Proposal would allow state religion in North Carolina

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Republican North Carolina state legislators have proposed allowing an official state religion in a measure that would declare the state exempt from the Constitution and court rulings.


The bill, filed Monday by two GOP lawmakers from Rowan County and backed by nine other Republicans, says each state "is sovereign" and courts cannot block a state "from making laws respecting an establishment of religion." The legislation was filed in response to a lawsuit to stop county commissioners in Rowan County from opening meetings with a Christian prayer, wral.com reported.

The religion bill comes as some Republican-led states seek to separate themselves from the federal government, primarily on the issues of guns and Obamacare. This includes a proposal in Mississippi to establish a state board with the power to nullify federal laws.

The North Carolina bill's main sponsors, state Reps. Carl Ford (R-China Grove) and Harry Warren (R-Salisbury), could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, The Salisbury Post reported. Co-sponsors include House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes (R-Hickory). Another is state Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Concord), who in February introduced a state constitutional amendment that would allow for carrying concealed weapons to fight federal "tyranny."

Written By: John Celock
continue to source article at huffingtonpost.com

44 COMMENTS

  1. Will John Frum be the Prophet of this state religion? Some punters are putting money on Zeus, but a hot tip is Thor. There is even talk of a Jewish carpenter being selected. Debate in the North Carolina Legislature is hot and steaming !

    • In reply to #5 by Street Logician:

      I would love to see Islam through some bizzare fluke become the state religion of NC. Then and only then will they appreciate separation of church and state.

      I was just about to say the same thing. Christians only champion these kind of laws as long as they guarantee them rights. Would this proposal mean that whichever religion is the majority would become the “state religion”? If one particular form of Christianity was state religion and then one day in the near future, say, Taoism would become the majority religion, would the state have to change all its processes that give special treatment to Christianity and start bowing to Taoism instead? I bet all the Christians in North Carolina would love that.

      Wasn’t there a case in a US state recently where a democratically elected school board turned out to have a Buddhist majority? It resulted in the board trying to mandate Buddhist prayers and meditation sessions in the district’s schools. Who were the first to complain about this? The ACLU? No, it was organisations representing Christians who said this development went against the separation of church and state. And these are the same Christian organisations who demand that Christian symbols and prayers remain in schools justifying them with all kinds of reasons.

      • In reply to #7 by Aztek:

        In reply to #5 by Street Logician:

        I would love to see Islam through some bizzare fluke become the state religion of NC. Then and only then will they appreciate separation of church and state.

        I was just about to say the same thing. Christians only champion these kind of laws as long as they guarantee them rights. Would this proposal mean that whichever religion is the majority would become the “state religion”? If one particular form of Christianity was state religion and then one day in the near future, say, Taoism would become the majority religion, would the state have to change all its processes that give special treatment to Christianity and start bowing to Taoism instead? I bet all the Christians in North Carolina would love that.

        Wasn’t there a case in a US state recently where a democratically elected school board turned out to have a Buddhist majority? It resulted in the board trying to mandate Buddhist prayers and meditation sessions in the district’s schools. Who were the first to complain about this? The ACLU? No, it was organisations representing Christians who said this development went against the separation of church and state. And these are the same Christian organisations who demand that Christian symbols and prayers remain in schools justifying them with all kinds of reasons.

        I don’t have the data, but I perceive (and hope) that the vast majority of Christians in the US view this attempt to make Christianity as the state religion of North Carolina as stupid and absurd. The surest and most effective way to weaken and corrupt a faith is to nationalize or statify (if that’s a word) it. As examples, witness the Russian Orthodox church’s position pre-Soviet czarist times and the Soviet attempts to maintain an “atheocracy” during (so-called) communist rule.

        I agree with the sentiments of many of the comments I read here. However, generalizing the actions of these legislators to cover all Christians in the US is wrong. Most of us realize the beauty and wisdom of the 1st amendment, as applied to the entire country. We may quibble over the details sometimes, but not over the danger and injustice of establishing a national church where the state becomes an active agent for the living Messiah.

