Any American can run for political office if he/she has enough money, a basic knowledge of politics, a fair education and a talent for speaking in public. You can be gay/lesbian, black, oriental or even physically disabled. However, you must have religion and a Christian one at that. I don't think a Muslim is acceptable unless he/she is a bonafide peaceful Muslim and has spoken out against terrorists.
You can be all these things, except being an atheist. Public distrust of non-believers is not the only reason atheists very seldom run for office. Running for a seat in state legislatures as an atheist is actually prohibited in some states. It is illegal according to the state constitutions of Tennessee, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Maryland, and Mississippi.
It will change eventually. It will change soon.
there are some atheists and agnostics in the south USA but they are out numbered by 1000 to 1. they are surrounded all day long by bible thumpers who see education as useless or scary or "the devil's work". the more they keep encouraging people to care about the bible the more people become uneducated because they think they have the answers. it does not help being ridiculed if you come out as a atheist or agnostic while being surrounded by religious or "spiritual" people.
k.h. ky, I know it must feel that way. But if you are in Kentucky, you might visit the Humanist group in Lexington. It meets in a Unitarian church (or did a while back, when I was in touch with one member), and a number of its members are also Unitarian. If there's a Unitarian church near you, you might pay it a visit. Most if not all Unitarian churches accept open atheists.
There is going to be a scandal in my area. The mayor is pissed and cheif of police and others have resigned. One cop killed an unarmed man and the city has collected an estimated $100,000 plus in fines from speeders on the highway, and all that money is missing. Nobody knows anything but all is connected and the murdered man is presumed to have been working both sides of the law because they put him in a bad position. Now we have 2 cops and they can no longer patrol the highway for speeders. The highway patrol does that. If you need the cops after hours you have to call the county now. It's a big mess.
I have been approached to run for mayor because the incombent is so involved. The idea is to get elected and make my area unincorporated again, which instantly puts me out of a job. I know what they want here, but I wouldn't touch this with a 10 foot pole. I'm a veteran and could be known as the last mayor, but I have better things to do.
Whomever they run for this, the end result will put us back to where we were before all the corruption.