While Article 6 of the United States Constitution prohibits a religious test for office, for far too long, the stigma of being openly secular has imposed a de facto religious test on candidates for elected office. A 2015 poll conducted by Gallup showed that only 58% of Americans would consider voting for a well-qualified candidate for president if the candidate was an atheist.
The Secular Coalition for America does not endorse candidates for office however a crucial component of our mission is promoting the visibility of, and respect for, nontheists. To that end, this page serves to highlight the openly secular candidates across the country who are countering this harmful prejudice by proudly running for public office.
Seven State Constitutions Still Have Religious Test Language in their Constitutions
In May 2016, the Secular Coalition implemented a grassroots campaign during Texas’ local precinct and county conventions, submitting secular planks to be considered by the platform committee at the state party conventions. Three secular planks including one calling for a repeal of the religious test in the Texas Constitution, were officially incorporated as clauses in the Texas Democratic Party platform.
While it is unconstitutional for a state to enforce a religious test for office, seven states have still failed to strike religious test language from their constitutions. As a founding partner of the Openly Secular campaign, the Secular Coalition is working toward removing this language from the respective constitutions in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Find out more by checking out the Secular Constitutions Report.