        Lastly, the ACLU should have been the first to complain about the Buddhist-led school board mandating Buddhist prayers, etc. Hope they finally got in the game. If not, I’d question their bias.

        • In reply to #36 by rodan:

          I don’t have the data, but I perceive (and hope) that the vast majority of Christians in the US view this attempt to make Christianity as the state religion of North Carolina as stupid and absurd.

          I don’t have the data either. It would be useful data.

          The surest and most effective way to weaken and corrupt a faith is to nationalize or statify (if that’s a word) it.

          Agreed. Also, the surest and most effective way to weaken and corrupt a society is to mandate faith-based thinking over reason. That’s the beauty of the secular model. No thought police. No special exemption for anyone’s “faith” from the arena of debate.

          However, generalizing the actions of these legislators to cover all Christians in the US is wrong. Most of us realize the beauty and wisdom of the 1st amendment, as applied to the entire country. We may quibble over the details sometimes, but not over the danger and injustice of establishing a national church where the state becomes an active agent for the living Messiah.

          Agreed in principle. But neither one of us has the data and I have no idea what you mean by the “living Messiah”.

          Lastly, the ACLU should have been the first to complain about the Buddhist-led school board mandating Buddhist prayers, etc. Hope they finally got in the game. If not, I’d question their bias.

          I’d be cautious about presuming “bias” here. The ACLU has its hands full with violations of constitutional law in the US, most of which are naturally christian. The fact that the first challenge to a predominantly buddhist community came from christians might not speak to the ACLU’s bias (If they’re biased, please provide examples) as much as it speaks to the hypocrisy of christian groups who want one rule for their own unevidenced claims and different rules for the claims of others.

          from Aztek #7

          Who were the first to complain about this? The ACLU? No, it was organisations representing Christians who said this development went against the separation of church and state. And these are the same Christian organisations who demand that Christian symbols and prayers remain in schools justifying them with all kinds of reasons.

          So, if Aztek can fill in the details and give us evidence that these are the same christian groups that demand christians should have special privilege in the public sphere, you should rethink your position.

          If it turns out that these christian groups fought as hard against christian violation of the U.S. Constitution as they did against buddhist violation, then a point for those christian groups.

          But even then, the ACLU has its hands full in the U.S. against mostly christians (as is evidenced by the OP). If one small community of buddhists try to undermine the Constitution, and they come low on the list in a country where most religious attempts to undermine the Constitution are christian attempts, you have a lot of work to do to suggest “bias”. It’s a terribly cheap accusation and a huge case to make.

          If you manage to make that case, I’ll be happy to accept it. But you haven’t even started.

          • In reply to #37 by susanlatimer:

            In reply to #36 by rodan:

            I don’t have the data, but I perceive (and hope) that the vast majority of Christians in the US view this attempt to make Christianity as the state religion of North Carolina as stupid and absurd.

            I don’t have the data either. It would be useful data.

            The surest and most effective way to weaken and corrupt a faith is to nationalize or statify (if that’s a word) it.

            Agreed. Also, the surest and most effective way to weaken and corrupt a society is to mandate faith-based thinking over reason. That’s the beauty of the secular model. No thought police. No special exemption for anyone’s “faith” from the arena of debate.

            However, generalizing the actions of these legislators to cover all Christians in the US is wrong. Most of us realize the beauty and wisdom of the 1st amendment, as applied to the entire country. We may quibble over the details sometimes, but not over the danger and injustice of establishing a national church where the state becomes an active agent for the living Messiah.

            Agreed in principle. But neither one of us has the data and I have no idea what you mean by the “living Messiah”.

            Lastly, the ACLU should have been the first to complain about the Buddhist-led school board mandating Buddhist prayers, etc. Hope they finally got in the game. If not, I’d question their bias.

