Six USA States Ban Atheists From Holding Office and Testifying as Witnesses in Court

Six states have passed a law banning atheists from holding any public office. The law also prevents atheists from testifying as witnesses in court. Here's a link to the article:

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/erbe/2009/02/17/arkansas-5-other-states-ban-atheists-from-public-service-seriously.html

This is absolute bull shit.

Views: 540

Comment by James on February 18, 2009 at 7:08pm
I'm in MD and we have long had a law disallowing persons such as myself from holding public office. Luckily it is never enforced due to how unconstitutional it is. It really needs to be repealed completely though (and the other as well).
Comment by AtypicalAtheist on February 18, 2009 at 8:26pm
The blogger misinterpreted the whole thing. These laws are old and aren't ever enforced. Rep. Richard Carroll was trying to remove the law from the books.
Comment by AtypicalAtheist on February 18, 2009 at 8:27pm
This happens a lot with bloggers. Not many are very intelligent.
Comment by Johnny on February 19, 2009 at 2:34pm
I don't know when this is actually from, I'll try to track down which of these is still in effect. Stumbled upon this list that has 7 states listed with "atheist discrimination" (but Arkansas isn't on the list). The home page looks like it was last updated in 2005, so semi-recent but maybe not current.

Maryland: State Constitution
Declaration of Rights, Articles 36-37.

...nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness, or juror, on account of his religious belief; provided, he believes in the existence of God, and that under His dispensation such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefor either in this world or in the world to come.

...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...

Massachusetts: State Constitution
Part 1, Article 3 (as amended by Articles of Amendment, Article 11).

...all religious sects and denominations, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good citizens of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law...

Part 2, Chapter 6, Article 1 (as amended by Articles of Amendment, Article 6).

... the following oath shall be taken and subscribed by every person chosen or appointed to any office, civil or military under the government of this commonwealth, before he shall enter on the duties of his office, to wit:

“I, A. B., do solemnly swear, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will support the constitution thereof. So help me God.”

Provided, That when any person shall be of the denomination called Quakers, and shall decline taking said oath, he shall make his affirmation in the foregoing form, omitting the word “swear” and inserting instead thereof the word “affirm;” and omitting the words “So help me God,” and subjoining, instead thereof, the words “This I do under the pains and penalties of perjury.”

North Carolina: State Constitution
Article 6, Section 7. Oath.

Before entering upon the duties of an office, a person elected or appointed to the office shall take and subscribe the following oath:

“I, ..........................., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States, and the Constitution and laws of North Carolina not inconsistent therewith, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of my office as ............................................., so help me God.”

Article 6, Section 8. Disqualifications for office.

The following persons shall be disqualified for office:

First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

Pennsylvania: State Constitution
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.

South Carolina: State Constitution
Article 4, Section 2. Qualifications of Governor.

No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor who denies the existence of the Supreme Being...

Article 4, Section 8. Election, qualifications and term of Lieutenant Governor.

A Lieutenant Governor shall be chosen at the same time, in the same manner, continue in office for the same period, and be possessed of the same qualifications as the Governor.

Tennessee: State Constitution
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: State Constitution
Article 1, Section 4. Bill of Rights - Religious Tests

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.

Comment by Johnny on February 20, 2009 at 7:11pm
And now, some crazy lady in Washington State is trying to add atheist discrimination.
Comment by Angel Miranda on January 12, 2010 at 8:33pm
I don't care how epically old this thread is:

I fail to understand how not believing in any god makes me morally unreliable... (after all to be considered an Atheist must also mean I don't believe in the devil) Just because morals and values [followed] are the source of religion doesn't mean religion is the source of morals and values. I. do. not. get it.

and if the're never applied why not just ratify them already?

(I act as though someone might actually have the answer to my inquiries, aren't i just a blast?)

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