Article I, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution ("Religious Tests")
Adopted February 15, 1876:
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.
Sections 4 through 7 of Article I, including the recently adopted Section 6-a, concern religion.
Due either to the plain language of the provision or to state court decisions interpreting the provision, the substance of the provisions concerning religion contained in the state constitution sometimes differs from the substance of the provisions concerning religion contained in the federal constitution.
For example, under this section, a person who fails to "acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being" is not eligible to hold public office in Texas. However, that requirement violates the federal constitution and is therefore unenforceable. See Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495 (1961) (holding that similar provision contained in Maryland Constitution violated federal constitution).
- Vernon's Annotated Constitution of the State of Texas (this multi-volume and up-to-date resource is available at all law libraries and many municipal libraries)
- The Texas State Constitution: A Reference Guide (this one-volume resource is available at most law libraries and some municipal libraries)
- The Constitution of the State of Texas: An Annotated and Comparative Analysis (this two-volume resource is available at most law libraries and some municipal libraries)
- Constitution of the State of Texas (1876) (this resource is published and maintained by the University of Texas School of Law)
- Amendments to the Texas Constitution Since 1876 (this resource is published and regularly updated by the Legislative Council)
- Reports Analyzing Proposed Amendments (this resource is published and regularly updated by the Legislative Reference Library)