Religious Test, Schmeligious Test, Gov. Mike Parson Will Appoint Only Christians

jesus wink GIF

Earlier this week, Don Kauerauf, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's nominee for director of the state's health department, was rejected by the Missouri Senate and officially withdrew his bid for the position. Why? Because he said that vaccines worked, were good, and that people should get them, and that frightened a number of Republican senators who believe that such sentiments are a threat to their freedoms.

Said senators were also very furious with Gov. Parson for not having consulted them on who they would have liked to direct the health department — probably that one lady who is always going on about demon sperm.

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Alas, in some disputes, there are no good actors, and such is the case with this one. I suppose that there is some universe in which Gov. Parson could have stood up for his candidate in a way that would make some people say, "Well, you've got to give it to Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parson on this one," but that is definitely not what happened. Rather, he "supported" Kauerauf by tweeting about how fond he is of violating Article VI, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution.

You know, the one that reads:

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.

In his tweet thread, Gov. Parson explained that Kauerauf opposed masking requirements, vaccine mandates, and abortion, adding that "Missourians know that I share these beliefs and would not have nominated someone who does not share the same Christian values."

If a person can't get nominated for state health director in Missouri if they are not a Christian, that is a clear violation of the No Religious Test clause. Governor Parson has repeatedly stated his great love of the Constitution, as it applies to what he thinks the Second Amendment is, so we must assume he is aware that religious tests are verboten and is confessing to knowingly violating the Constitution.

Of course, it is entirely possible that Parson thinks that "Christian values" is a term interchangeable with "good values," is not aware that non-Christians exist in the United States, thinks that atheists are just Christians who are "angry at God," or thinks the whole "religious test" thing just means you can't require people to join a particular sect of Christianity in order to hold office (as I have actually heard people argue). Although those would almost be worse.

Although it's not actually enforceable, as per the 1961 Supreme Court decision Torcaso v. Watkins, seven states still have laws on the books prohibiting atheists from holding office — Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas. Tennessee's unenforceable law not only requires that office holders not deny the "being of God," but also believe in a "future state of rewards and punishments."

This statement very likely opens up the doors for any non-Christian who has been rejected for a government job in the state of Missouri during Parson's tenure to file a lawsuit alleging discrimination. And they should.

[St. Louis Today]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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