No Religious Test

Krista - posted on 07/15/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I'm very curious about this. The United States Constitution says, "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

From what I have seen of a lot of conservative people, they are pretty strict originalists when it comes to the Constitution, and believe that it is unchanging, unchangeable, and that it contains the values for the entire nation.

Fair enough.

So why is it okay for certain states to institute their own religious tests?

Eight states (Texas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, (Article XIV, Section 265), Pennsylvania (Article 1 Section 4), North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) do include language in their Bill of Rights, Declaration of Rights, or in the body of their constitutions that requires state office-holders to have particular religious beliefs; while one state (Pennsylvania) specifically protects office-holders with religious belief, remaining silent on whether those without such beliefs are also protected

Why are these states allowed to violate their own country's constitution? Do you feel that they are right in doing so? Should they be allowed to do so? And if so, how do you reconcile these states' actions with the U.S. Constitution's own words?

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ME - posted on 07/15/2011

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While I don't agree with religious tests for government office (by any stretch of the imagination) I do think it's worth pointing out that in this country, change often happens at the state level first and then moves on to the broader American Culture...It's actually what terrifies me about the changes happening in women's rights, education, civil rights, voting rights, labor rights, etc, all across the country right now...if those movements from individual states catch on, we are all doomed...

Pamela - posted on 01/06/2012

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Speaking as a Christian I don't feel there should be religious tests in regards to holding office. Naturally we might want decent people who can govern well - I would have no problem seeing an atheist in our highest office as long as they have the qualifications. Mainly I don't see our country as primarily christian; it is too diverse and if only "christians" (I use this term broadly - I think it is used to manipulate people) are permitted into office, then a large segment of the population will not be represented. Furthermore I agree with Mary's assessment of the reality that in many states, women's rights, civil rights, labor and voting seem to be on the block - I certainly don't want to see this on a national scale by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes I wonder if much of the "states rights" argument is more code for...dare I say it...racism. Not always perhaps, but often. What do you ladies think?

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Wow, that is really interesting. I had no idea some states do this (including my own!) Will have to further look into this. I think people may want to KNOW what the beliefs of a candidate are, but I don't think it should be REQUIRED that they believe some specific thing. Bizarre.

[deleted account]

Of course it's wrong. We need people in those states to challenge those rules. For everyone's sake. Christians need to realize that the more theocracy creeps into our lives, the less chance it is their religious vision and someone else's. Then they're doomed just like we heathens.

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