Thursday, May 22, 2014
The Theocratic States of America
Say or think what you will about atheists.
Call us kitten-eating, devil-worshiping, child-raping heathens. It won't make it true.
I have long held that atheists are a heavily discriminated against group in the USA.
Atheist Discrimination (My July 22, 2013 post)
Atheist Presidential Candidate ? (YEAH.. RIGHT!)
When I'm making my political arguments, I normally focus on the Constitution of the United States. It only makes one mention of religion, in the 1st Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
Silly me. I have been remiss and have not researched the 50 individual STATE Constitutions. While meandering about the web, I stumbled across this site which goes into that aspect:
Denying office to non-believers (If you don't want to go there, I'm quoting below.)
And they are MUCH more egregious in trampling the rights of non-believing citizens:
Article 19, Section 1 (Denial of Office, Denial as Witness):
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.
Article 36 (Denial as Witness):
...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.
Article 37 (Denial of Office):
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.
Article 14, Section 265 (Denial of Office):
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.
Article 6, Section 8 (Denial of Office):
The following persons shall be disqualified for office:
First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.
Article 1, Section 4 (Denial of Office):
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.
(This section specifies that someone who acknowledges God cannot be denied office; conversely, anyone who does deny God can be, rather than shall be, denied office. The restriction is not as concrete as other denials of office.)
Article 6, Section 2 (Denial of Office):
No person who denies the existence of the Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.
Article 9, Section 2 (Denial of Office):
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.
(Note that Article 9, Section 1 denies office to any "minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination.")
Article 1, Section 4 (Denial of Office):
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.
Now, I have not fact-checked the site, so please let me know if anything is incorrect. At this point I don't have the time or inclination to research the legal-ese of 50 separate Constitutions.
Would these clauses and prohibitions be more or less palatable if they specifically referred to people of Jewish faith? Or Muslim? Catholic vs Protestant? And, although it's a logical leap, what of skin color or ethnicity?
But I further ask, would you rather have a pretend or part-time Christian as your elected offical... or a person of no faith, such as myself? One who is honest enough to stand up and say "I don't believe" but apply and interpret the law with no religious bias?
The fact is that each state CAN do as it wishes, the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution applies to the authority of the Congress. Of course, if any atheist ever does get on the ballot and is elected in one of these states, I can't wait to see the court battles when someone tries to deny them their office!