In a century that traveling into outer space is common place, we are still dealing with weird U.S. governing laws that you would think would have been taken off of the books decades ago. The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign has not only been contentious, but most would say perhaps the most eccentric. As we get closer to election day many are thinking how can this political circus get any crazier.
Unspoken about weird laws have been around for years. With a bizarre presidential contest taking its place in history, it is fitting to take a look at some bizarre regulations that are still on the books. From laws pertaining to voting, members of legislature as well as the National Anthem there are a few standouts that definitely lead the way to crazydom.
Texas Bill of Wrongs
Texas attempts to get around the separation of Church and State in politics. The Texas Constitution, Article-I Bill of Rights states, "That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established." Yet Section four, with the heading Religious Tests, alludes that Texas disallows anyone who is an agnostic from holding office.
"Sec. 4. Religious Tests. No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."
Tennessee Warns Duelists
Beware duelists holding office in Tennessee. You will be punished and your office title will be taken away if you fight or are part of a duel challenge. As per Article-VI Disqualifications they leave the punishment up to the state legislator.
"Any person who shall, after the adoption of this Constitution, fight a duel, or knowingly be the bearer of a challenge to fight a duel, or send or accept a challenge for that purpose, or be an aider or abettor in fighting a duel, shall be deprived of the right to hold any office of honor or profit in this State, and shall be punished otherwise, in such manner as the Legislature may prescribe."
Under the same article Tennessee takes separating church and state literally forbidding clergy from serving in government. Although under the same Article, Tennessee bans any person who denies a supreme being from holding office in the state's civil department.
No Arrest for Working Washington State Legislators
Any Washington State Legislator that is working during a legislative section cannot be arrested for anything below a felony action. Section 16 in the Washington State Constitution, Article-I Bill of Rights states, "Members of the legislature shall be privileged from arrest in all cases except treason, felony and breach of the peace; they shall not be subject to any civil process during the session of the legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement of each session." Lucky legislators can speed to their heart's content, smoke in nonsmoking areas and litter without worry about being ticketed as long as they are working.
McCarthyism Still Exists in Oklahoma
Is Oklahoma paranoid or perhaps this state knows secrets that no one else in the U.S. has been privy to. Worried about the threat of communism continuing to post imminent peril, the state of Oklahoma continues to see a need to state this in Title 21. Crimes and Punishments §21-1266.1. Existence of communist conspiracy.
"Upon evidence and proof already presented before this legislature, congress, the courts of this state, and the courts of the United States, it is here now found and declared to be a fact that there exists an International Communist conspiracy which is committed to the overthrow of the government of the United States and of the several states, including that of the State of Oklahoma, by force or violence, such conspiracy including the Communist Party of the United States, its component or related parts and members, and that such conspiracy constitutes a clear and present danger to the government of the United States and of this state."
Massachusetts Fines for not Singing Complete National Anthem
From beginning to end, when in Massachusetts make sure you know all of the words and sing out loud the complete Star Spangled Banner or risk being fined. Whether at a school event or sporting the National Anthem must be sung in its entirety as intended. Do not think of deviating from the original words or melody, or even dancing as you sing or you may get a fine of up to $100.
Waiting for the leading contenders to take to the stage to debate one another, we are still debating in our minds how did we get to this wacky point in election history. Social media may have driven this election to a new level of bizarre conduct, but one can say it may have been fueled by past behaviors as well. A few weird U.S. governing laws brought about by federal and individual state legislators may have helped to drive the clown car into this century.