However, the Supreme Court ruled in a 1961 case that a Maryland man appointed as a notary public didn’t have to declare his belief in a supreme being to hold office, arguing it violated his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Since then, these restrictions haven’t been enforced, said Dave Muscato, a spokesman for American Atheists.
Still, candidates for office who are openly atheist face discrimination at the polls. Muscato said a belief that atheists aren’t moral or trustworthy contributes to voters’ reluctance to say they’d vote for them. A 2014 Pew poll found 53 percent of Americans think it’s necessary to believe in God to be moral, and a 2012 Gallup poll found 43 percent of voters would not vote for a candidate who was atheist.
Here are the states and what their constitutions say about belief in a supreme being: