8 states still ban atheists from holding political office

jono
jono Members Posts: 30,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited July 2014 in The Social Lounge
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Thinking about running for office? Better make sure you have a likable personality, a set of strong political viewpoints ... and a belief in ? .

In the eight states highlighted on the Washington Post map above, atheists are legally forbidden from holding public office. Arkansas and Tennessee are theoretically even more restrictive — the former won't let atheists testify in court either, while the latter also requires you to believe in "a future state of rewards and punishment."

Here's a key point, though: These laws aren't enforced, thanks to a 1961 Supreme Court ruling in which a notary public was denied his office by Maryland's governor because he wouldn't express a belief in ? . The court ruled that such a restriction violates the First and 14th Amendments.


More than legal barriers: While they can't be enforced, the laws remain on the books, providing at the very least a symbolic roadblock to running for office as an atheist. That sort of mentality is what creates real obstacles, and not just in the eight states shown on that map.

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Image Credit: Gallup

A 2012 Gallup poll found that 43% of respondents would not vote for an atheist for president, making the group the least-supported of any Gallup asked about. (As you can see in the table above, 40% of respondents said they wouldn't vote for a Muslim, while 30% said they wouldn't vote for a ? or lesbian candidate.)

A Pew study this year showed similar results with a less political bent. It found that 53% of Americans believe it's "necessary to believe in ? to be moral." And who wants an immoral politician?
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Comments

  • jono
    jono Members Posts: 30,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I already know this will be moved but before it does folks need to see this
  • LUClEN
    LUClEN Members Posts: 20,559 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What about agnostics?
  • Ajackson17
    Ajackson17 Members Posts: 22,501 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Trashboat wrote: »
    What about agnostics?

    Probably same boat even less.
  • Rubato Garcia
    Rubato Garcia Members Posts: 4,912 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2014
    There are many more atheist politicians than you think, but they have to put up a front to get votes.
  • jono
    jono Members Posts: 30,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
    There are many more atheist politicians than you think, but they have to put on a front to get votes.

    This is true. Same with ? , in politics people still have to hide who they are to get around discrimination.
  • So ILL
    So ILL Members Posts: 16,507 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Somehow, I knew it would be a bunch of southern states before I clicked the thread.
  • Plutarch
    Plutarch Members Posts: 3,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The most important point is that those bans aren't enforced, so I don't see the big deal. Lots of states have plenty of outdated and stupid laws that aren't enforced, and these bans just happen to be some of them. For example, in Connecticut, it's apparently illegal to walk across the street on your hands.

    I get what your point though. If a politician makes it public that he is an atheist, he'll lose some support. I remember hearing about a poll that said that Americans would vote for a satanist rather than an atheist. Hilarious.
  • VIBE
    VIBE Members Posts: 54,384 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Has the point that it violates the constitution been brought up?

  • jono
    jono Members Posts: 30,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
    VIBE wrote: »
    Has the point that it violates the constitution been brought up?

    Yeah, I thought I bolded it. Unconstitutional and invalid although they may be...you can't force people to vote for an atheist/agnostic and the polls included show folks would rather vote for someone ? than an atheist.

    That's insane.
  • LUClEN
    LUClEN Members Posts: 20,559 ✭✭✭✭✭
    jono wrote: »
    VIBE wrote: »
    Has the point that it violates the constitution been brought up?

    Yeah, I thought I bolded it. Unconstitutional and invalid although they may be...you can't force people to vote for an atheist/agnostic and the polls included show folks would rather vote for someone ? than an atheist.

    That's insane.

    Not really

    If the country is deeply Christian a ? believer is more likely to adhere to that belief system than a hetero atheist
  • Rubato Garcia
    Rubato Garcia Members Posts: 4,912 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Just another example of the tyranny of the majority. Word to Tocqueville...
  • StillFaggyAF
    StillFaggyAF Members Posts: 40,358 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2014
    who cares honestly...atheists are more annoying than christians sometimes
  • zombie
    zombie Members Posts: 13,450 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2014
    You can't trust an atheist, because he believes in nothing

  • jono
    jono Members Posts: 30,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
    zombie wrote: »
    You can't trust an atheist, because he believes in nothing

    Christians have done an awesome job running the country into the ground, certainly don't think an atheist could do worst.

