We learned something new today. Er.
This is just straight up not true. Or at least, not of Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Maryland (and completely unenforceable in the other states). Pennsylvania’s wording:
No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania doesn’t actually ban atheists from holding public office, it just doesn’t explicitly include them in their protections in this article (but it does in the section right before it, emphasis mine):
All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship.
And this court case which was ruled on by the United States Supreme Court EXPLICITLY struck down the ruling in Maryland. Similar laws on the books in other states are therefore anachronistic relics that can’t be enforced since the supreme court was pretty clear on this.
Oh, and South Carolina struck it down in their state supreme court as well.
Yup, thanks for pointing this out. We noted this previously, but since we let the cat out of the bag in the first place, we’re re-upping the correction. We’ll be more careful in the future when it comes to charts we find on the Internet.