I, for one, accept the Three Mystic Dwarves as my personal saviors

Filipino 'dwarf' judge loses case

A Philippines judge who said he consulted imaginary mystic dwarves has failed to convince the Supreme Court to allow him to keep his job. Florentino Floro was appealing against a three-year inquiry which led to his removal due to incompetence and bias.

He told investigators three mystic dwarves - Armand, Luis and Angel - had helped him to carry out healing sessions during breaks in his chambers.

The court said psychic phenomena had no place in the judiciary.

"They should not have dismissed me for what I believed," Mr Floro told reporters after filing his appeal in May. In a letter to the court he said: "From obscurity, my name and the three mystic dwarves became immortal."

Outlawing Unbelief

Article IX, Sec. 2, of the Tennessee constitution: "No Atheist shall hold a civil office: No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments shall hold any office in the civil department of this state."

Article XIX, Sec. 1, of the Arkansas constitution: "No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court."

Article 37 of the Maryland constitution: "no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God".

Article I, Sec. 4, of the Pennsylvania constitution: "No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust under this Commonwealth."

This dual requirement of belief in a deity and in a retributive afterlife could block adherents of numerous lifestances, even some Christians. A liberal Protestant who believes in God but not in a literal afterlife, a Buddhist who believes in karma but not in a deity, or an Orthodox Jew who believes in God and an afterlife but not in reward or punishment after death - all could be barred from public office as readily as any secular humanist if this clause were enforced.

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32 Responses:

  1. skreidle says:

    At least PA's doesn't require that you believe, just states that believing in such things does not preclude one from holding office.

    • mandil says:

      Implying of course one who does not believe CAN be excluded.

      • mysterc says:

        I don't see that. At the time it was written it was generally beleived that everyone had SOME kind of beleif in a higher power. If they wanted to exclude somone from holding office they probably would have just said, "...beleif in a higher power is a requisite for holding office.." or something along those lines.

      • skreidle says:

        That doesn't logically follow. "The fact that someone believes in God/etc. will not itself disqualify a candidate" does not logically equate to "The fact that someone does not believe in God/etc. may itself disqualify a candidate."

    • It's an insidious violation of the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. Religious people are protected from disqualification from holding office, but not atheists.

      • jsl32 says:

        instead of stubbornly insisting their view is more 'logical' or 'superior' or 'advanced'.

        • The status as a "belief" is beside the point. The statute reads, "No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust under this Commonwealth." Atheism is quite obviously not protected, to say nothing of agnosticism.

          • jsl32 says:

            atheism can be spun to acknowledge god, since it, you know, relies on the idea of a god existing to deny in the first place. i concede that agnostics would be screwed, though, with their wishy-washy deal.

          • skreidle says:

            "The fact that someone believes in God/etc. will not itself disqualify a candidate" does not logically equate to "The fact that someone does not believe in God/etc. may itself disqualify a candidate."

            • I'm aware that I'm running the risk of turning JWZ's journal into a big ol' political column, and further that I'm tilting at windmills. That said, this is the third time I've had to make this damn point: the clause, as written, extends a protection (i.e. from disqualification from holding office) to a certain class (i.e. theists) while excluding or withholding that protection from another class (i.e. atheists). This is a flagrant violation not only of article VI, section 3 of the U.S. constitution ("No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States") and the establishment clause of the first amendment, but also the equal protection clause ("No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.").

              But hey, don't take my word for it. Take the word of the SCOTUS in Everson vs. Board of Education: "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion." And in Torcaso v. Watkins, regarding Maryland's nearly identical clause in its Declaration of Rights:

              There is, and can be, no dispute about the purpose or effect of the Maryland Declaration of Rights requirement before us - it sets up a religious test which was designed to and, if valid, does bar every person who refuses to declare a belief in God from holding a public "office of profit or trust" in Maryland.

              ...

              We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person "to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion." Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, 10 and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.

              So, now, if you understand and accept this, please be big enough to redact your comments elsewhere in the post. If not, then please profess your profound disagreement with the above cited sections of the constitution.

              I hereby taketh the lord's name in vain.

  2. ex_sonjaaa says:

    Aaaaadam Weeeeest!!!

