Thursday, April 4, 2013

A State Religion for North Carolina?

A new bill proposed in North Carolina would allow the declaration of an official state religion. While it's unclear whether or not the bill will pass the legislature, it should be obvious to just about everyone that the very idea is not only misguided but fundamentally unconstitutional. The sponsors of the bill argue that the prohibitions that prevent the government from favoring one religion over another apply only to the federal government, which means that states are free to endorse particular denominations.

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, reported.

Apparently the Poor Oppressed Christians feel so oppressed by having no special legal status that they are now lobbying for an official declaration that enshrines their privilege into law. Somehow, the fact that this has not been done makes them the victims here. The bottom line here is that states are not allowed to pass laws that violate the Bill of Rights. If this bill were to survive a court challenge it would mean that all the other freedoms enumerated in the Constitution can likewise be overridden by state law. That, of course, is why it will never be upheld. My guess is that this also why regular Christians of the non-oppressed variety have never bothered pushing for such a thing.

UPDATE: So it looks like the North Carolina legislature is not run by theocrats after all.This morning the sponsors of the state religion bill were told that it would not even be be brought to a vote, killing the measure. It's nice to know that there are still some politicians out there who are familiar with the Constitution.

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