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Tue Nov 29, 2022, 09:26 AM

Why it matters that 7 states still have bans on atheists holding office

At the polls in TN this November, the GOP had a ballot initiative on removing the prohibition on priests and ministers from holding office from the TN constitution. And of course it was voted in and the clause preventing priest from being government officials has been removed from the TN Constitution. But the TN constitution still has another equally unfair clause remaining against atheist from holding office. So, when do you think the GOP majority in TN is going to change that?

Yeah, I know the Supremes in 1961 ruled those clauses unconstitutional or more specifically: "test for public office cannot be enforced against appellant, because it unconstitutionally invades his freedom of belief and religion guaranteed by the First Amendment and protected by the Fourteenth Amendment from infringement by the States."

But since we now have a very proudly Christian Supreme Court that makes rulings based on Christian superstitions and dogma, can we allow all these clauses to remain unchallenged? Seems law and precedent do not trump Christian mythology and bias in this court.

So should these bans on atheists holding public office be challenged? What would be the repercussions if the Supreme Court were to hear a challenge against one of these state clauses?

Here's a good article on it: https://source.colostate.edu/why-it-matters-that-7-states-still-have-bans-on-atheists-holding-office/

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Response to Farmer-Rick (Original post)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 09:30 AM

1. States run their own elections.

A person running for office who is an atheist would be the only one who could sue. The outcome would be an interesting case.

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Response to Farmer-Rick (Original post)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 09:31 AM

2. Religious officials are never pressed on their patriotism

I’d like to someone ask, just once, Mike Pence or someone like him, which is the law of the land, the Bible or the constitution? Seems like like they are at odds

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Response to Walleye (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 11:01 AM

6. Look at how many Twitter bios etc say christian first and then get around to "American" later


Pence's book is called "So Help Me God".

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 11:03 AM

7. I think Americans are a little too shy about questioning people's religious dogma

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Response to Walleye (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 11:05 AM

8. Well, they are entitled to their beliefs, but not an own set of facts & not excusing evil actions.nt

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 11:10 AM

9. Certainly entitled to their beliefs.But I want to know their priorities if they're in government

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Response to Farmer-Rick (Original post)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 09:42 AM

3. Heck yes! ....

these bans on atheists holding public office should be challenged.

They are clearly unconstitutional.



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Response to Farmer-Rick (Original post)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 09:44 AM

4. Who could bring such a suit?

If SCOTUS has already said that it can’t be enforced… who can be harmed by it?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 03:37 PM

11. Well the ruling in 1961 was specifically

About a test for public office. I could see the Supremes claiming that a total ban, not even allowing a known atheist to run for office, would be different. You never know with this court what they will do. They may hear a case where they rule banning nonbelievers is up to the states. Maybe a religious corporation like Hobby Lobby could want to ban atheist and bring a case.

These anti-atheist clauses in state constitutions remind me of the anti-abortion clauses in state constitutions.They mean nothing until the Supremes change the law.

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Response to Farmer-Rick (Original post)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 11:00 AM

5. Seeing as religious fundamentalism seems to make people...

…lose their minds, I find myself wondering if only agnostics and atheists should be allowed to hold office. We don’t try to force our beliefs or lack thereof on others.

Unfortunately, not enough people seem to be able to live their faith the way President Biden does, personally, without needing to insist that everyone think the same way they do.

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Response to 3catwoman3 (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 11:11 AM

10. I would never have any problem with religion if everybody practiced their faith how Joe Biden does

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Response to Walleye (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 09:54 PM

12. Nor would I. President Biden finds that his...

…faith sustains and comforts him, but he is not threatened by those who believe differently.

I often think that those who loudly proclaim that their faith is so strong that they cannot bear to be around anything that is not in complete agreement with their own beliefs are actually showing a basic weakness in their faith. If it were as strong as all that, shouldn’t it buffer and strengthen them as President Biden’s seems to.

And if the supreme being in whom they believe is as all powerful as they claim, does he/she/it really need so many self-appointed agents here on Earth?

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Response to 3catwoman3 (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 29, 2022, 09:57 PM

13. Well said

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Response to Walleye (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 30, 2022, 11:16 AM

15. Thank you. This is something I have thought about...

...a great deal over my 71 years on the planet.

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Response to 3catwoman3 (Reply #12)

Wed Nov 30, 2022, 10:35 AM

14. Good points all

I've always wondered, even as a kid being force fed Catholicism, why does an all powerful being needs, demands and threatens us, to be worshipped.

Why does a super duper power need our worship?

I helped bring our children into this world and I never expected them to worship me. Why would a god want worship? Sounds like gods are very insecure.

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Response to Farmer-Rick (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 30, 2022, 11:42 AM

16. Thank you. The notion that man was made in...

...god's image seems quite backwards to me. Humans have made their gods in their own image - petty, vain, and vengeful. Nothing superior or worship-worthy about that.

Even during my relatively brief involvement with Christianity in late high school (late 1960s), I was never comfortable with the exclusivity of Christianity. I was completely unable to go out and "witness" or ask people to accept Jesus as their lord and savior. The whole "No one gets to the Father except through me" never sat well with me. What about people who never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus, for a wide variety of reasons - are they doomed because of lack of information? My way or the highway doesn't cut it.

I like to think that if a supreme power exists, and has an important message to impart, wouldn't he/she/it be wise enough and compassionate enough to present that message in a variety of ways? Especially if he/she/it is likened to a loving parent. There were many things I wanted to teach our sons, now 30 and 32, when they were young. If I had only one way to explain something important, and they didn't seem to get it, was I just going to give up, or would I keep at it until I found the explanation that resonated with them? Obviously, the latter.

I had much the same approach in my job. If I was trying to explain to a parent how to manage their child's illness, and I could tell it wasn't clicking with them, was I just supposed to say, "Oh well, too bad. You're on your own"? Certainly not. I would keep at it until I saw that little light of understanding in their eyes.

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Response to 3catwoman3 (Reply #16)

Wed Nov 30, 2022, 12:07 PM

17. Well said

Gods are the image of humanity. Sad to say.

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