Cecil Bothwell is a city councillor in Asheville, North Carolina. That in itself is not remarkable, but Bothwell ran as an openly-atheist candidate.. Well, ol “Ain’t no gawd Cecil” dun tickery won the dag gum election. It seems that now, his opponents are seeking to have him stopped from taking office, because he doesn’t believe in an imaginary magic space zombie jew. (source)
Article 6, section 8 of the North Carolina Constitution says: “The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.” And it isn’t the only state that has such a requirement. (source).
Of course, those who seek to keep Bothwell from taking his seat seem to have forgotten that North Carolina was on the losing side of the War of Northern Aggression. Therefore, its Constitution, when it conflicts with the Constitution of the United States, doesn’t mean diddly. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution says: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States,” and in Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961), the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that the First Amendment bars all such requirements for office.
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.
I’d really love to see this one come to a head.
H/T: Friendly Atheist