North Carolina Speaker Snuffs State Religion Resolution

Sincere efforts of insane right-wing crazies to pass a law establishing an official state religion in North Carolina were thwarted Thursday by the Speaker of the House.

Oh, those crazy wingnuts. After a few days of trying to establish an official state religion in North Carolina in order to get around a ruling barring officials from requiring prayer before public meetings, the state Speaker of the House snuffed out the attempt by shelving the bill indefinitely. Of course, this has some a little miffed, because they saw a dual benefit in the measure:

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.

But alas, it was not meant to be. Via Huffington Post:

House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Charlotte) announced Thursday afternoon that the bill would not be receiving a vote in the full House, effectively dropping the measure. Loretta Boniti, a reporter for News 14 Carolina, broke the news on Twitter, and it was confirmed in a breaking news alert posted on the home page of wral.com, a Raleigh-based television station. Tillis' decision followed several days of national media attention on the bill, which also said that the state government did not have to listen to federal court rulings and was exempt from the requirements of the First Amendment.

Yeah, bad news about that whole First Amendment theory. ThinkProgress explains:

This resolution is nothing less than an effort to repudiate the result of the Civil War. As the resolution correctly notes, the First Amendment merely provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” and, indeed, the Bill of Rights was originally understood to only place limits on the federal government. For the earliest years of the Republic, the Bill of Rights were not really “rights” at all, but were instead guidelines on which powers belonged to central authorities and which ones remained exclusively in the hands of state lawmakers.

In 1868, however the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified for the express purpose of changing this balance of power. While the early Constitution envisioned “rights” as little more than a battle between central and local government, the Fourteenth Amendment ushered in a more modern understanding. Under this amendment, “[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” nor may any state “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment completely transformed the nature of the American Republic, from one where liberties were generally protected — if at all — by tensions between competing governments to one which recognized that there are certain liberties that cannot be abridged by anygovernment.

And as North Carolina reporter and resident Mary Curtis points out, you know they've gone too far when Franklin Graham thinks it's a crazy thing to do.

Republicans were elected to the majority in North Carolina's state legislature on the basis of their promise of fiscal responsibility, not to start Civil War II. As southern states go, it's fairly rational most of the time, but now they've got a wingnut governor who is Art Pope's tool. In that environment, anything is possible.

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