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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

North Carolina lawmakers want statewide official religion

Earlier this morning I first read about this and ever since I've been trying to find a measure of absurd purpose or mad brilliance in this legislation... but if it's there I can't find it.

Two members of this state's House of Representatives have filed House Bill 494, which if passed would allow for an official religion to be imposed upon North Carolina.

It's not a late April Fools joke.  Representatives Harry Warren and Carl Ford (each of Rowan County) want an official state religion which would circumvent judicial rulings on prayer at government functions within North Carolina.  Presumably this would be in response to courts which have struck down prayers at county commissioner meetings, school board hearings and the like.  Eleven other representatives so far have backed the proposal.
"The Constitution of the United States does not grant the federal government and does not grant the federal courts the power to determine what is or is not constitutional; therefore, by virtue of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the power to determine constitutionality and the proper interpretation and proper application of the Constitution is reserved to the states and to the people... Each state in the union is sovereign and may independently determine how that state may make laws respecting an establishment of religion."
Here's the real meat of HB 494...
SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
To be fair, the bill does not specify any particular religion.

If this is about localities getting to choose on their own whether or not they will have prayers to open their meetings, then I understand that frustration: the courts have been interfering beyond the scope of their rational interests in regard to prayers which have had a ceremonial role with no bearing on official policy or writing of legislation.

But this is the wrong way to address that concern.  In fact, it's incredibly, insanely irresponsible.  Unethical.  Immoral.  And this is un-Constitutional: in spirit of the law if not in letter of the law.

Warren and Ford consider themselves to be "conservatives".  But there is nothing conservative whatsoever about HB 494.  And faith enforced is no faith at all.