Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Reminder

Image credit: National Archives

Just to review, because it seems that occasionally major party candidates for the U.S. Senate forget this, this is where the Constitution mandates the separation of church and state. In Article 6, it says:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

U.S. Constitution - Article 6
[emphasis added]

As you can see, that bit even applies to Senators.

The other place it is mentioned is in the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

U.S. Constitution - Amendment 1
[emphasis added, of course]

These are the only places that religion is mentioned in the entire document. Further, the Fourteenth Amendment explains that this rule applies to how the government treats everyone who is an American citizen:
1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

U.S. Constitution: Fourteenth Amendment
It should be pretty obvious, to anyone who ever studied elementary logic at least, that the people who wrote that document didn't want any religion in charge of the government. Yes, that means even if that religion happens to be the majority religion. Whether that class of people includes any candidates running for the United States Senate these days is an open question, but whether the Constitution mandates separation of church and state is not.

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