JoeyKnothead wrote: ↑Fri Nov 19, 2021 1:56 pm
bjs1 wrote: ↑Fri Nov 19, 2021 1:45 pm
Tennessee does not have the right to ban atheists from holding public office. While the law is on the books, it is unenforceable and there has been no effort to enforce it for the past 60 years.
My point in all this is that where the law remains on the books, it's just a matter of a judge, or the SC ruling the law legit, and atheists're then being banned from holding office.
That's why some states have abortion bans just waiting for Roe v Wade, et al, to be overturned.
There's also the symbolism involved - "We'd ban the atheists, if it weren't for federal overreach" (my term).
It is not the matter of “a judge” or the legislature to ban atheists from holding office. This would require an amendment to the US Constitution or an act of the Supreme Court.
SCOTUS could change the law of the land, but that is true for every law. It is theoretically possible for SCOUTUS to ban atheists, Christians, Muslims, or any other group from holing office. None of that is reasonably possible as this has been settled law for more than half a century.
I would not even compare this to Roe v. Wade, which continues to face regular challenges in court. I would compare it to the right to remain silent after an arrest (the protection against self-incrimination). This, like the right for atheists to hold public office, is settled law. While SCOTUS could overturn it at any moment, that is not reasonably going to happen.
I do agree that there is a symbolic issue at hand. While it is more likely an issue of failing to clean up outdate parts of the constitution, as opposed to a desire to actually ban atheists, the failure to remove the wording does carry symbolic weight. That is why I said the claim is a half-truth. It is not true that atheists are banned from holding office. It is true that the failure to clean up invalidated parts of the constitution creates a symbolic issue.