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 Post subject: speaking of judicial appointments...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 7:32 am 
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source:
http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/State ... utions.htm

i just picked this up elsewhere and when i read about it, i thought that this certainly needs some attention:

State Constitutions that Discriminate Against Atheists

Arkansas State Constitution, Article 19 Section 1 ("Miscellaneous Provisions")
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.

Maryland's Declaration of Rights, Article 36
"That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore, no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion, or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent, or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain, any place of worship, or any ministry; 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 therefore either in this world or in the world to come."

Massachusetts' State Constitution, Article 3
"Any every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law."
Comment: Apparently Non-Christians are not "equally under the protection of the law".

Mississippi State Constitution. Article 14 ("General Provisions"), Section 265
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

North Carolina's State Constitution, Article 6 Section 8
"Disqualifications of office. The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God."

Pennsylvania's 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's State Constitution, Article 4 Section 2
"No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor who denies the existence of the Supreme Being; ..."
Note: If you continue reading you will find that (in Section 8) the Lieutenant Governor must also meet the same qualifications as the Governor.

Tennessee's 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
"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."



however, reading THE constitution, i read this:

THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION

Article VI.

Clause 3

"... but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
Amendment I

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"
therefore, would not the constitution supercede the states' constitution? are they not discriminating against non-believers?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 9:06 am 
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In TORCASO v. WATKINS, 367 U.S. 488 (1961), the Supreme Court held that a state's requirement for a belief in God or any religious requirement for public office violates the 1st Amendment.

Note: The Supreme Court actually does not strike down laws. Laws (including state constitutional provisions) that the Supreme Court determines to be unconstitutional are still on the books. The Supreme Court, however, declares that such laws cannot be enforced. Thus, the provisions requiring belief in God in these Constitutions, and any statute requiring belief in God, are still on the books -- but cannot be enforced.

However, many of the judges on the religious right hold that this decision should be overturned. Justice Clarence Thomas defended this position in his concurring opinion in CUTTER et al. v. WILKINSON, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION, et al. (2005).

Thomas wrote, "Congress ... need only refrain from making laws 'respecting an establishment of religion'; it must not interfere with a state establishment of religion."

This repeats statements that Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion on the Michael Newdow pledge case, ELK GROVE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT and DAVID W. GORDON, SUPERINTENDENT, PETITIONERS v. MICHAEL A. NEWDOW et al. (2004)

Thomas wrote:

Quite simply, the Establishment Clause is best understood as a federalism provision -- it protects state establishments from federal interference but does not protect any individual rights. . . . .

[E]ven assuming that the Establishment Clause precludes the Federal Government from establishing a national religion, it does not follow that the Clause created or protects any individual right. . . . it is more likely that States and only States were the direct beneficiaries. Moreover, incorporation of this putative individual right leads to a particular outcome: It would prohibit precisely what the Establishment Clause was intended to protect -- state establishments of religion.


Under this interpretation, all of the constitutional provisions established above would be enforceable. Justice Thomas did not spell out exactly how far a state may go in establishing a state religion. It is reasonable to expect that they may require citizens to donate a percentage of their income to a state church and to require proof of membership in an approved church as a qualification for employment or to run for office within the state. The list of those who would be required to meet these requirements would include all teachers in state-run public schools and universities.

Note that the Arkansas State Constitution holds that those who are not members of an approved Church not to be considered competent to testify as a witness in any court. It was, in fact, quite common in statute, if not Constitutional provision, to ban those who did not accept an approved Christian religion from testifying in Court.

The argument for this position is that, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, many of the 13 states (as illustrated in the opening post) had state religious requirements. Originalists, such as Scalia and most judges approved under the current administration, hold that this proves that the 1st Amendment was never meant to be applied to the states.

President Bush has said that Justice Thomas is his favorite judge. It is reasonable to expect that Mr. Roberts, when he joins the Court, will provide President Bush and his supporters 4 of the 5 votes that are needed to reverse TORCASO v. WATKINS and allow states to pass laws for the establishment and support of a State church, and for membership in that church to be required of any candidate for public office, public employee, or any individual or corporation receiving state funds and contracts.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 9:33 am 
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gees...scary isn't it?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 10:26 am 
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Yes, mga, very scary indeed!

The question isn't 'if', but 'when'?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:47 am 
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so, is there any way to fight this from happening?

the supreme court doesn't make the laws....

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:00 pm 
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The best option that I can think of is to present well-reasoned, reasonably brief arguments against such a position in front of the eyes of as many voters as possible.

This is why I work on creating what I hope are well-reasoned, reasonably brief arguments against such positions and post them on the intranet.

I welcome suggestions on how I can improve my writing. Anybody who wishes to is free to paraphrase my arguments and provide a link to whomever may be initerested enough to read the longer version -- even if it is just a matter of entering a hostile or neutral site, posting a link, and asking, "What do you think of this?

Note: I think that, this weekend, I will write up something about the constitutional provisions you mentioned and my response -- turn that into a nice 3-page editorial, and get that up on my website. I believe that more people than us, if they knew about these events (which have not been given the news coverage I think they deserve) would be concerned about the future of this country.

I am also thinking about including a quote that Stephanie uses in her editorial today, where she wrote:

[quote=stephanie]National security advisor Stephen Hadley and top homeland security aide Frances Fragos Townsend wrote in "The New York Times" that radical Islamists were "determined to destroy our way of life and substitute for it a fanatical vision of dictatorial and theocratic rule."[/quote]

It really is possible to ask the question of whether this statement applies any less to radical Christians working to usurp control of the Judiciary than it does to radical Islamists.

If I get it written, I will post it here.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:45 pm 
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thanks, alonzo.

i frequent your site and read as much as i can, then return later..usually at night. as for me, i'm in no position to critisize anyone's writings, especially yours. i'm impressed with all that i have read so far.

hopefully, others will see what we are discussing and talk about it at other sites.

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