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Author Topic:   Atheists can't hold office in the USA?
Taq
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Posts: 10191
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 32 of 777 (747347)
01-14-2015 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by dwise1
01-14-2015 3:55 AM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
It's been pointed out that the US has a legal system, not a justice system. There are procedures in place for changing the laws. There is also a simple fact that not all laws are enforced. If a law has been ruled unconstitutional, does that require that the law be revoked? Or merely that it not be enforced? And what does it take to revoke a law? Does the legislature have to vote on it? If popular opinion supports the unconstitutional law, wouldn't voting to revoke that law be a form of political suicide for an elected legislator? Just look at the repeated waste of valuable legislative time voting for outrageous bills that have absolutely no chance of passing or not getting vetoed, but which are popular with one's constituents.
One of the important bits of constitutional law is that someone has to demonstrate harm being done to them by the law before it can even be considered by the courts. A law that no one enforces does no harm, so there is no violation of constitutional rights.
"In law, standing or locus standi is the term for the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party's participation in the case."
Standing - Wikipedia(law)

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Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by Tangle, posted 01-14-2015 4:08 PM Taq has replied
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10191
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


(1)
Message 39 of 777 (747371)
01-14-2015 7:00 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by Tangle
01-14-2015 4:08 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
The law isn't just instrumental, it also has a symbolic, signalling role. It says that this activity is something this society disapproves of to the extent that if you transgress it, the state will punish you.
You have no standing until the state does punish you. People wanting to violate your rights is not a violation of your rights. They have to actually do it. Our constitution is not about the Thought Police.
So to have have it still on the statute books, not simply as a bygone relic of how things used to be, but to be pulled out when it suits regardless of it's ineffectiveness, is a signal of a different kind is it not?
I am unaware of anyone in recent history being forced out of public office or an election for being an atheist. People saying that you are unfit for office does not violate any constitutional rights.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Tangle, posted 01-14-2015 4:08 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by Tangle, posted 01-15-2015 4:05 AM Taq has replied
 Message 48 by dwise1, posted 01-15-2015 11:17 AM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10191
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 52 of 777 (747473)
01-15-2015 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by dwise1
01-15-2015 11:17 AM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
Just this past year, that US Air Force Tech Sergeant whose reenlistment was being denied because, as an atheist, he crossed out "so help me God" in the oath as he may choose to do under Title 10, but which the new (Oct 2013) Air Force Instruction (AFI) did not allow. If a humanist organization had not publicized his situation, the Air Force would not have referred their complaints to Legal, that new AFI would not have been recognized as illegal and unconstitutional, and we would have lost a loyal airman.
I thought we were talking about state laws that banned atheists from elected office?

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Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10191
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


(2)
Message 53 of 777 (747474)
01-15-2015 1:44 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Tangle
01-15-2015 6:31 AM


Re: Reppin Atheists
Not remotely. Nobody gives a hoot in the UK. It never comes up in day to day conversation.
That's because you kicked out all of the religious nutters from your country and sent them to us.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10191
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 55 of 777 (747478)
01-15-2015 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by Tangle
01-15-2015 4:05 AM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
If an unlawful law is kept on the state books and used occasionally - although ineffectually, the state is signalling to its citizens that although it's been overruled, it still believes its law is legitimate.
The law wasn't used, and the anti-atheist laws have not been used in recent memory. Sure, there is some anti-atheist sabre rattling, but that is not unconstitutional.
In fact, the public was probably given an important civics lesson that the anti-atheists probably didn't want taught. The public learned that these laws can not be enacted without violating a person's constitutional rights.
But it does seem that in at least one case, the law was attempted to be used.
It wasn't even attempted. Attempting to use the law would require them to submit preliminary papers to the courts to have the atheist removed from office. No papers were even filed. There was no attempt to use the law.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10191
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 60 of 777 (747582)
01-16-2015 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by Tangle
01-15-2015 2:32 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
I agree. But it is the case that the guy from NAACP (who I also had to look up, is indeed a nutter) was able to wave the law about. We're not talking about a right to kill Welshmen with a bow and arrow here.
But, I accept that the laws are defunct and are unlikely to be a real problem. Still, I'd like them to be repealed if I lived in one of those states - just to show that they care (but of course they don't).
The way I view it, getting rid of the law that no one enforces does nothing. The existence of the law is not causing anti-atheist sentiments. As the old saying goes, that would be the tail wagging the dog. Even if we get rid of the law the anti-atheist sentiments are still there.
In fact, I almost prefer having those laws on the books. It provides for the ultimate face off. "You don't like atheists in office? Fine. Enforce the law. I dare you." Good way to end the discussion, IMHO.

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Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10191
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 175 of 777 (748216)
01-23-2015 3:58 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by RAZD
01-17-2015 5:43 PM


Re: agnostic anyone?
And what about agnostic?
I don't know.

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