North Carolina Bill Would Declare Official State Religion
A group of North Carolina legislators is pushing a bill that would assert that the state is free to declare an official state religion despite what the Constitution says:
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 andbacked 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 lawsuitto 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.”
The bill says the First Amendment only applies to the federal government and does not stop state governments, local governments and school districts from adopting measures that defy the Constitution. The legislation also says that the Tenth Amendment, which says powers not reserved for the federal government belong to the states, prohibits court rulings that would seek to apply the First Amendment to state and local officials.
Now, it’s true that state legislators can, and often do, propose all kinds of crazy legislation that never sees the light of day in the state legislature, the fact that the House Majority Leader is one of the co-sponsors of the bill suggests that this may be a far more serious proposal than other “crazy” legislation.
As for the merits of the law itself, they are so utterly lacking that it’s hard to even know where to begin. Incorporation of the Bill of Rights via the 14th Amendment is a long-standing legal concept that the Supreme Court has never shown any inclination to reconsider it. North Carolina’s action, of course, would be a clear violation of the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which the Court found applicable to the states in Everson v. Board of Education, a case decided back in 1947. So,, basically, these 11 North Carolina Republicans are proposing something that is blatantly unconstitutional. I hope they’re proud of themselves.