Atheists banned from public service in 5 states - WTF!

This is ludicrous! The comments on the website were apt.: What if an atheist witnesses a murder? Oh, gee, sorry, can't testify!


Arkansas, 5 Other States, Ban Atheists from Public Service. Seriously
February 17, 2009 05:00 PM ET | Bonnie Erbe | Permanent Link | Print

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

Can it be constitutional to exclude from public service or service as a witness in a state court any and all atheists? Such a practice is so throw-back in nature, that it reminds one of the Spanish Inquisition. And yet, when I read the first part of this Washington Post piece, I was flabbergasted to find that Arkansas is one of a half-dozen states that does so. Read on and be flabbergasted (or not) yourself. But know in advance that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled illegal all such laws in 1961:

Hard to say what was more remarkable about the resolution that was read into the record and referred to committee Wednesday by a member of the 87th Arkansas General Assembly.

The resolution itself: HJR 1009: AMENDING THE ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION TO REPEAL THE PROHIBITION AGAINST AN ATHEIST HOLDING ANY OFFICE IN THE CIVIL DEPARTMENTS OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS OR TESTIFYING AS A WITNESS IN ANY COURT.

Or the fact that it was submitted by the Green Party's highest-ranking elected official in America, state Rep. Richard Carroll of North Little Rock, who was elected in November winning more than 80 percent of the vote in his district.

Arkansas is one of half a dozen states that still exclude non-believers from public office. Article 19 Section 1 of the 1874 Arkansas Constitution states that "No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.

There is a special place in heaven for atheists who have to endure such nonsense. Yes, I'm kidding.

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/erbe/2009/02/17/arkansas-5-other-states-ban-atheists-from-public-service-seriously.html

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Comment by MJ on February 21, 2009 at 10:19pm
I'm not sure what the other states are...
Comment by ObscureAtheist on February 21, 2009 at 3:24am
Oooooh in USA too !!? so we are not alone! even they are some people in USA who are suffering from some same problems that i suffer in Iran !
Comment by unholyroller on February 20, 2009 at 11:03pm
I doubt that they thought at all. I don't think they're capable. And.....WTF...This has to be illegal!!?! This is so typical of the head-up-the-ass attitude of christians. BTW...what are the other states? I just know Oklahoma is on the list.
Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on February 20, 2009 at 10:11pm
Bonnie Erbe got her facts slightly wrong. The Green guy was the "good" guy - he is trying to get the rediculous law repealed.

Can we list the other States here? We have Arkansas and Maryland. There are five others. What are they?
Comment by Planetologist on February 20, 2009 at 2:56pm
The interesting irony here is that anyone in those states could avoid testifying about anything, at any time, simply by claiming to be an atheist. If I were in the mob, I'd be moving into those states tomorrow, with plans for starting an atheist club as a front operation. No one could ever compel any of my goons to testify against each other - or me - in state courts.

Somehow I doubt the law's framers thought very far ahead, to have missed that exploit.
Comment by Agent Chaos on February 20, 2009 at 1:28pm
I live in Maryland. A state that has that ban.

I really don't get that ban. It would be more logical to ban theists. Most places look down on people that talk to themselves.
Comment by MJ on February 20, 2009 at 1:04pm
Also, Arkansas failed in their 1874 constitution to define God... they merely say "a god"... so, it could be anything one wishes to classify as "God"... hmmm....

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