::No Religious Test Clause


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{{#invoke:Sidebar|sidebar}} The No Religious Test Clause of the United States Constitution is found in Article VI, paragraph 3, and states that:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.Unknown extension tag "ref"

This has been interpreted to mean that no federal employee, whether elected or appointed, career or political, can be required to adhere to or accept any religion or belief. This clause immediately follows one requiring all federal and state officers to take an oath or affirmation of support to the Constitution, indicating that the requirement of such a statement does not imply any requirement by those so sworn to accept a particular religion or a particular doctrine. The option of giving an "affirmation" (rather than an "oath") can be interpreted as not requiring any religious belief or as a nod to Mennonites and Quakers who would not swear oaths but would make affirmations. This does not apply to voters, who are free to apply a religious test or any other test of their devising to their consciences before casting their secret ballot for a candidate for federal office; it only means that the federal government may not refuse to swear-in and seat an elected official based on a religious test of their devising.

The clause is cited by advocates of separation of church and state as an example of "original intent" of the Framers of the Constitution of avoiding any entanglement between church and state, or involving the government in any way as a determiner of religious beliefs or practices. This is significant because this clause represents the words of the original Framers, even prior to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

No Religious Test Clause sections
Intro  Background  Forced oaths  State law  Notes   References   

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