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Author Topic:   Atheists can't hold office in the USA?
Member (Idle past 1133 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008

Message 25 of 777 (747311)
01-14-2015 6:22 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Tangle
01-14-2015 4:57 AM

Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
It hasn't stopped other southern and only slightly less religious states not having the law anymore. e.g. Louisiana at 73%. So I guess it's possible.
As far as I can see, Louisiana is not a case of not having such a law 'any more' - they never did. Their constitution has been modified many times, so I might be missing it, but I can see no sign that religious belief was ever used to qualify for office. Things which have historically disqualified Louisianans from holding public office:
- Fighting or serving as a second in a duel with deadly weapons
- Serving in the confederate armed forces
- Being black
- Being poor
- Being a clergyman or religiouis teacher
Nothing about atheists, though.
By way of analogy, it's still a matter of statute law in the UK that you can legally shoot Welshmen with a bow and arrow under certain conditions. Obviously, you can’t actually do this, since the laws are unenforceable under the legal doctrine of implied repeal. More recent homicide legislation overrules these regulations, but they have never been formally repealed and so still remain on the books as quaint historical monuments. If Parliament were to sit down and explicitly repeal such legislation, I think you'd be justified in condemning them as wasting time in an already full legislative calendar by repealing laws already unenforceable.
With these US State Consitutions, repealing provisions would presumably be a lot more difficult than a simple legislative measure. If the state’s rules require referenda for constitutional amendments, then it would be not only time-consuming, but expensive. Is it really worth spending a lot of public money on a measure which can only be symbolic, even if it succeeds?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Tangle, posted 01-14-2015 4:57 AM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by Tangle, posted 01-14-2015 6:44 AM caffeine has not replied
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Member (Idle past 1133 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008

Message 44 of 777 (747393)
01-15-2015 6:06 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by Tangle
01-15-2015 5:49 AM

Dunno what happened next, I expect he took up the role and left the wing nuts to wail.
I tried to find details about his case too, and as far as I can tell no lawsuit was ever brought. Presumably because this was all just noise by people disgruntled about losing, and they never really intended to do anything; or because their lawyers advised them the case would be thrown out immediately, since this issue was settled by the Supreme Court already in Torasco v. Watkins (1961).
Reading the new this morning reminded me of this thread. There's a public referendum coming up in February in Slovakia; on the subject of whether gay couples can adopt; whether marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman; and whether there should be sexual education in schools.
The results of this referendum are unlikely to have any effect. Under Slovak law, there would need to be turnout of more than 50% for the result to be valid; and in seven previous referenda only one has made this target (on whether to join the EU). If this target was met, and the anti-gay organisers got the result they wanted, it is still doubtful whether the measures would get past the Constitutional Court.
Those who arranged the referendum are aware of this, and are making essentially the same agrument as you (though from a different ideological standpoint). They say it's about the normative, moral impact of such a vote, and the attention it gives to the 'rights of the family'.
This symbolic, moral vote will cost approximately $7 million of public money. In an age of austerity and public budget cuts, it's worth considering how much you're willing to spend to make a moral point.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Tangle, posted 01-15-2015 5:49 AM Tangle has not replied

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