Author Topic: Atheist ban from public office.  (Read 1439 times)

Genericguy

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Atheist ban from public office.
« on: May 31, 2012, 07:13:26 AM »


This image was floating around Facebook and I just thought I'd post it here. I know it's unconstitutional and will not hold up in court, but it's still horrible.

Harmonie

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 01:49:23 PM »
I am completely and totally shocked that my state isn't on there.

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Firebird

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 02:53:49 PM »
Maryland?? That's shocking.
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Ali

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2012, 04:27:56 PM »
Pennsylvania and Maryland surprise me, because I thought banning atheists from public office was more of a "Deep South" kind of move.

fester30

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 11:03:53 PM »
You can add North Carolina to that list.  This is one of those situations where antiquated laws are still on the books but aren't enforced.  In fact, it's against Article 6 of the U.S. 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.

A Supreme Court case in 1961 declared Maryland's law requiring holders of public office to declare a belief in God unconstitutional.  In cases of conflict, federal law trumps state law.  There were whispers recently about some councilman in North Carolina, but a lawsuit was never brought to keep him out of office.  That would likely be treated as a frivolous lawsuit.

There is a law in Memphis that says if a woman is to drive a car, a man must walk or run in front of or beside the car waving a flag to warn others.  It's still on the books, in a very similar way to these laws.

Still... it's sad that these were ever on the books, considering how many politicians we have had that did not claim belief in the Christian God or Jesus, but rather in what they called the Creator or Providence.

Genericguy

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 11:19:40 PM »
There is a law in Memphis that says if a woman is to drive a car, a man must walk or run in front of or beside the car waving a flag to warn others. 

That's the funniest thing I've ever heard, obviously in a sad and messed up way. Reminds me of the south park episode of old people driving.

Sweetdeath

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 03:54:46 PM »
Maryland?? That's shocking.


This also has me befuddled!
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Sweetdeath

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2012, 03:56:31 PM »
There is a law in Memphis that says if a woman is to drive a car, a man must walk or run in front of or beside the car waving a flag to warn others. 

That's the funniest thing I've ever heard, obviously in a sad and messed up way. Reminds me of the south park episode of old people driving.


I love that episode so much xD
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“I was thinking that perhaps this thing called God does not exist. Because He cannot save any one of us. No matter how we pray, He doesn’t mend our wounds.

Hector Valdez

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 01:14:35 AM »
Yeah, I'd buy that.

Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 04:03:28 AM »
Well, here's what the Texas Constitution actually says:  Article 1, Section 4: 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.

So, say Asmo decided to move to Texas and run for governor.  He would not have to acknowledge the existence of God - he could simply say that he does acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being (himself), and he would qualify.  It doesn't exactly ban atheists from public office.

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 04:42:58 AM »
Well, here's what the Texas Constitution actually says:  Article 1, Section 4: 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.

So, say Asmo decided to move to Texas and run for governor.  He would not have to acknowledge the existence of God - he could simply say that he does acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being (himself), and he would qualify.  It doesn't exactly ban atheists from public office.

I get that there are loopholes that can be found with these things, such as the Asmo example you provided, but isn't that still meant to avoid an atheist holding public office there? Atheists by definiton don't acknowledge any versions of gods. The meaning is rather clear, even if there are ways to weasel out. 

For a secular State it just seems so wrong on so many levels...
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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2012, 05:29:20 AM »
It is wrong on so many levels. I doubt they'd ever try to enforce it, though, since as Fester pointed out, it would never survive the Supreme Court. But it is very disturbing.
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markmcdaniel

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2012, 05:43:51 AM »
Pennsylvania and Maryland surprise me, because I thought banning atheists from public office was more of a "Deep South" kind of move.
Unfortunately the politicians who espouse this sort of thing are not just a deep south phenomenon. Michelle Bachmann is from Minnesota, Rick Santorum is from Pennsylvania. Unfortunately anti-atheist bigotry seems to be a fixed part of the fundamentalist mindset.
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fester30

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2012, 07:27:55 PM »
It is wrong on so many levels. I doubt they'd ever try to enforce it, though, since as Fester pointed out, it would never survive the Supreme Court. But it is very disturbing.

As I pointed out, it already didn't survive the Supreme Court.  That 1961 ruling is now part of legal precedent, effectively nullifying any state law or state constitution amendment requiring any religious test, even that in the state of Texas which uses funny language to try to skirt the constitution and Supreme Court ruling.  There are reasons why antiquated laws stay on the books.  In the case of the Memphis law about women driving, it's because the law is so outdated it's long forgotten, and not worth the effort to bother changing since there are superseding laws in effect.

In the case of these atheist politician bans, there is something else at work.  If you lived in one of these states and became known as the state representative that introduced a bill in the state legislature to overturn these atheist bans, you are risking your political future, over a law that cannot be enforced legally.

I do want to be careful to point out, of course, that even Federal law and Supreme Court decisions don't always hold water.  The Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that Congress under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution can pass laws that criminalize marijuana, even medicinal marijuana legal in any state, yet there are still people in those states that continue growing and selling medicinal marijuana until the feds bust them.  Then again, it's a lot easier to hide growing and selling marijuana from the Federal government than it is to hide a demand that someone running for public office declare belief in a Supreme Being.

Hector Valdez

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Re: Atheist ban from public office.
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2012, 11:19:19 PM »
I suddenly feel an urge to suspect the intelligence of political authority. Should I lie down?