Believe in God? No? N.C. constitution says you can't hold public office | News
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Believe in God? No? N.C. constitution says you can't hold public office

Posted by on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 8:44 AM

It's that time of year when we hear about the alleged war on Christmas, the war on God—battles manufactured by the religious right to stir up the fundamentalist troops snoozing in the pews.

Well, while religion is waning in public life, it's not a war, but more like a "meh."

The "war," one could argue, is on nonbelievers, at least when it comes to holding public office.

The New York Times published an interesting article about seven states that still have language in their constitutions saying people who don't believe in God can't hold public office. North Carolina—shocking!—is one of them. This, despite a 1961 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said states could not impose "religious tests" on people seeking office.

This is the exact language in the state constitution:

"Sec. 8. Disqualifications for office.
The following persons shall be disqualified for office:
First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

So who would this disqualify? Not only atheists and agnostics, but depending on your definition of "Almighty God," Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians, Jains, Sikhs, Shintos, Taoists, Druids, Wiccans, naturalists, humanists, practitioners of Eckankar, Santeria, Bah'ai and Chinese, Native American, Australian Aboriginal and African folk religions.

The Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project has a full list of beliefs and non-beliefs that could technically prohibit a non-deist from being a register of deeds, a soil and water district supervisor or governor.

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