            I’d be cautious about presuming “bias” here. The ACLU has its hands full with violations of constitutional law in the US, most of which are naturally christian. The fact that the first challenge to a predominantly buddhist community came from christians might not speak to the ACLU’s bias (If they’re biased, please provide examples) as much as it speaks to the hypocrisy of christian groups who want one rule for their own unevidenced claims and different rules for the claims of others.

            from Aztek #7

            Who were the first to complain about this? The ACLU? No, it was organisations representing Christians who said this development went against the separation of church and state. And these are the same Christian organisations who demand that Christian symbols and prayers remain in schools justifying them with all kinds of reasons.

            So, if Aztek can fill in the details and give us evidence that these are the same christian groups that demand christians should have special privilege in the public sphere, you should rethink your position.

            If it turns out that these christian groups fought as hard against christian violation of the U.S. Constitution as they did against buddhist violation, then a point for those christian groups.

            But even then, the ACLU has its hands full in the U.S. against mostly christians (as is evidenced by the OP). If one small community of buddhists try to undermine the Constitution, and they come low on the list in a country where most religious attempts to undermine the Constitution are christian attempts, you have a lot of work to do to suggest “bias”. It’s a terribly cheap accusation and a huge case to make.

            If you manage to make that case, I’ll be happy to accept it. But you haven’t even started.

            About the ACLU “bias”, I agree with you. I don’t have any data at my fingertips to accuse them of bias. That’s why I used the word “suggest”. I can only claim to have heard of bias, which I can’t, at this point authenticate. I’m not a knee-jerk ACLU detractor. I think they are important in US society. I agree with separation of church and state. Christianity (or any other faith) as a mandated national faith in the US would be detrimental in all aspects.

            The term “living Messiah” refers to the Christ (Greek term).

            Thank you for your reasoned reply. All the best.

          • In reply to #43 by rodan:

            I’m not a knee-jerk ACLU detractor. I think they are important in US society. I agree with separation of church and state. Christianity (or any other faith) as a mandated national faith in the US would be detrimental in all aspects.

            I’m glad to hear it. I am aware that there are many christians in the U.S. who feel the same way you do. It’s the other ones we need to worry about and there are a lot of them. They’re very busy. :-)

            Thank you for your reasoned reply. All the best.

            Thank you for yours. All the best to you as well.

        • In reply to #36 by rodan:

          I don’t have the data, but I perceive (and hope) that the vast majority of Christians in the US view this attempt to make Christianity as the state religion of North Carolina as stupid and absurd.

          I don’t have the data either. It would be useful data.

          The surest and most effective way to weaken and corrupt a faith is to nationalize or statify (if that’s a word) it.

          Agreed. Also, the surest and most effective way to weaken and corrupt a society is to mandate faith-based thinking over reason. That’s the beauty of the secular model. No thought police. No special exemption for anyone’s “faith” from the arena of debate.

          However, generalizing the actions of these legislators to cover all Christians in the US is wrong. Most of us realize the beauty and wisdom of the 1st amendment, as applied to the entire country. We may quibble over the details sometimes, but not over the danger and injustice of establishing a national church where the state becomes an active agent for the living Messiah.

          Agreed in principle. But neither one of us has the data and I have no idea what you mean by the “living Messiah”.

          Lastly, the ACLU should have been the first to complain about the Buddhist-led school board mandating Buddhist prayers, etc. Hope they finally got in the game. If not, I’d question their bias.

          I’d be cautious about presuming “bias” here. The ACLU has its hands full with violations of constitutional law in the US, most of which are naturally christian. The fact that the first challenge to a predominantly buddhist community came from christians might not speak to the ACLU’s bias (If they’re biased, please provide examples) as much as it speaks to the hypocrisy of christian groups who want one rule for their own unevidenced claims and different rules for the claims of others.

          from Aztek #7

          Who were the first to complain about this? The ACLU? No, it was organisations representing Christians who said this development went against the separation of church and state. And these are the same Christian organisations who demand that Christian symbols and prayers remain in schools justifying them with all kinds of reasons.

          So, if Aztek can fill in the details and give us evidence that these are the same christian groups that demand christians should have special privilege in the public sphere, you should rethink your position.

