Friday, December 05, 2014

Ra bless Texas!

I'd like to say 'Hail Satan!' just to piss off some Christians, but of course I don't believe he or Hell exists, either.

Texas atheists, breathe a sigh of relief. While it may not be easy for you to be elected to public office here if you fly the banner of secularism, the state Constitution won’t bar you from running.

The issue of religious preference and who is eligible to run for Texas political office was exhumed – again – this week after Austin City Council candidate Laura Pressley distributed a mailer claiming her opponent Gregorio “Greg” Casar was an atheist and therefore legally barred from holding public office in the Lone Star State.

“As someone who’s on record saying he doesn’t believe in God, Casar can’t legally represent North Austin’s District 4 on the City Council,” the Austin American Statesman reported Dec. 1.

Yep, that's what has always discouraged me from running, that's for sure.

Pressley referenced Article 1, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution, which states, “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.” (italics Lauren McGaughey's)

While the article indeed remains on the books in Texas – and several Southern states – it’s been proven time and time again to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“There’s no question is that it is void and unenforceable,” said Keith Werhan, the Ashton Phelps Chair of Constitutional Law at the Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans. University of Houston Professor Brandon Rottinghaus said such provisions provided a “post-reconstruction approach to making sure religion still had a place” in former Confederate states.

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution bars such religious litmus for those running for federal office, and the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated such provisions in state Constitutions in 1961. In Texas, the last time the article was discussed in the 1980s between Madalyn Murray O’Hair, a voter, and then-Attorney General Jim Maddox, according to Texas Monthly.

In a federal court agreement, Maddox said the article “is void and of no further effect in that it is in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Nice to be reminded that if this blogging thing doesn't work out that I can always fall back on a career of public service.

Hail Satan anyway!

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Make sure to hire me as your wingman!

That said, I'm starting to get tired of these "God put me in the right place" or "God delivered us" nutteries.

Per what I said on G+, why didn't dog stop Steve McQuilliams long before?