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-Arkansas: Atheist Provision Needs to be Dropped

by Dr. D ~ February 20th, 2009

Arkansas state welcome sign

(-Image via Wikipedia)

There is a provision within the Arkansas state constitution that prohibits atheists from holding office and testifying in court.   there is now a bill before the Arkansas legislature to amend Article 19, Section 1, of the Arkansas Constitution which states:

“No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.”

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty which usually defends Christian rights has joined in support for the bill and sent a letter to the legislature with the following statement:

“The free expression of religious belief, together with what James Madison called ‘the full and equal rights of conscience,’ should apply to people of all religious traditions — including atheists. Government should no more penalize a person for professing atheism than for professing a belief in Christianity, Buddhism, or Islam.”

Although state officials say that the issue is moot since no one has enforced the provision for years, according to Eric Rassbach, national litigation director at the Becket Fund, removing this portion of the constitution is more than mere symbolism but an important affirmation of the freedom of religious expression in this country:

“It signals to U.S. citizens and to the rest of the world, that the freedom and sanctity of conscience — including the right to believe there is no God at all — is a fundamental right for all people.”

Reportedly, there are also similar provisions in the state constitutions of Texas and Tennessee

Response: This is probably the first time that I’ve supported atheists on any issue. However, I believe that it is important for Christians to support the elimination of this provision, there should be no place in America for this type of discrimination.

There are many Muslim nations which have similar legal provisions that limit the rights of Christians. Christians need to stand up and consistently support the freedom of religious belief and full expression everywhere, including Arkansas and even in Texas and Tennessee.            *Top

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1 Response to -Arkansas: Atheist Provision Needs to be Dropped

  1. Wikipedia » -Arkansas: Atheist Provision Needs to be Dropped

    […] ANSWERS For The Faith wrote an interesting post today on -Arkansas: Atheist Provision Needs to be DroppedHere’s a quick excerpt(-Image via Wikipedia ) There is a provision within the Arkansas state constitution that prohibits atheists from holding office and testifying in court.   there is now a bill before the Arkansas legislature to amend Article 19, Section 1, of the Arkansas Constitution which states: “No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.” The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty whic […]

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