North Carolina Republicans introduce bill to outlaw Baptist churches and establish N.C. Staatskirche

Yes, really.

Republican Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford may not realize that outlawing Baptist churches is among the things their bill would do, but it is one of the many, many consequences they don’t understand of their proposal to establish an official state religion in North Carolina. (These are not smart men. Bullies never are.)

This is an actual proposal. It was introduced by two Republican state legislators in North Carolina and now has 11 Republican cosponsors in the state House of Representatives, including party leadership.

Yes, this bill would clearly violate the First Amendment prohibition against religious establishment. That’s deliberate. The proposal is not so much un-constitutional as it is anti-constitutional — it’s another instance of the Party of Calhoun attempting “nullification.”

Here’s a summary from local news reporter Laura Leslie in Raleigh, “Proposal would allow state religion in North Carolina“:

A resolution filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.

The resolution grew out of a dispute between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. In a federal lawsuit filed last month, the ACLU says the board has opened 97 percent of its meetings since 2007 with explicitly Christian prayers.

This will be the official Southern Baptist baptistry, for baptizing all infants born into the official Southern Baptist Church of North Carolina.

… House Joint Resolution 494, filed by Republican Rowan County Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford, would refuse to acknowledge the force of any judicial ruling on prayer in North Carolina – or indeed on any Constitutional topic:

“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,” the resolution states.

“Each state in the union is sovereign and may independently determine how that state may make laws respecting an establishment of religion,” it states.

The Tenth Amendment argument, also known as “nullification,” has been tried unsuccessfully by states for more than a century to defy federal laws and judicial rulings from the Civil War period to President Obama’s health care reforms to gun control.

The resolution goes on to say:

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.

Eleven House Republicans have signed on to sponsor the resolution, including Majority Leader Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, and Budget Chairman Justin Burr, R-Stanly.

Erin McClam of NBC News focuses on the bill’s hostility to the Constitution, “First Amendment doesn’t apply here: N.C. lawmakers push bill for state religion“:

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have introduced a bill declaring that the state has the power to establish an official religion — a direct challenge to the First Amendment.

One professor of politics called the measure “the verge of being neo-secessionist,” and another said it was reminiscent of how Southern states objected to the Supreme Court’s 1954 integration of public schools.

… The North Carolina ACLU chapter said in a statement Tuesday that the sponsors of the bill “fundamentally misunderstand constitutional law and the principle of the separation of powers that dates back to the founding of this country.”

North Carolina scholars also cast doubt on the bill.

“It has elements of not being American,” Gary Freeze, a professor of politics and history at Catawba College, told The Salisbury Post. “I think it goes far beyond religion and frankly doesn’t have a lot to do with North Carolina or tradition.”

Another professor at the college, Michael Bitzer, told the newspaper that the bill is based on discredited legal theory that the states can declare themselves exempt from federal law.

“We saw this in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education,” he said, referencing the integration ruling. “The belief is that the states hold more power than the federal government. If the federal government does something, the states can simply ignore it.”

Just curious, but has anyone ever attempted to invoke this right to “nullification” for any cause that was not morally odious? I mean, the idea started with slave-owners. Then it was tried again by segregationists. Now it’s being tried by sectarian bigots.

This makes the idea useful as a kind of red flashing warning sign. Whenever you hear someone speak favorably of nullification, you can conclude that they hate the Constitution and that they hate some other group of people. That’s useful to know.

Let me explain what I said above about this bill outlawing Baptist churches. As the name suggests, the key distinctive identifier of Baptist churches is their approach to baptism. Baptists practice believer’s baptism — based on a person’s profession of faith or, in other words, based on a person’s free choice. That free choice requires the religious liberty that can only exist with the separation of church and state. Establish an official state religion and you effectively criminalize — or, at best, marginalize — anyone who practices believer’s baptism.

(It’s no coincidence that Southern Baptist enthusiasm for sectarian government has accompanied the Southern Baptist enthusiasm for a Neo-Reformed theology that rejects both the idea of a believer’s church and the idea of the separation of church and state. Max Weber explained all this nearly a century before Al Mohler began demonstrating it.)

But while the theological implications of this North Carolina Republican plan are disturbing, this attempt to establish official sectarian hegemony isn’t mainly a religious effort at all. As Bruce Garrett noted yesterday, “This Really Isn’t About God“:

Arguments about religion are usually arguments about Who’s In Charge rather than arguments about religion. Same thing with arguments about Intrusive Government. Reverence allegedly paid to God is actually directed at the Tribe, in whose name God serves. Figure they’ll be holding a conclave down there somewhere in the old confederacy to elect the first Baptist pope any day now.

