Republican-Sponsored Legislation to Establish a State Religion in North Carolina Has Been Indefinitely Tabled

Just days after two North Carolina Republican legislators (Rep. Harry Warren and Rep. Carl Ford) filed a bill that would establish an “official religion” (thereby letting the Rowan County Board of Commissioners open their meetings with specifically-Christian prayers), the Speaker of the House’s office is reporting that the bill will thankfully not be voted on:

A resolution by two state lawmakers representing Rowan County that supported North Carolina declaring an official religion is dead and will not be voted on, according to House Speaker Thom Tillis’ office.

The resolution, which would back county commissioner’s use of sectarian prayer in meetings, is co-sponsored by nine other Republican Representatives from across the state.

“The bill sponsors fundamentally misunderstand constitutional law and the principles of the separation of powers that date back to the founding of this country,” ACLU-NC Legal Director Chris Brook told WBTV in response to the resolution.

The bill was H.J.R. 494 (PDF):

Immediately after it became public knowledge what the Republicans were trying to do, there was an outcry from church/state separation-focused organizations.

The pressure to table the bill worked. Score one for the good guys.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Chris B

    Dammit. I first saw this on my phone and I only got the “Republican-Sponsored Legislation to Establish a State Religion in N” part of the headline. I was hoping so much it was going to end with “orth Dakota”.

    I’ve really got to move…

    • coyotenose

      Yeah, I’ve got four serious offers from friends for me to move out of N.C. and move in with them after this and the divorce legislation.

      Of course that might just be because they’ve seen my photos. *tries to keep a straight face*

  • jdm8

    Read this in a Scooby Doo villain voice: “I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling atheists”.

    • kevin white

      And their darn dog, Too!… Wait, what?

  • C Peterson

    Let me guess. The governor got a call from his insurance company…

  • http://www.facebook.com/park.james.102 Park James

    Great, now they can get back to writing legislation that just seems like it’s coming from a theocracy, not legislation that is actually from a theocracy.

  • Chris

    The Republican speaker of the house, realizing how bad this looked, smacked the back-benchers into line. It still shows you what they will do if they can get away with it.

    • Carpinions

      Right. The GOP will show moments of clarity if the backlash is hard and fast and is having an immediately negative impact in the press. If opposition slow and steady though, they are apt to let the crazies go as far as they can.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Well this sucks, because they should have let it through and let it be voted on. Had it passed it would have definitely been addressed to higher courts and found to be clearly in violation of the separation clause or otherwise found unconstitutional. Then a legal precedence would have been set discouraging other states attempting to pass similar foolish legislation. Now at least other states are aware of it and might attempt to write their own legislation and hopefully the process I’ve described will be carried out.

    • TheBlackCat13

      I think the legal precedent is pretty well-established at this point.

      http://www.loweringthebar.net/2013/04/north-carolina-would-like-to-opt-out-of-the-supremacy-clause.html

      • Baby_Raptor

        Not that they really care. I mean, how many times has prayer at X Government Thing been found to be unconstitutional, and yet they still do it and insist they’ll win when they get taken to court?

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

        I didn’t know thanks for the info. Knowledge is illuminating.

  • Wendy S

    How did they actually type out those two “measures” and not realize how ridiculously uneducated they sound? As if you can just “opt out” of the United States Constitution by saying your State “does not recognize” it’s power? Lol. These people are nuts and hopefully their “prayers” will direct them to the nearest Psychologist.


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