          If it turns out that these christian groups fought as hard against christian violation of the U.S. Constitution as they did against buddhist violation, then a point for those christian groups.

          But even then, the ACLU has its hands full in the U.S. against mostly christians (as is evidenced by the OP). If one small community of buddhists try to undermine the Constitution, and they come low on the list in a country where most religious attempts to undermine the Constitution are christian attempts, you have a lot of work to do to suggest “bias”. It’s a terribly cheap accusation and a huge case to make.

          If you manage to make that case, I’ll be happy to accept it. But you haven’t even started.

        • In reply to #36 by rodan:

          I don’t have the data, but I perceive (and hope) that the vast majority of Christians in the US view this attempt to make Christianity as the state religion of North Carolina as stupid and absurd.

          It is quite common for fundie-nuts to call themselves “Christians”, while posturing as representing ALL Xtians (or all Trrrroooo Xtians), but then the Vatican also does that!

          I agree with the sentiments of many of the comments I read here. However, generalizing the actions of these legislators to cover all Christians in the US is wrong. Most of us realize the beauty and wisdom of the 1st amendment, as applied to the entire country.

          Generalizing is tricky, because while these minorities do not represent all Xtians, the others will often hesitate to criticise fellow believers, and may well support them in political campaigns or arguments. – It is a feature of tribal, non-rational faith-blinker, thinking!

  2. Where is that immediate social “price” that, according to Sam Harris, needs to be paid for making such unreasonable public comments? Republicans of this sort keep getting elected! I am left to conclude it’s a price that they can afford.

    Mike

    • In reply to #8 by Matt G:

      Being insane does not disqualify you from being elected to high office in the US. Would someone please invade us already!

      Various right-wingnuts from the US have destabilised countries over the years and started wars and civil wars overseas. Like the 9/11 attacks, chickens come home to roost!

      The gun-toting wingnuts want independence from the laws of the USA.
      Will the revolution succeed, will the federal authorities put down the revolt, or will the politicians fumble and fudge as usual while spending tax-money on argumentative lawyers?

    • In reply to #8 by Matt G:

      Being insane does not disqualify you from being elected to high office in the US. Would someone please invade us already!

      don’t panic. the north koreans are coming, kim yung un will be able to instill a better sense of reality i’m sure

    • In reply to #8 by Matt G:

      Being insane does not disqualify you from being elected to high office in the US. Would someone please invade us already!

      I believe Kim Jong Un may be willing to answer your prayer:-)

    • In reply to #9 by whiteraven:

      Mandatory in-depth psychiatric/psychological evaluation of all candidates for public office above the level of dogcatcher.
      I have also said this very same thing. The GOP is always complaining about Democratic “elites” (by which they mean the intelligentsia because they don’t know the proper meaning of the word “elite”, mainly because it doesn’t suit their cause so they just misuse it, by I digress…) – people who are educated etc. The GOP believes that intelligent people should NOT run the government. I think that says it all.

  3. So the second amendment doesn’t apply to states that don’t want it to? I guess they substituted prayer for thinking this one through. Or maybe they know it’s not going to pass and it’s just red meat for theocrats who don’t particularly care about gun rights.

  4. In reply to #7 by Aztek:

    The law is simply a means to an end for glorifying God. God is bigger than facts, which come from the world– ruled by the evil one– reason, honesty, integrity and moral sense, which come from the self– polluted by sin– and justice, moral principle and honest jurisprudence, which come from the principalities and powers ruled over by, etc. These things all entirely coincidentally challenge the will and authority of priests, uh, I mean God, and as such, any stratagem, lie or convenient belief of the moment that stands against these challenges is valid and necessary. God is bigger than hypocrisy. And God is the source of all these things He is bigger than in their true form, not the false form that we see in the world. God is bigger than bigness, and thinking and ideas. He is either right or mysterious.

  5.                                         Clause 3, Article 6 of The American Constitution:
    

    “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

    If their not careful all the efforts of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War to preserve the Union will have amounted to naught.

    Yup! The lunatics are taking over the asylum alright.

