Religious laws and religious bigotry
Religious discrimination built into the
Constitutions of seven U.S. states
When the U.S. Constitution and its first ten Amendments were written, the
authors included guarantees of religious freedom among the federal civil service
and officeholders. Article 6 of the Constitution states:
"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any
office or public trust under the United States."
Inclusion of this clause was probably partly motivated by the large
number of non-Christians among the authors of the Constitution, including
However, many state constitutions -- when originally written -- required
officeholders to believe in a God (or Gods or a Goddess, or Goddesses, or a
God and a Goddess, or Gods and Goddesses). Most Constitutions didn't specify
the number or sex.
After the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was proclaimed on 1868-JUL-21,
its Article 6 became binding on individual states. The religious requirement clauses
in state constitutions became null and void. The 14th Amendment stated:
"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the
privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."
Still, the clauses remain on the books in a few states AR, MD, MA, NC,
PA, SC, TN & TX), and are occasionally dusted off in the media when
someone wants to bash Atheists,
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Last update: 2009-DEC-15
Editor: B.A. Robinson.
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