Monday, December 31, 2007

Vestigial Religious Bigotry

Vestigial Religious Bigotry

Religious bigotry has perhaps a special place in American culture, going as far back as the founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony. More than other prejudices, it retains considerable respectability in wide swathes of the public. Hence a shocking 53% of Americans say they would not cast a vote for president under any circumstances for an atheist. It's a mark of the resilience of religious prejudice that this standard of bigotry toward atheists, which had dropped in Gallup polls from 74% to 48% between 1959 and 1987, has bounced back up a full 5% since 1999. And this despite the fact that Article VI of the U.S. Constitution prohibits religious tests for office-holding.

Discrimination based upon creed, in general, remains acceptable in America to a shocking extent. It comes as no news to me, who bears this pagan pseudonym, that I cannot aspire to elected public office. And yet some information regarding religious discrimination, forwarded to me recently by Georgia10, came as something of a surprise. It turns out that eight states (AR, MA, MD, NC, PA, SC, TN, and TX) retain clauses in their constitutions that explicitly endorse or require discrimination based upon religious belief.

Check this one out. It's not necessarily a big horrifying thing in itself, but I agree with the author of this post that these legal remnants (and the fact that they've been allowed to remain) are glaring signs of a deeper problem.

No comments: