Tag Archives: religious test

According To Ben Carson, Ben Carson Can’t Be President

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screencap of video of Dr. Ben Carson in Findlay Ohio on Wednesday 9-23-2015
Dr. Ben Carson in Findlay Ohio on Wednesday

Dr. Ben Carson, who is running for the GOP nomination for President in 2016, stopped in my hometown for a visit on Wednesday. WTOL in Toledo had video and a reporter on the scene and she asked about his recent comments about Muslims. He didn’t back down and in fact according to Ben Carson, Ben Carson can’t be President.
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Case Study in Christian Privilege: Mitt Romney

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image of Mitt Romney
The 1st amendment won’t allow me to id this guy

Both Mitt Romney and President Obama gave lengthy interviews to the National Cathedral’s magazine, “Cathedral Age”. I believe that we live in a secular republic where the government ought to be religiously neutral. There is no religious test to hold office but this interview did gives us a case study in Christian privilege that some like Mitt Romney believe they deserve. While he tore into the wall between church and state, in another interview he tried to use his religion as an excuse not to reveal his tax returns.
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Associated Press Carries Water For Christian Privilege In Amish Case

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image of an Amish BuggyI noticed an Associated Press (AP) story published Monday evening with a very misleading headline. It read “Amish in Ohio Hair-Cutting Case Seek to Avoid Oath”. Why is it misleading? Those of us who struggle to support separation of church and state know why it is misleading. The AP headline was basically biased toward people who don’t want to swear an oath in court.
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Anne Graham Lotz Shameful Statement On Atheists Shows We Need Separation Of Church And State

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image of Anne Graham Lotz on Meet the Press 04-08-2012
Anne Graham Lotz on Meet the Press 04-08-2012

This past Easter Sunday (April 8th), NBC’s “Meet the Press” had a panel discussion about religion’s place in politics, a panel that didn’t include any atheist voices. Rev Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz provided a bumper sticker moment when she declared, contrary to the Constitution’s prohibition on religious tests for office, she didn’t think an atheist should be President. It brought to my mind a 1963 rant of Alabama Governor George Wallace who declared the 14th amendment illegal. It seems Lotz and Wallace are “birds of a feather” and it’s disgraceful she would express such a bigoted statement on national television. It is yet another reason to support strict separation of church and state.
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Some more sweet inclusiveness from Christians (NOT!)

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Cecil Bothwell was elected to the Asheville, North Carolina city council. Mr. Bothwell has also admitted that he “believes in the Golden Rule but finds the question of whether there is a God or not ‘irrelevant.'” Of course some conservative Christians are upset that an atheist was elected to public office and one man, in an ironic twist the former president of the local NAACP, said he would file a lawsuit challenging Bothwell taking office.

It seems North Carolina has an article in their state constitution that prohibits atheists from being elected to public office.

Article 6, section 8 reads, “The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.”

Of course there is case law that made such religious tests unconstitutional but Bothwell and the city, if sued, would still have to fight the suit.

Herb Silverman, President of the Secular Coalition for America, had a similar battle in South Carolina in 1990. His post on the Newsweek Washington Post website explains:

I first heard about the South Carolina exclusion in 1990. I’m no constitutional scholar, but I knew that Article 6 of our U.S. Constitution explicitly states that there may be no religious tests for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1961 that this provision also applies to the states. So I assumed this was just an anachronism, and could easily be changed. I was wrong. I wound up to running for public office, first as a gubernatorial candidate and then as a notary public, in order to challenge this unconstitutional provision. It took eight years and a unanimous verdict of the South Carolina Supreme Court to state the obvious, that no religious test for public office may be applied, not even in South Carolina.

Our state wasted about $100,000 trying to keep me from becoming a notary public. None of the political leaders in South Carolina, and certainly not the lawyers advising them, believed they would prevail legally if I continued to pursue my case. Yet, those same politicians showed that they would rather waste time and money on a lost cause than risk the wrath and lose the votes of the state’s well-organized religious right. But South Carolina is known as a state that fights lost causes. Et tu, North Carolina?

Atheists in office: Déjà vu all over again

That’s how it goes. Priests who are convicted of molesting children are treated better than an atheist wanting to hold elective office.

It is seems to be atheists who are told to sit down and shut up when religious issues come up and we are the ones that have to fight for basic rights.

Secular Coalition calls for end to religious test

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It would seem that the US Constitution doesn’t allow a religious test to be elected in this country. In fact that prohibition is written in clear language in Article Six. It is why the group, the Secular Coalition for America is taking the time to release a video of the attempts at a religious test during the recently concluded 2008 election campaign and calling for the all secularists to stand up and call for an end to it.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article Six of the United States Constitution

Even though it is written in plain language, unlike the religious clause of the first amendment or the right to bear arms of the second, it seems that candidates are put through a religious test. The Secular Coalition for America released a video of clips full of examples from the 2008 election cycle:

The Secular Coalition is also asking secularists to help call attention to this undemocratic anti-American trait. They are sending out a New Year’s Alert:

Pastor Problems, Faith Forums and Godless Gotcha’s on the campaign trail. 2008 was a tough year for atheists, humanists, agnostics and all Americans who are proud of our secular traditions.

I am asking you to join me in signing onto the Secular Coalition for America’s Nine Resolutions for Secular Citizens. I am asking you to make a commitment in your everyday life to help the Secular Coalition and citizens like me change the way our leaders are elected and our country is governed. By signing your name – first, last, or even anonymous – to the resolution, you will help us show that there is a big constituency for the issues the Secular Coalition fights for, and that we intend to be heard in the coming year.

Please go to the New Year’s Resolution sign-on list now and add your name to the hundreds who have already resolved to fight for increased respect and visibility for nontheists and our secular traditions in 2009.

They also have commented and sent a letter to President-elect Obama concerning the inclusion of Rick Warren in the inauguration ceremony on January 20th.

President-elect Obama announced the program for his inauguration this week, and it begins with an invocation from the Rev. Rick Warren, an evangelical mega church pastor. Although Obama and his spokesperson insist his inaugural will be inclusive and offer diverse viewpoints, the choice of two Protestants to open and close the ceremony suggests otherwise.

Obama Chooses Divisive Pastor