I think that’s right. This is about power. To the extent that it’s about religion at all, it’s about how religion can be used to attain and maintain power.

The only alternative to such power-struggles disguised as religion — the only way to keep religion from being consumed by and reduced to such power-struggles — is the separation of church and state.

One more point: If government is not secular, then it must be sectarian. The Republicans of North Carolina have not yet told us which sect they would elevate and establish as the official staatskirche. But they will have to pick one. It won’t do to attempt some broad, generic designation of “Christian” or even of “Protestant.” It will have to be specific.

Rep. Harry Warren is a Methodist. Rep. Carl Ford runs a Baptist radio station. If North Carolina follows their lead and abandons secular government, then at least one of their sects must bow to another. Since an established Baptist Church is an oxymoron, I suppose Warren’s Methodism has the upper hand. I wonder what Methodist Sharia would even look like?

 

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  • http://estneillaamata.blogspot.com/ JulianaSundry

    Good golly. I love my Methodism, but we would be a disaster as an official religion of anywhere, especially if that required running anything. At the last general conference we had an argument over whether or not we were arguing over gay rights (for the record, we ARE, and I’m firmly in support of the side that gives me rights as a gay Methodist), and the “nope, not arguing” faction inexplicably won.

    (Also, first? Cool, and I’m new around here and everything!)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    We promise not to kill you with sheep.

    (Running joke.)

  • Lori

    No, no. JulianaSundry has to promise not to kill us with sheep. We make no such guarantees. :)

  • http://estneillaamata.blogspot.com/ JulianaSundry

    I promise not to kill you, with sheep or anything else. :)

  • quinnthebrain

    SPIDER!

  • http://estneillaamata.blogspot.com/ JulianaSundry

    Oh, good, I was worried about that.

  • DN

    “I wonder what Methodist Sharia would even look like?”

    Thou must sing “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”?

    Thou must bring a dish to share for potluck?

  • http://estneillaamata.blogspot.com/ JulianaSundry

    “Seek ye first the kingdom of God… and then seek ye second the donuts.”

  • Worthless Beast

    I once wanted to start a religion based upon a particularly loving and peaceful anime character. The sacrement was going to be beer and donuts, his favorite foods.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    “The world… is made… of Love and Peace!

  • AnonaMiss

    And all North Carolina churches now have to ordain women.

  • AnonaMiss

    Also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Creed_(Methodist)#1908_Methodist_Social_Creed

    A living wage in every industry? Better check yourselves before you turn into Socialists, Carolinians.

  • P J Evans

    Oh, *definitely* bring a dish for potluck. (Cake or ice cream for those summer afternoon socials.)

  • Dash1

    And there goes North Carolina down the Marxist path: potlucks are the very definition of communism in action.

  • P J Evans

    The minister at our church would sometimes read ‘Ladle Rat Rotten Hut’ for us afterward. I think an entire generation learned it that way (he was there for ten years).

  • Stewart

    Malawi, under Hastings Banda, was a dictatorship, and Banda was a Methodist minister, so technically, a Methodist dictatorship. Apart from the poverty, corruption, and opponents of the government being found dead in the streets, it worked well.

  • histrogeek

    Why must you focus on the negative? People always focus on the opponent shot dead in the street rather than the thousands of people who weren’t shot dead in the street.

    Besides, everyone know that the reason Banda was a true bastard was because he went to the University of Chicago (a big chunk of the library’s Africa collection was donated by Banda, “the lion of Malawi”).

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I wonder if any journalist down there has thought to ask one of the two men which sect they think should be established?

  • hidden_urchin

    Someone needs to ask them both when they’re together and then post the results to YouTube so we can all enjoy it.

    Anyway, I’m just happy it’s not my state being regressive this time. I get tired of apologizing.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’m in KY, I know EXACTLY how you feel!

  • Andrea

    Seconded in Indiana.

  • JustoneK

    Quadrupled in Louisiana.

  • Guest

    Thirded there too!

  • Carstonio

    You’re welcome to move to my state. We legalized same-sex marriage, and we’re about to repeal the death penalty and enact tough new gun laws.