    • In reply to #18 by Stafford Gordon:

      Clause 3, Article 6 of The American Constitution:”No religious Test shall ever be required …

      I think the First Amendment “Establishment Clause” is what you had in mind:

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      Wouldn’t these states have to secede from the United States in order to disregard the Constitution?

      Steve

      • In reply to #21 by Agrajag:

        In reply to #18 by Stafford Gordon:Clause 3, Article 6 of The American Constitution:”No religious Test shall ever be required …I think the First Amendment “Establishment Clause” is what you had in mind:”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”Wouldn’t these states have to secede from the United States in order to disregard the Constitution?Steve

        Thanks for pointing out my eror; I am a Brit after all.

        S G

  6. Just as the GOP could not (and still cannot) believe that they lost the Presidency election (again), they still believe that if they make these kinds of comments and try to impose these kinds of laws, somehow, they will begin to garner more votes. This is a party that has absolutely NO CLUE about the people in this country. They are so far removed from what the every day citizen (I hate that expression but so be it) of the US thinks that they continue to NOT learn from their mistakes. Personally, even though it is embarrassing, I say, let them continue this way. As another poster mentioned, the Supremacy Clause takes care of any of this kind of legislation and squashes it from the get go. The GOP are drumming themselves right out of business.

  7. These “leaders” should be federally prosecuted for direct violation of the constitution of the United States of America. Arrest them and levy against them the weight of the laws that they are in direct violation of.

  8. Mr. Ford and Mr. Warren are certainly idiots. But many people do not know much about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It might be expected, however, that these dweebs could at least read their own STATEConstitution:

    Sec. 5. Allegiance to the United States.
    Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.

    Sec. 13. Religious liberty.
    All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

    Could anyone explain to me how someone gets elected to the North Carolina General Assembly without a working knowledge of their own constitution? Is anyone going to vote for these clowns again? Fool me once, . . .

    JHJ

    • In reply to #24 by JHJEFFERY:

      Mr. Ford and Mr. Warren are certainly idiots. But many people do not know much about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It might be expected, however, that these dweebs could at least read their own STATEConstitution:

      Sec. 5. Allegiance to the United States.
      Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.

      Sec. 13. Religious liberty.
      All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

      Could anyone explain to me how someone gets elected to the North Carolina General Assembly without a working knowledge of their own constitution? Is anyone going to vote for these clowns again? Fool me once,

      You know more than I do about US law, but didn’t these clowns sign or swear something about upholding laws and constitutional requirements, when standing for , or taking office?

  9. Honestly, I’m beginning to think we should have let these States secede back in 1861. They are dead weight, backward and a continuing source of embarrassment to the civilized people of this once-proud nation.

  10. Why don’t these morons just secede already? America needs to shed a few pounds off of its collective ass – we could certainly do without North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, just to name a few. Let them turn into little banana republic theocracies. I give it five years before we’d see a desperate mass migration north from Jesusland.

  11. Alan4discussion 29

    Oh, Alan, I don’t know. States vary. But I feel reasonably confident that these morons swore some sort of oath to protect and defend the US and State Constitutions. Maybe we can get them impeached for breach of their oaths. I’ll give it a shot. I’ve already written to the local paper in Salisbury.

  12. The part that makes me sickest is that these foil-hatters know they have no hope of getting this through. They are just preaching to their gerrymandered choirs for job security and deepening the “us vs. them” mindset that is tearing apart a country made great by diversity.

  13. I invoke Article 1 of the 14th Amendment.

    “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.”

    The provisions providing for rights under the Bill of Rights were originally binding upon only the federal government. In time, most of these provisions became binding upon the states through selective incorporation into the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. When a provision is made binding on a state, a state can no longer restrict the rights guaranteed in that provision. Period.

  14. For the record, Republicans are not conservatives, so please stop referring to them as such. It obfuscates the gamut of political ideology and it’s intellectually lazy.

    Any political ideology that attempts to exert the power of government over the will of the citizens, is by definition, not a Conservative government ideologically, but rather, quite the opposite.

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