Not Even Truthy: AFA’s Fischer Says States Can Apply Religious Tests
He took a break from his usual doomsday warnings this week to offer readers some great news: Even though the federal government can’t require public officials to pass religious tests, individual states can!
“Sheer nonsense,” Ayesha Khan, legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told Hatewatch.
Why? Because fully 50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that “neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person ‘to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.’”
The case in question, Torcaso v. Watkins, revolved around a Maryland rule requiring public officials to affirm belief in God as part of their oath of office. An atheist named Roy Torcaso refused and was denied confirmation as a notary public as a result.
Maryland’s high court upheld the rule, reasoning absurdly that since Torcaso wasn’t “compelled to hold public office,” the oath did not violate his constitutional rights. The Supreme Court disagreed utterly.