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Author Topic:   Atheists can't hold office in the USA?
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 777 (747259)
01-13-2015 3:19 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Tangle
01-13-2015 2:37 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
Cecil Bothwell, an atheist who in 2009 won an election for a Asheville, North Carolina city council seat, was almost unseated
"almost unseated" is a bit of an exaggeration. More like challenged in court under a state constitutional provision that was clearly unconstitutional under federal law. The law suit went absolutely nowhere.
quote:
Article VI of the U.S. Constitution says: no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The unconstitutionality of the provision of law was well known here in North Carolina. North Carolina allows electees to choose whether between oaths that do and do not include the words "so help me God."

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Tangle, posted 01-13-2015 2:37 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Tangle, posted 01-13-2015 4:24 PM NoNukes has replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 777 (747288)
01-13-2015 5:57 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Tangle
01-13-2015 4:24 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
I still don't get how an unconstitutional law is still on the books in some states but not in others. Does this tell us something about those states?
I don't think it tells us anything much.
Revoking laws that are found to be unconstitutional requires legislative action that often nobody bothers with. It's also the case that amending state constitutions can be pretty difficult. In this case, North Carolina's modification of the oath of office pretty may well be the best that can be done.
It is currently the case that North Carolina can have unconstitutional laws on the books which the legislature may not have the power to remove. For example, the NC constitutional provision against recognizing same sex marriages has been found unconstitutional in the 4th district court. However the provision was put there by public referendum. Not sure how to remove it.
Now admittedly if the law were unpopular, there might be some motivation to do a ceremonial removal. I believe some states actually ratified some of the anti-slavery amendments fairly late in the 20th century. But often nobody bothers.
The federal constitution and other sources of federal law likely also contain provisions that are unconstitutional. The Fugitive Slave Clause is moot for all practical purposes. But that Clause has not been invalidated by constitutional amendment.
Of course, regarding the people who dig up those laws and try to enforce them, their actions do tell us much.
Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Tangle, posted 01-13-2015 4:24 PM Tangle has not replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 16 of 777 (747295)
01-13-2015 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Theodoric
01-13-2015 6:33 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
Tangle has a history of making condescending statements of this type. While I don't share petro's level of irritation, I understand where it comes from.
Strip away the anger, and what's left is a bunch of questions one might well ask a foreigner who repeatedly pretends that the US is so backwards that he cannot even understand how they got that way.

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Theodoric, posted 01-13-2015 6:33 PM Theodoric has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Theodoric, posted 01-13-2015 8:39 PM NoNukes has seen this message but not replied
 Message 20 by Tangle, posted 01-14-2015 3:31 AM NoNukes has replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 30 of 777 (747331)
01-14-2015 12:49 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Tangle
01-14-2015 3:31 AM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
I was genuinely surprised to see that 7 states in the USA appeared to ban atheists from public office.
No states ban atheists from public office. States are also not required to return escaped slaves to their owners either. It's really no great puzzle in either case.
Both the federal constitution, the US code, state constitutions and state codes are full of provisions of law which are unrepealed and yet of no effect. There is generally no pressing need to repeal such laws. And certainly keeping Tangle unconfused is not a sufficient reason.
I'm also genuinely puzzled why a modern Western democracy, for which I have otherwise great respect, has such a high proportion of it's population holding primitive religious views
Yet you know that a high proportion do have those views. So what's the mystery about why there were anti-atheist laws?

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Tangle, posted 01-14-2015 3:31 AM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by Tangle, posted 01-14-2015 1:03 PM NoNukes has seen this message but not replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 40 of 777 (747374)
01-14-2015 9:42 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Taq
01-14-2015 3:52 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
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.
There are some exceptions to this rule. In some cases laws affecting free speech can be challenged if the law is facially unconstitutional. It's conceivable that a court might extend this principle to a challenge to a law excluding an theist since this is also a first amendment matter.
But what would be the point? Simply finding a law unconstitutional does not remove it from the books. The finding just means that the state cannot apply the law, and that we now have a specific ruling from a court establishing just such a thing. A ruling obtained at your own expense to enjoin a state official from doing something he had no intention of doing.
Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Taq, posted 01-14-2015 3:52 PM Taq has not replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 41 of 777 (747375)
01-14-2015 9:48 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by dwise1
01-14-2015 3:55 AM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
Now here's an interesting question: What is the status of those "monkey laws" in those four states? Have they been revoked? Or are they still on the books, but merely not enforced?
Tennessee's monkey law was repealed by the state legislature in 1967 prior to the Supreme Court decision in 1968.
Here is a link to an article describing the house chambers vote.
Error 404 (Not Found)!!1
The senate required two votes in order to confirm the legislation but they got the job done.

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by dwise1, posted 01-14-2015 3:55 AM dwise1 has not replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 63 of 777 (747594)
01-17-2015 1:48 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by RAZD
01-17-2015 1:04 AM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
and I think all laws should expire after a period of time, like 20 years. If the law is still needed then a new version can be passed, possibly more suited to the current social conditions.
A good number of these 'no atheists' laws are placed in state constitutions. Are you okay with letting the constitutions expire every 20 years? How about the federal constitution?