  3. mysterc says:

    Section 1. Whereas ministers of the Gospel are by their profession, dedi-
    cated to God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great
    duties of their functions; therefore, no minister of the Gospel, or priest of any
    denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legis-
    lature.

    Not just atheists in Tennesse...

    • rapier1 says:

      Thats section 27 of the texas constitution as well.
      http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/text/EART03.html

      And new york:
      ARTICLE XXXIX. And whereas the ministers of the gospel are, by their profession, dedicated to the service of God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function, therefore, no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatsoever, shall, at any time hereafter, under and preference or description whatever, be eligible to, or capable of holding, any civil or military office or place within this state.

      Both of which actually seem unconstitutional to me. If you don't want people being restricted from holding office because they don't believe in God you can't stop other people because they do.

  4. inoah says:

    Article XIX, Sec. 1, of the Arkansas constitution: "No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court."

    That might serve as an excellent way to get out of having to testify in a subpoena.

  5. baconmonkey says:

    "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." - George H.W. Bush

    Atheists aren't so bad
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdVucvo-kDU&mode=related&search=

    Are you a Teapot Atheist?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVQoxrrMftA

    Richard Dawkins: Root of all Evil

    atheist p funk vs. jesus people

    Though maybe we all just need a holy spirit enema

  6. ammutbite says:

    Man, there is at least three shops on my street alone of that judge's followers. I've always distrusted them, but never knew until now that there were three mystic dwarves guiding the Florist cult.

  7. Just for clarity, the Maryland clause is article 36 of the Declaration of Rights, not 37 of the constitution. The passage reads in full,

    That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore, no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion, or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent, or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain, any place of worship, or any ministry; nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness, or juror, on account of his religious belief; provided, he believes in the existence of God, and that under His dispensation such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefor either in this world or in the world to come.

    Nothing shall prohibit or require the making reference to belief in, reliance upon, or invoking the aid of God or a Supreme Being in any governmental or public document, proceeding, activity, ceremony, school, institution, or place.

    Nothing in this article shall constitute an establishment of religion.

    Emphasis mine. As the source article notes this was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Torcaso v. Watkins but that sure hasn't discouraged the state of Maryland from promulgating it.

    Also:

    • Texas state constitution, article I, section 4: "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."
    • North Carolina state constitution, article VI, section 8:

      The following persons shall be disqualified for office:

      First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

      Second, with respect to any office that is filled by election by the people, any person who is not qualified to vote in an election for that office.

      And who might not be eligible to vote in North Carolina? Same article, section 4: "Every person presenting himself for [voter] registration shall be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language." (Emphasis mine.)

    • Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, chapter VI, article 1:

      Any person chosen governor, lieutenant governor, councillor, senator or representative, and accepting the trust, shall before he proceed to execute the duties of his place or office, make and subscribe the following declaration, viz.--

      "I, A. B., do declare, that I believe the Christian religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth; and that I am seised and possessed, in my own right, of the property required by the constitution as one qualification for the office or place to which I am elected."

    • rapier1 says:

      The Maryland one doesn't seem to be saying you have to believe in God. Only that if you are otherwise competent your belief in God won't render you incompetent. Of course, it does seem geared toward demanding a belief in an Abrahamaic deity but since that isn't spelled out then it equally well applies to Mithras, Thor, and Zorastor. Probably work for Crom as well.

      • We ran into this upthread, too. The problem with the clause is that it extends a protection to one sector while excluding another: if you believe in God (not gods), moralism, and the afterlife you cannot be excluded from office; but if you deny any of the above, well, you're on your own. It's like saying, "You can't be prevented from holding office on the basis of race, provided you're white."

  8. rapier1 says:

    I think this page pretty much sums up my reaction to the second part of this post.
    http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1203320

    Basically, wow, what a bunch of silly ideas that are never enforced and when they are enforced are shot down.

    Now, someone might say, "Well, if thats the case then where are all the athiests in public office? Huh?" Well, there aren't a lot. Why? Because most people in the US do believe and like it or not, this is still a democracy. Which means who ever panders to the masses best gets to be the leader. Thats the funny thing, a true democracy would probably be incredibly repressive.

  9. Wuh. Buh. Guh.

    Guh.

    Um. Article VI? Anyone? Anyone?

