Christian Requirement? SCOTUS Says No

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 16, 2017 0 comments

by Steve Risner

I asked an atheist friend in the middle of a conversation this question: “What freedoms do Christians have that others don't?” He responded with 2 things. We'll take a look at the first one today: “It is [expletive] hard to run for public office if you do not profess your love for Jesus Christ, and God help you, pun intended, if you are a person of no faith (the a- in atheism means NO or a LACK OF faith).”

What do you think of that? I believe that, from a fundamental or foundational stand point, this is not true. What I mean is there is no law (which is what this conversation was about originally) that states you are only able to hold office if you're a Christian. However, upon review, I do find there are some states with laws on the books that are contrary to my original belief. I don't find it surprising, actually, that some states would require their officials to acknowledge the existence of the Almighty (not be necessarily Christian but believe in God). We're a nation founded by Christian people on Christian principles that are meant to govern a predominantly Christian people. It would make sense that people would not be excited about an atheist leading them.

However, in 1961 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Tarcoso vs. Watkins that no government entity can force someone or require someone to profess a particular religion. So this is the official standing of the federal government of the United States. This means that my original contention is true: Christians do not get special treatment in the US based on their faith. However, I've found that 7 states do, in fact, have such laws still written in their books. I don't believe any of these states would enforce such a law and since the Supreme Court has ruled on this subject already, there is no way these states can enforce such laws. But, to my atheist friend's credit, these laws are still there nonetheless.

It seems like possibly the complaint here is that Americans, predominantly Christian, like electing Christians more than not. This seems rather an obvious point. For most authentic believers—followers of Christ—the part Christianity plays in their lives is of utmost importance. In other words, being a Christian means you hold a Biblical worldview and there's nothing more important. Having a Biblical worldview means a Christian puts a great deal of importance on their faith. There is nothing more important than Jesus Christ and knowing Him. Christ is life and defines life. So it only makes sense that a believer would want someone who shared this, the most important of influences. If there was an election where two people were going against each other and I shared a great deal of core values with one and at their core the other was the antithesis of those values, the choice I'd make seems rather obvious.

It's true that every single president ever elected in the United States claimed a faith in Jesus Christ. But we also know that for many of them that faith was simply for show—likely to sway Christian voters. I believe it would be very difficult for a man or woman to represent a group of people if they didn't share some basic beliefs. But, again, there is no law (enforceable law that is) that allows for this. The Supreme Court has thrown down any “religious test” as a requirement for office. Atheists make up a very small percentage of our population, so they just won't be able to have a great deal of support.

The tail end of his above statement is of interest. He wants to define “atheism” as “without belief.” From a very literal standpoint, this is impossible and is not what atheism means. I say it's impossible because no one doesn't believe anything. We all have beliefs. The theist believes in God. The atheist believes there is no God. It's not as much a negative statement—I don't believe in God—but it's a positive statement—I do believe there is no God. It's a religious statement. It's a worldview statement and will determine how the atheist sees the world.

To be sure, the atheist does have faith and faith in a great many things; God is just not one of them. He has faith in himself. He has faith in science so much so that he's elevated it to nearly the status of a god. He has faith in materialism and likely, but not necessarily, in humanism. He has faith in evolutionism and some sort of cosmogony (origin of the universe) myth like the Big Bang. He holds his faith in these things so deeply that he will completely ignore all the evidence that is contrary. This friend of mine will still say there is no evidence for the existence of God even after I've provided a great deal of it to him. He rejects all evidence that is contrary to his faith. This is because atheism is irrational and very inconsistent in my opinion.

Next week, we'll get into laws in places around the United States that seem to favor morality. The atheist has no basis for morality whatsoever. My friend believes many of these laws that favor morality are because of Christianity's influence. We'll talk a little about what morality is and why it's important, and we'll also look at where it comes from. I'm excited to get into that with you.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.