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by RAZD, posted 01-17-2015 1:04 AM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by AZPaul3, posted 01-17-2015 6:33 AM NoNukes has not replied
 Message 65 by RAZD, posted 01-17-2015 5:09 PM NoNukes has replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


(2)
Message 66 of 777 (747644)
01-17-2015 5:24 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by RAZD
01-17-2015 5:09 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
Well if the US constitution were rewritten every 20 or 50 years, then all the amendments could have been included and the wording of obsolete sections (ie -- the way votes were counted and who could vote) could have been changed. Rulings by the Supreme Court could be reviewed and action taken to either comply or reverse the rulings.
Sure. And fundamental rights would be exposed to popular review every couple of decades. We could redefine who is and who is not a citizen periodically; by popular request.
No thanks.
Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by RAZD, posted 01-17-2015 5:09 PM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by RAZD, posted 01-18-2015 7:43 PM NoNukes has replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 77 of 777 (747718)
01-18-2015 8:30 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by RAZD
01-18-2015 7:43 PM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
For amendments to be incorporated they would need to be passed by a super-majority rather than a simple majority vote.
Does that work?
Not for me. I don't want people tweaking the constitution. Even editorial changes require interpretation as to intent. We could fight about what the 2nd amendment is supposed to mean till the cows came home even if our intent was to just be clear.
And I simply don't trust any group of folks to muck around with the federal constitution on a regular basis. A super majority of North Carolinians decided that there we should not even have civil unions for gay people; a decision I consider remarkably cruel.

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by RAZD, posted 01-18-2015 7:43 PM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 107 by RAZD, posted 01-20-2015 11:01 AM NoNukes has replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 78 of 777 (747738)
01-19-2015 12:57 AM
Reply to: Message 70 by Theodoric
01-18-2015 5:35 PM


Re: agnostic anyone?
They are not different things on a spectrum.
Not a linear spectrum, no. But I bet you could come up with one of those 2-D four quadrant graphs.

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Theodoric, posted 01-18-2015 5:35 PM Theodoric has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 83 by Theodoric, posted 01-19-2015 9:01 AM NoNukes has seen this message but not replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 122 of 777 (747948)
01-21-2015 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 113 by Tangle
01-20-2015 3:37 PM


Re: agnostic anyone? when "don't know" is the logical answer.
If they don't know, they don't believe. It's not terrbly complicated.
That's not a complicated idea, but surely humans are more complicated than your idea gives credit for.
A gambler cannot actually know what numbers are going to show up next on a roulette wheel. Yet he can be absolutely convinced (believe) that he is on the cusp of a winning spree.
Of course the odds are that his state of belief won't survive the next few spins. But when it comes to God or gods, the resolution of inconsistencies between knowledge and belief may never come. Believers can rationalize away just about any discouraging turn of events.
Belief and doubt can coexist in the mind. And 'knowledge' or knowing is something not precisely defined. Do I actually know that fusion occurs in the star Proxima Centauri?. I certainly believe such to be the case. I wold be utterly astonished to find out that such is not the case. On the other hand, perhaps my impression regarding the sun is quite a bit different.
I imagine that it is difficult for a gnostic atheist to even entertain the idea that someone else can know something that the ga knows cannot be true. But I'd label that a failure of introspection rather than some absolute truth of the atheist's position.

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 113 by Tangle, posted 01-20-2015 3:37 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 127 by Tangle, posted 01-21-2015 4:23 PM NoNukes has not replied

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 193 of 777 (748337)
01-24-2015 8:28 PM
Reply to: Message 107 by RAZD
01-20-2015 11:01 AM


Re: It's hard to modify Constitutions
And if this was done within 50 years of the initial amendment the people would have had a good understanding of the intent.
Original intent is not the only way to interpret the Constitution. I'm pretty sure I don't want the first amendment reset to the original, barely meaningful intent.
So you don't trust the Founding Fathers and Mothers to write the constitution in the first place.
I don't have to trust them. They finished their job before I was born. I don't have to wait and see what they will do.
Curiously I trust the public more than I trust the politicians
Good for you. I reserve judgement over whether I have the same trust in my fellow man when it comes to drawing a line between my rights versus his own.
We see an overwhelming tide of decisions state by state authorizing marriage of LGTB people, and it is now going to the Supreme Court to review 4 states in addition to 32 that already allow it, with the understanding that they may rule for the whole US to allow marriage of LGTB people.
Mostly court decisions. There are still very few popular decisions in favor of marriage equality.
Curiously enough, there is room under the federal constitution such that marriage equality ought to be a reality already. Historically it has been the court system and not the population that has been on the cutting edge of civil rights.
And there are a number of amendments pending that I would not mind seeing voted on by the public.
There is a process for amending the constitution. I find that the process is appropriately cumbersome such that it is not often subject to political or popular misuse.

Je Suis Charlie
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

This message is a reply to:
 Message 107 by RAZD, posted 01-20-2015 11:01 AM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

  
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