abiding by these laws.

What’s interesting is how much research someone did to put this together. surely with no specific agenda in mind

rojo's avatar

I love the wording of our Texas one: “No religious test shall ever be required…. provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being”.

I bet I still have to tell them which supreme being I believe in and I bet if it is Shiva or Ba’al I have to take a test.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But those other laws, no spitting on the sidewalk, no J walking, aren’t going against the very heart of the Constitution. Is the spirit of the Constitution important not?

Dutchess_III's avatar

..or. Important or not.

Uasal's avatar

I am the Supreme Being.

zenvelo's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t disagree with you at all, yet there are many who believe the intent of the Framers of the Constitution had in mind a Theist nation,

I have no idea when those laws you cited were enacted. But there was a lot of stuff like that enacted in the Fifties as anti-Communist efforts. The biggest defamation of Communism was that it is Godless and atheistic. That is when “under God” was put in the pledge of allegiance, and “In God We Trust” put on money.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Best answer yet @zenvelo. Thank you. And it wouldn’t have caused a furor in the 50’s, either, when it was assumed everyone was a Christian, and, for the most part, everyone was. Or pretended to be.

whitenoise's avatar

The Arkansas constitution, in its current form, is from 1874.

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