The American constitution enshrines the freedom of belief. All citizens are therefore equal before the law whether or not they profess any specific religious creed. However, 7 seven states still have bans on atheists holding office in America. This article by Kristina M. Lee is published by the Tennessee Lookout. Here is an excerpt:
Tennessee’s Constitution includes a provision that bars three groups from holding office: atheists, ministers and those engaging in duels. Efforts are under way in the state legislature to remove this exclusion for ministers, but not for duelists – or atheists.
In January 2021, Republican Tennessee State Senator Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, proposed Senate Joint Resolution 55 to amend Article IX of the Constitution of Tennessee to rid it of a clause that states “no minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legislature.” No mention is made in Pody’s resolution about Section 2 of the same article: “No person who denies the being of God … shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.” Nor for that matter does the current bill mention Section 3’s objection to those who participate, aid or abet a duel.
When Pody was asked why his resolution removes only the ban on ministers, his response was that it is best to clean up the constitution “one simple step at a time.”
Read the full article here.