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Charisma Mag Loves Ban on Atheists Holding Office

Gina Meeks, the assistant editor of Charisma magazine, has an article noting that 8 states currently have bans on atheists holding public office. In promoting the story, the magazine calls those laws “good news for a Judeo-Christian America.”

Though not strictly enforced, eight U.S. states currently ban atheists from holding public office.

The states include Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

Though the language varies, each state has constitutional texts that make it clear nonbelievers are not welcome in their political sphere…

Despite the existence of these bans, they stopped being enforced after the Torcaso v. Watkins Supreme Court battle in 1961, according to The Washington PostThe Washington Post. With the never-ending battle in our culture atheists bring against Christians, will the bans may soon be altogether removed.

Will the bans may soon altogether be removed? Brilliant editing by the assistant editor. Now just imagine the howls of “PERSECUTION!” and “TYRANNY!” if someone suggested that Christians be denied public office. Hell, this is a magazine that freaks out and screams tyranny whenever they’re told they can’t impose their theocratic views on others. But here they are praising laws that forbid atheists for public office and lamenting the fact that those laws can’t be enforced.

Comments

  1. John Pieret says

    they stopped being enforced after the Torcaso v. Watkins Supreme Court battle in 1961

    Yeah … over a little technicality where they were found to be unconstitutional. They are not “strictly enforced,” they are not enforced at all.

    Now, trying to get elected as an avowed atheist in most parts of the country is another thing but they have nothing to do with those bans.

  2. dmcclean says

    “Good news.” They keep on using that phrase. I do no think it means what they think it means.

  3. eric says

    I think it’s a good idea they stay on the books. Reminds us that yes, we DO need to legally protect minorities, because the majority WILL shut them out when they are legally given the chance to do so. It’s a direct and immediate counterexample to the sort of “oh, but we would never do that sort of thing” argument people who want to loosen civil protections sometimes use. Yes, you would do that, because you have done that.

  4. otrame says

    Reminds me of my eldest son’s response when I told him that in the Texas constitution’s “religious freedom” clause, it states that you can’t be prevented from holding office on religious grounds as long as you acknowledge that there is a god. He said, “That does it. I’m running for Governor.” He was 14 and a fairly rabid atheist.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    With the never-ending battle in our culture atheists bring against Christians…

    Excuse me? We’re bringing the battle?Talk about blaming the victim.

  6. busterggi says

    “Now just imagine the howls of “PERSECUTION!” and “TYRANNY!” if someone suggested that Christians be denied public office”

    I am pretty sure that some of those state constitutions do say that only certain kinds of Christians can be allowed to run for public office. Of course Christians are all equal in one another’s eyes (sarcasm off).

  7. says

    With the never-ending battle in our culture atheists bring against Christians..

    Yeah. Damn minorities are always “Me me me! We’re citizens, too!”.

     

    But here they are praising laws that forbid atheists for public office and lamenting the fact that those laws can’t be enforced.

    To be fair, they are pretty bad. This one time, one wouldn’t let me move on until I handed over money. Or maybe that was a toll booth.

  8. says

    As far as I know, Pennsylvania doesn’t have a ban on atheists holding public office in their constitution; they have a special protection for theists holding public office (basically, no one can be denied from holding public office for professing belief in God). The details get screwed up so often with this issue.

  9. Taz says

    Interesting tidbit of information in that article. Apparently Tennessee also bars ministers from holding office:

    Whereas ministers of the Gospel are by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions; therefore, no minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legislature

    I wonder if that’s ever been enforced.

  10. D. C. Sessions says

    I wonder if that’s ever been enforced.

    Be a mighty handy way to keep Mormons out of office.

  11. Scientismist says

    With the never-ending battle in our culture atheists bring against Christians, will the bans may soon be altogether removed.

    That sentence is somewhat ambiguous, so I just prefer to understand it as an acknowledgement that atheists continue to face a never-ending battle in their attempts to bring culture and civilized values to Christians against their will.

  12. laurentweppe says

    Hell, this is a magazine that freaks out and screams tyranny whenever they’re told they can’t impose their theocratic views on others. But here they are praising laws that forbid atheists for public office and lamenting the fact that those laws can’t be enforced.

    Which is perfectly coherent, and another example of bullies defining “freedom” as “impunity to browbeat your neighbor into submission

  13. Al Dente says

    United States Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3:

    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

    The 14th Amendment enforces this on the states.

  14. Childermass says

    Not all Jim Crow laws have been repealed either.

    (Of course those laws, like ban on atheist politicians have been ruled unconstitutional.)

  15. anubisprime says

    But here they are praising laws that forbid atheists for public office and lamenting the fact that those laws can’t be enforced.

    This is what really freaks the jeebus fan club, and they cannot do a damn thing about it.
    At one time it was piss easy just to ignore , denigrate and dismiss atheist and atheism.
    They are starting to realise that tactic has not worked and will not work any more!

    A cold and vice like icy grip on their faltering shrivelled hearts…a little squeeze and all is history…they are so afraid!

  16. Michael Heath says

    The commenters in the linked article’s thread are killing the theocrats.

  17. caseloweraz says

    Charisma magazine: The states include Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

    I’m almost certain that’s eight states. Hence, the sentence probably ought to begin: “The states are…”

    (And by the way I tend to think it likely that Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb.)

  18. Rick Pikul says

    Just because they were ruled unconstitutional in 1961 means that that’s when they stopped being enforced.

    Back in the 1990’s there was a series of reports on the CBC, (IIRC it was on “As It Happens”), about the fights one Texas atheist was going though to take any office. He would run for some minor office that no one else wanted, (i.e. so that the issue of winning the election would be moot), then sue the Texas government when it refused to let him actually take office. In each case the government did everything it could to drag out the case so that by the time he hit a court that would actually rule based on the law his term had expired and they got it dismissed as moot.

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