Discrimination by States
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Discrimination of "non-religious persons"

by State's Constitutions.

The good news:

These phrases are historical relics, left over from earlier times. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution supersedes any applicable statutory laws and sections of State's Constitutions. It thus nullifies the effect of the below clauses.

 What follows was copied from:  www.religioustolerance.org 

The Bill of Rights of the Texas Constitution (Article I, Section 4) allows people to be excluded from holding office on religious grounds. An official may be "excluded from holding office" if she/he does not "acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being." This form of religious intolerance is not limited to Texas. Six other states ( MA, MD, NC, PA, SC and TN) all have similar  language included in their Bill of Rights, Declaration of Rights, or in the body of their constitutions. 

In a few states whose constitutions include the text of the oath of office, the candidate must swear an oath to God. Such an oath would prevent ethical non-theists from taking office.

However, now that these Constitutions include discriminatory and intolerant language, the states are probably stuck with it. The passages will forever affirm that people who follow some minority religions were considered unreliable second-class citizens of questionable morality -- at least at the time that the state constitutions were written. They could only be removed through constitutional change; this requires at least a majority vote of the citizens of the state.

Religious discrimination in state constitutions:

We have highlighted the most important sentences in the following articles and sections:
bulletMaryland's Bill of Rights: Article 36:
That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore, no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion, or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent, or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain, any place of worship, or any ministry; nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness, or juror, on account of his religious belief; provided, he believes in the existence of God, and that under His dispensation such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefore either in this world or in the world to come."

Comments: In this state, a juror or witness might be considered incompetent if they do not believe in the existence of God. Although humans worship many Gods, the Article does not specify which one is being referred to; presumably it is the Judeo-Christian deity.
bulletMassachusetts' Declaration of Rights: 
bulletArticle III:
"As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily."

The constitution allows individual municipal bodies to tax everyone (Anglicans, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Protestants, non-believers, etc.) in order to maintain Protestant clergy.
"...every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law."

Comments: All Christian denominations are considered of equal status, and are to be equally protected under the law. Non-Christian groups appear to be left out in the cold.
bulletNorth Carolina's Constitution, Article 6 Sec. 8:
" Disqualifications of office. The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God...."

Comments: "Almighty God" apparently refers to the Judeo-Christian God. This Section would appear to disqualify anyone who is not a Christian or Jew from holding office in the State.
bulletPennsylvania Declaration of Rights: Article 1, Section 4:
"No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth."

Comments: Apparently anyone who denies the existence of God OR who denies the existence of heaven and hell can be held ineligible to hold office or be a member of the PA civil service.
bulletSouth Carolina's Constitution, Article 4 Section 2:
" Person denying existence of Supreme Being not to hold office. No person who denies the existence of the Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution." 

Comments: "The Supreme Being" apparently refers specifically to the Judeo-Christian God. This Section would appear to disqualify anyone who is not a Christian or Jew from holding office in the State.
bulletSouth Dakota: We could not locate a copy of its Constitution on the Internet.
bulletTennessee's Bill of Rights: Article 9:
bulletSection 4: " That no political or religious test, other than an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of this state, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state."
bulletSection 2. " No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state."

Comments:  Section 4 says that there is to be no religious test. Section 2 is that there is a religious test. Nobody who denies God or heaven or hell can hold office.

bulletTexas' Bill of Rights Section 4:
" RELIGIOUS TESTS: No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

Comments: As noted above, only theists can hold office civil servant in Texas.

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