Atheism in Laws of The South United States

the Supreme Court & State of Tennessee,
South Carolina and Kentucky
Tennessee state flag

"The man who has the hardihood to avow that he does not believe in a God, shows a recklessness of moral character and utter want of moral responsibility, such as very little entitles him to be heard or believed in a court of justice in a country designated as Christian."
-- the Supreme Court of Tennessee, 1871 [Smith, 4]

Constitution of the State of Tennessee
Article IX Disqualifications

Section 2. No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

This is in direct contradiction to the TN Declaration of Rights:
Article 1 Declaration of Rights
Sec. 3. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship.
Sec. 4. That no political or religious test, other than an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state.
The Tennessee 1870 constitution stood unchanged until 1953, when it was
first amended. Further amendments followed in 1960, 1966, 1972 and 1978.

South Carolina General Assembly Constitution
Article 17 Miscellaneous Matters Section 4
SECTION 4. Supreme Being.

No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being
shall hold any office under this Constitution.

Kentucky Constitution, Section 5
Right of Religious Freedom

No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

thanks to Aidan Murphy for the info on South Carolina & Kentucky

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created 1jun1996, revised 20mar98     |     comments on this site? tpkunesh@atheisms.info