Bush Sets Religious Litmus Test For Judges

August 2002

(Washington, DC--June 28, 2002) Yesterday President Bush denounced the common sense San Francisco court ruling that decided children should not have to feel coerced to give false statements of sectarian belief in public school. With this decision by the court, there is now a hope that the Pledge of Allegiance can be returned to its original form, without the "under God" wording that the Knights of Columbus lobbied successfully for in the 1950s.

Bush then went on to establish a criterion of particular religious belief for judicial appointments, saying, "I believe that it points up the fact that we need common sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God. Those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench."

"Bush's public statement of intent to discriminate on religious grounds makes a mockery of the US Constitution," says Tony Hileman, executive director of the American Humanist Association (AHA). Article VI of the Constitution states "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Hileman continues, "Bush ignores the 30 million Americans who identify with no religion, as well as faithful Buddhists, Hindus and others who do not subscribe to his monotheistic test for judicial competency.

"We have begun to mobilize the Humanist community across the nation to speak-out against this outrageous violation of our rights as American citizens. Not only are we activating our network of 62 AHA chapters and 18 affiliate groups, we are also reaching out to the broader community of reason, made up of atheists, skeptics, agnostics, freethinkers and others.

"'One nation under God' is clearly an unconstitutional endorsement of religion," states Hileman. "While the US Supreme Court has ruled in the past that it is not a requirement of public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, students without sectarian faith were placed in the intimidating position of either refusing in front of their peers to recite the Pledge or being forced to pledge to something they do not believe."

"...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

--Article VI, U.S. Constitution