NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — One of the founding documents, Tennessee’s Constitution outlines the way the state’s founders wanted the state to be governed, from establishing the office of Governor, to detailing how taxes will be collected and for what purpose.
But the Constitution also contains some odd restrictions on who can serve in the legislature or in the state government.
According to the Tennessee Constitution, ministers and other religious leaders are not permitted to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly. The reasoning, according to the Constitution, is because “ministers of the Gospel are by their profession dedicated to God and the care of souls” and “ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions.”
“Therefore,” the Constitution says, “no minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legislature.”
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On the administrative side of things, the Constitution also stipulates that no one who “denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments” is allowed to “hold any office in the civil department of this state.”
Another right granted to all Tennesseans is the right not to work on their preferred religious day of rest, as outlined in Section 15 of Article XI. This right is reserved only during “times of peace,” however, per the Constitution.
Another thing you can’t do if you want to hold office in Tennessee is fight a duel, or aid or abet one.
Section 3 of Article IX states: “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.”
If you are elected, you are not permitted to accept any bribe, even ones made of meat or drink, the Constitution says.
“Any elector who shall receive any gift or reward for his vote, in meat, drink, money or otherwise, shall suffer such punishment as the laws shall direct,” says Section 3 of Article X.
If you are the person offering the bribe, the Constitution says you will be prevented from running for the office you bribed for six years and face further punishment.