  • ReverendRef

    I wonder if any journalist down there has thought to ask one of the two men which sect they think should be established?

    And then follow that up with, “If that’s the established sect, then it follows that all other sects/denominations will be illegal. Will the State Police be hiring and training more officers to work on Sundays as they will be required to cite every parishioner attending an illegal congregation? Will city/county jail facilities be able to handle the additional influx of clergy prisoners from those illegal congregations? And finally, are you seeing this as an employment/building boom since we will need more State Police officers, more corrections officers and more jails going up in anticipation of the expected crime wave?”

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    And then they can ask when the civil servant rolls will be expunged of those who don’t aspire to the One True Faith

  • Hth

    In fairness, lots of nations with a state religion also permit plenty of other religions to practice freely — the UK comes to mind. What this is really intended to do is to serve as a trump card against those of us who complain about the government-sponsored prayers and services on the grounds that, you know, it unconstitutionally establishes one religion as superior to all others and also to the lack of religion. Now they can just say, Well, yeah! and save a lot of court costs.

  • alfgifu

    Yes, but in the UK we had terrible internal conflict that lasted centuries before we got to religious freedom. The Church of England, much as I love it, is one of those powers that we defanged after a long painful struggle. Like the House of Lords, or the Monarchy – reduced, balanced against other powers, discredited as an authority, and then allowed to earn its way by demonstrating its value.
    It might be possible to skip over the process and start with a nice tame version, but power corrupts, so I very much doubt it. Are there any states that managed to have an established religion and religious freedom from the get-go?

  • JustoneK

    These loosely allied states of mercia…

  • Becca Stareyes

    One thing that strikes me is that as long as the would-be theocrats aren’t getting what they want, it’s a lot easier to pretend that you’re friends with other religious movements. You’re Catholic? Sure, we can ignore the Reformation in the name of abortion and homosexuality. LDS? Well, you hate the right people, so that’s okay by me. Orthodox Jew? Sure, that makes us look like we mean it when we say ‘Judeo-Christian’.

    These groups conveniently forget that not long ago, they were fighting for separation of church and state, because it was used as a bludgeon against anyone not the right sect, not just against atheists, Muslims, pagans and general ‘foreign religions’… or that the tables could turn again once the theocrats get their ‘Judeo-Christian values’ in place. Suddenly things like papal infallibility, position on Jesus, baptism and Joseph Smith might matter again.

  • Lunch Meat

    Especially since we’re already arguing about who gets to define things that can be both religious and legal. If one religion’s understanding of the definition of marriage gets to be put into law, what’s to prevent the Church of Christ from banning baptism by sprinkling, of babies, or without the “correct” words?

  • histrogeek

    Well, actual history as opposed to propaganda myths has never been their strong suit. Nor has considering the entirely predictable consequences of an act.

  • stardreamer42

    A lot of these unholy alliances (and I use the term with malice aforethought) seem to be predicated on the notion that “the enemy of your enemy is your friend”. But that’s never a safe way to bet — it’s just as likely that the enemy of your enemy is also your enemy, just in a different way, and is using you for their own purposes until they don’t need you any more.

  • PatBannon
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Mielke/100001114326969 Marc Mielke

    “I doubt all the men who reddened Caesar’s toga would be seen breaking bread together in peacetime” – Cornelius Slate

  • arresi

    I’ve often told my mom that the fastest way to restore the separation of church and state would be letting the theocrats win for a bit. Let everyone suffer through liberal Episcopalians and conservative Methodists teaching students from the King James Bible and tax money going to the Baptist Church for a while.

    (Mind you, a fight that involves public spaces, taxes, children, and religion is unlikely to be anything but bloody, so speed is really the only thing that method has going for it.)

  • fraser

    I think part of that is the redefinition of Christianity to mean “Republican party platform.” That allow Protestants to treat Romney and Santorum as fellow Christians instead of outsiders.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know, I played through Bioshock Infinite lately, and I feel like I see some of this in its setting of Columbia. A floating city, built in America but no longer part of the union, rejecting a lot of the things that came out of the Reconstruction (such as the end of slavery.) They are a theocratic society, which has replaced worshiping a misrepresented Jesus with misrepresented Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin. In their words, “No one comes to Columbia but through baptism.” In fact, their “immigration terminal” if you can call it that is a huge chapel, full of ankle-deep baptismal water, with a choir singing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” in the background.

