In clear violation of the First Amendment of the American Constitution (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”), it’s illegal for an atheist to be governor of South Carolina.
SECTION 2. Qualifications of Governor.
No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor who denies the existence of the Supreme Being; and who on the date of such election has not attained the age of thirty years; and who shall not have been a citizen of the United States and a citizen and resident of this State for five years next preceding the day of election. No person while Governor shall hold any office or other commission (except in the militia) under the authority of this State, or of any other power. (1972 (57) 3171; 1973 (58) 48.)
In 1997, this law was declared unconstitutional by South Carolina Supreme Court in Silverman v. Caroll Campbell et al.
We affirm the circuit court’s holding that South Carolina Constitution art. VI, § 2 and art. XVIII, § 4 violate the First Amendment and the Religious Test Clause of the United States Constitution. The appeals from the denial of summary judgment are dismissed, and the matter remanded for further proceedings.
The plaintiff here was atheist Herb Silverman, an emeritus math professor and founder of the Secular Coalition of America. He describes his frustrating (and humorous) quest to run for governor (and become a notary, which also requires swearing allegiance to God) in a piece called, “The candidate without a prayer,” apparently morphing into an upcoming book with the same title. Silverman also blogs at HuffPo. (See also his piece in The Washington Post.)
Meanwhile, as far as I can determine, the illegal provision is still there in the South Carolina constitution, at least in the latest version online. Presumably it’s awaiting appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
Here’s Silverman debating Uncle Karl in Charleston on the topic, “Does science make belief in God harder or easier?” Giberson admits explictly (at 10:45) that God raised Jesus from the dead. At 12:05 he says that Jesus was resurrected to atone for sin. I would also have asked him about the virgin birth and the Immaculate Conception.