Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 54505
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2022/05/26 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
5/26    

2012/10/18-12/4 [Reference/Law/Court, Reference/Religion] UID:54505 Activity:nil
10/18   Holy s*** I didn't know Atheists are banned from holding
        public office in the US:
        http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/184232/these-7-states-ban-atheists-from-holding-public-office
        \_ Yeah, those laws are pretty embarrassing, but they're ancient and
           unenforceable.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torcaso_v._Watkins
           \_ Are these the same states that ban garage sales unless you're
              selling your garage?
2022/05/26 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
5/26    

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torcaso_v._Watkins
Maryland Court of Appeals held that the requirement for a declaration of belief in God as a qualification for office was self-executing. The Court of Appeals justified its decision: The petitioner is not compelled to believe or disbelieve, under threat of punishment or other compulsion. True, unless he makes the declaration of belief, he cannot hold public office in Maryland, but he is not compelled to hold office. Everson v Board of Education (1947): The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. Hugo Black recalled Everson v Board of Education, and explicitly linked Torcaso v Watkins to its conclusions: There is, and can be, no dispute about the purpose or effect of the Maryland Declaration of Rights requirement before us - it sets up a religious test which was designed to and, if valid, does bar every person who refuses to declare a belief in God from holding a public "office of profit or trust" in Maryland. We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person "to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion." Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs. Rebuffing the judgment of the Maryland Court of Appeals, Justice Black added: The fact, however, that a person is not compelled to hold public office cannot possibly be an excuse for barring him from office by state-imposed criteria forbidden by the Constitution. In Footnote 1 of the opinion Justice Black wrote: Appellant also claimed that the State's test oath requirement violates the provision of Art. VI of the Federal Constitution that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." Because we are reversing the judgment on other grounds, we find it unnecessary to consider appellant's contention that this provision applies to state as well as federal offices. The question of whether the no religious test clause binds the states remains unresolved. Given the Court's First Amendment holding, that issue is largely academic. This assertion is based on a reference, by Justice Black, in a footnote (number 11) to the court's finding, to court cases where organized groups of self-identified Humanists, or Ethicists, meeting on a regular basis to share and celebrate their beliefs, have been granted religious-based tax exemptions. In fact, prior to its use by Justice Black, the term "Secular Humanism" had never before been used in any court case, and it is unclear why Justice Black used the term in this instance, other than to perhaps emphasize the groups' non-belief in any divine force.