By Joe Rogers
Framers of the 1890 Constitution wanted to make sure that heathens couldn’t seize control of Mississippi.
“No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this State,” Section 265 reads.
The provenance goes all the way back to the original 1817 Constitution, Article VI, Section 6: “No person who denies the being of God, or of a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this State.”
With some minor wording variations, the same prohibition was in the 1832 and 1869 Constitutions, as well.
A problem – and this is not a minor problem – is that 50-plus years ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that such bans violate the United States Constitution.
Yet Mississippi and six other states still have them on the books.
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