    But you know actually being able to do te job...competently isn't a prerequisite for getting it, being a wasp is.
  • VIBE
    VIBE Members Posts: 54,384 ✭✭✭✭✭
    zombie wrote: »
    You can't trust an atheist, because he believes in nothing

    A man who believes in "nothing" cannot be trusted for what reason?
  • VIBE
    VIBE Members Posts: 54,384 ✭✭✭✭✭
    jono wrote: »
    VIBE wrote: »
    Has the point that it violates the constitution been brought up?

    Yeah, I thought I bolded it. Unconstitutional and invalid although they may be...you can't force people to vote for an atheist/agnostic and the polls included show folks would rather vote for someone ? than an atheist.

    That's insane.

    I skimmed it, not even really reading.

    I understand you can't "force" someone to vote for a candidate that's an atheist, but are we ultimately forced to vote for a religious president?
  • jono
    jono Members Posts: 30,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
    VIBE wrote: »
    jono wrote: »
    VIBE wrote: »
    Has the point that it violates the constitution been brought up?

    Yeah, I thought I bolded it. Unconstitutional and invalid although they may be...you can't force people to vote for an atheist/agnostic and the polls included show folks would rather vote for someone ? than an atheist.

    That's insane.

    I skimmed it, not even really reading.

    I understand you can't "force" someone to vote for a candidate that's an atheist, but are we ultimately forced to vote for a religious president?

    By virtue of us only having them for an option yes we are.
  • Mister B.
    Mister B. Members, Writer Posts: 16,172 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2014
    So ILL wrote: »
    Somehow, I knew it would be a bunch of southern states before I clicked the thread.

    Damn shame PA is including in this fuckery,tho.


    And here's somewhat of an update: it's actually 7 states - MD, PA, TX, SC, MS, AR, & TN (thank you, North Carolina)

    ? these places...read for yourself
  • zombie
    zombie Members Posts: 13,450 ✭✭✭✭✭
    jono wrote: »
    zombie wrote: »
    You can't trust an atheist, because he believes in nothing

    Christians have done an awesome job running the country into the ground, certainly don't think an atheist could do worst.

    But you know actually being able to do te job...competently isn't a prerequisite for getting it, being a wasp is.

    At the end of the day christians have done lots of bad things in america but christians have also been responsible for most of the good done in america. so it is what it is and most people simply do not trust you godless swine. I would sooner vote for a hindu
  • zombie
    zombie Members Posts: 13,450 ✭✭✭✭✭
    VIBE wrote: »
    zombie wrote: »
    You can't trust an atheist, because he believes in nothing

    A man who believes in "nothing" cannot be trusted for what reason?

    people don't want to have someone who has no reason to feel humility, compassion or caring in control.

    the idea that there is no ? just does not sit right with people, for many atheism simply does not make sense.
  • VIBE
    VIBE Members Posts: 54,384 ✭✭✭✭✭
    So, an athiest lacks the ability to have emotions that relate to the people?
  • zombie
    zombie Members Posts: 13,450 ✭✭✭✭✭
    VIBE wrote: »
    So, an athiest lacks the ability to have emotions that relate to the people?

    No, that's not what i said what i tried to imply was people don't trust you Atheist because you make up their own morals.

    we can never know why you feel the way you do, what is your reasoning for your ethics
  • Rubato Garcia
    Rubato Garcia Members Posts: 4,912 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Every man should have his own code of ethics.
  • zombie
    zombie Members Posts: 13,450 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Every man should have his own code of ethics.

    yes, but if you are an atheist i can't know why you follow that code what is your reason for having one beyond simple pleasure or personal goals
  • Rubato Garcia
    Rubato Garcia Members Posts: 4,912 ✭✭✭✭✭
    zombie wrote: »
    Every man should have his own code of ethics.

    yes, but if you are an atheist i can't know why you follow that code what is your reason for having one beyond simple pleasure or personal goals

    I was just raised right I guess. Taught to be respectful and conscientious. That mixed with a that bit of natural altruism we all have as humans, nature plus nurture.