Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NC lawmakers seek to set up a state religion

My oldest daughter sent me a text message saying there is an effort underway in the North Carolina legislature to create a state establishment of religion in this state. She knows my passion for church-state separation so I figured this was the opening to some joke, but she assured me that she was serious. I poked around online and discovered that she is right.

According to one article, House Bill 494, filed by Rowan County Representatives Harry Warren and Carl Ford includes this language:

"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 ... 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."

Eleven other House members have signed on as sponsors including Majority Leader Edgar Starnes. I have no idea what chance of passage this bill has, but I hope it's zilch. It is disturbing enough  that at least 13 legislators of this state would support such an embarrassing, stupid, and appalling bill. 

I've had trouble with the government of this state losing tax documents that my accountant mailed (fortunately using certified mail). If the government can't keep track of my tax documents, Lord knows I don't want the government messing around in my religion or that of anyone else.

There are so many angles from which to underscore the utter idiocy of this bill. It would be easy to start listing the long trail of blood left in history by state establishments of religion. But, for the moment, I'll stick to an application of one feature from the earthly ministry of Jesus. 

The devil offered Jesus the power of the governments of the world to accomplish his mission and Jesus rejected the offer for what it was: a temptation of Satan. Thus Jesus established a pattern of separateness between his mission and government. He died not with the sword of government in his hand but with the spear of government in his side.

Would that the 13 lawmakers sponsoring this bill would apply this wisdom of Christ by keeping government and religion institutionally separate.     

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