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Atheist Group Calls On Legislature To Change Constitution
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Mississippi lawmakers are returning to Jackson today to begin the 20-15 legislative session. An Ohio-based Atheist group is calling on them to change the state constitution and remove a section that requires a belief in God in order to hold public office.  

The section 265 of the Mississippi Constitution reads 'No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state'.

And while it was ruled unconstitutional and has been unenforceable for decades it remains in the state constitution.

Todd Stiefel with the group Openly Secular says its time Mississippi lawmakers took it out.

"They remain on the books and remain an insult to all people who do not believe. And really state loud and clear that these states consider us second-class citizens," Stiefel.

In all, seven states including Mississippi still have a ban on people who don't believe in God holding public office.

But House Constitution chair Scott DeLano of Biloxi says he sees no way the legislature would act to remove the prohibition.

"I don't see what good it would be to take it out of the constitution. I don't think you would have the support to remove that from our constitution at all," DeLano said.

DeLano says he thinks the requirement reflects the culture and beliefs of the majority of Mississippians.

The constitution could also be changed through a ballot initiative and a vote.