  10. grey_ghost says:

    out of curiosity (and laziness on my own part), does anyone know whether these articles have been in their respective state constitutions over the entire history of the states?

    i'm assuming that there were few non-Christians in the colonial state electorates, and as a result, when drafting these constitutions, would they have even thought of adding religious qualifications?

    as for why i'm asking: i've heard that the phrase "one nation, under god" in the pledge of allegiance was added during the cold war years. it could be that these articles are late additions, based on particular reactions to events in the world.

  11. valacosa says:

    I love the juxtaposition. Drink freely of the green kool-aid...but drink the purple kool-aid and we'll stone you.

  12. wsxyz says:

    Requirements of this sort have been around ever since the U.S. was founded, and probably beforehand too.

    There were people around 200 years ago who didn't believe in God and who were perfectly happy to let other people know it. The assumption of the authors of these laws is that such nonbelieving people cannot be trusted to act honestly or give truthful testimony, since they presumably don't believe that they will be punished for their dishonesty in the afterlife.

    The fact that most people today find it amazing that such laws were ever passed just shows how much the U.S.A. has changed in the last 100 years.

  13. soleklypse says:

    I'm just wondering what the bias is for someone who listens to three mystic dwarfs. Were they communist dwarfs?

  14. judge_floro says:

    Just sayin Mabuhay (hello, in Filipino; it's now 1:30 p.m, here, tuesday, Philippines; [My email address is judgefloro@yahoo.com; I reside here in Alido, Malolos City , Bulacan , PHILIPPINES , ASIA ].

    FIRST, LOOK AT MY PICTURES and video ---

    http://psychic-and-healing-judge.blogspot.com

    http://www.youtube.com
    on my healing - just type judge floro on the upper search engine

    http://youtube.com/results?search_query=judge+floro

    Philippine Psychic Judge who talks to 3 mystic dwarfs loses appeal to keep job: Martyr of Filipino Justice will file 2nd Appeal, Disbarment/Administrative Cases before the August 29 Deadline.

    Filipino 'dwarf' judge loses case
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5261856.stm

    A Philippines judge who said he consulted imaginary mystic dwarves has failed to convince the Supreme Court to allow him to keep his job.
    Florentino Floro was appealing against a three-year inquiry which led to his removal due to incompetence and bias......

    In a letter to the court he said: "From obscurity, my name and the three mystic dwarves became immortal."

    Dismissed judge, elfin pals claim immortality

    http://newsinfo.inq7.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view_article.php?article_id=13683

    By Armand Nocum, Inquirer, 02:42am (Mla time) 08/06/2006, page A1 of the August 6, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

    HIS pals, "the imaginary dwarfs" Armand, Luis and Angel, may not have impressed the justices of the Supreme Court but, according to dismissed Judge Florentino Floro Jr., he and his three friends were superstars among psychics and believers of the occult throughout the world.

    http://newsinfo.inq7.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view_article.php?article_id=15519

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=47281

    However, the Supreme Court said dalliance with dwarves would gradually erode the public's acceptance of the judiciary as the guardian of the law, if not make it an object of ridicule.

    Creature features of the Philippines

    http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=11&art_id=26377&sid=9682141&con_type=1&d_str=20060902

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Judge Floro Florentino is not too pleased with his three spiritual guides being referred to as dwarves or duende, as superstitious Filipinos call these elf-like beings. His brother, who first saw them, called them duende, a Spanish word of ambiguous definition.

    To Filipinos, they are something like tiny magical goblins who live in forested areas. There are, according to folklore, two types: black, denoting evil which can harm, and red, who are good and can heal. On the island of Mindoro , the Mangyan tribe claim to trade with the few remaining duende for forest products. They are said to be extremely shy because of the violence that has been done to them in the past.

    Then there are the nocturnal Agta, tall black men who also hang out in the forests, while the Batibat, found in Ilocos, look like fat women who live inside posts, and suffocate people by sitting on top of them.

    The bovine-like Mantahungal have fearsome teeth, the Pugot are self-beheading multi-formed creatures, and the Tikbalang are centaurs in reverse. These and many more magical creatures - some invisible, some half-human, half- animal - are all said to inhabit the Philippine countryside.