    They could not create the kind of society that they wanted in America (despite ostensibly loving it,) so they left it to create their own.

  • Victor Savard

    (((They could not create the kind of society that they wanted in America (despite ostensibly loving it,) so they left it to create their own.)))

    I hear ya Fear less Son but long story short, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PgfQpJFYp8

    I hear ya NOW! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bRJLkNqNXI

    Go Figure folks!? :)

    Peace

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon
  • stardreamer42

    One almost wishes they would. If it could be done without destroying the lives of thousands of innocents who would be trapped there because of lack of money to leave, I’d be tempted to say, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”

  • Victor Savard

    Sorry Fred!

    I know! I know! Some times, sinner vic can be a fuckup too.

    I hear YA! How about Victor NOW?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/diaryofawimpycatholic/2013/03/why-im-catholic-in-200-words/comment-page-1/#comment-39532

    God only knows for sure about “ME”, “ME” and “ME” NOW!?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qqus079lUz8

    Keep praying folks

    Peace

  • histrogeek

    To answer Fred’s question, “has anyone ever attempted to invoke this right to “nullification” for any cause that was not morally odious?”

    Yes, once sort of, when the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were passed opposing the Alien and Sedition Laws in 1798. There the two states were on the side of free speech and immigrant rights. Circumstances were a bit odd there because the doctrine of judicial review hadn’t been developed, so Jefferson (who wrote the Kentucky Resolution) and Madison (governor of Virginia at the time) were looking for someway to overturn obviously unconstitutional laws.

    There is question about whether the 1828 Tariff Crisis was really about the tariff (or if the tariff itself was so bad) or a stand-in for slavery as a way of unifying the South against the federal government. I pretty much agree with the latter, but the former argument is at the edge of plausibility.

    Pretty much though nullification and secession are used for some privileged group within a state to insist that the big bad feds stay out of whatever foully evil thing the state group is up to.

    As a legal history note, nullification advocates in the past never claimed to be able to exempt themselves the U.S. Constitution itself, just federal laws and SCOTUS decisions they didn’t like. Usually the claim is made (even in the secession resolutions in 1860-1861) that the federal government is acting unconstitutionally or that they aren’t required to obey inconvenient federal laws (like the 1828 tariff). I’ve never heard them say the First Amendment (or their other least favorite the Fourteenth) doesn’t apply here.

  • Gotchaye

    Also, Vermont basically nullified the Fugitive Slave Act.

    I wouldn’t read much into historical nullification advocates not claiming to exempt themselves from the Constitution; the Constitution wasn’t taken to place many restrictions on states until after a series of court decisions in the wake of the 14th amendment. To the extent that people now are only asserting that the first amendment doesn’t apply to the states rather than that the first amendment doesn’t apply to anyone, they’re in line with previous nullifiers.

  • histrogeek

    I had forgotten about the personal liberty laws that basically nullified the 1850 Fugitive Slave laws. The fact that those laws were brought up as one of the causes for secession shows how seriously the slave owners took their professed principles (nullification for me but not for thee).

  • Evan

    Just curious, but has anyone ever attempted to invoke this right to “nullification” for any cause that was not morally odious?

    Pedantically, yes. Thomas Jefferson originated it in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, against the Sedition Act which outlawed criticizing the government, and against the Alien Act which allowed the President to expel just about any immigrant. Virginia and Kentucky were both slaveholding states at the time, but they were right in opposing those laws.

  • Matthias

    And more importantly by abolitionists nullifiying the fugitive slave act in the years leading up to the civil war. The infamous Dred Scott decision was triggerd by such a nullifiying law (Personal Liberty Law), which was struck down by the supreme court.

  • Evan

    Great point. Let’s not forget the personal liberty laws, which – without using the word “nullification” – nullified the Fugitive Slave Act far more effectively than any statute that did use that word. (Hey, they even disbarred anyone acting as lawyer for a slave catcher!)

    Still, I think what triggered Dred Scott was actually the statute abolishing slavery, not a personal liberty law. The Wisconsin personal liberty act was addressed in the slightly-later Ableman v. Booth (which declared it unconstitutional, but the case was ignored.)

  • Lorehead

    Sanctuary cities?

  • G.G.

    I’ve never understood the appeal of an official religion, it’s terrible for both church and state. I maintain that the primary reason religion is much stronger in america than in many other countries is because it is voluntary, People are religious if they want to be, not because they are required to be. State sanction opens the floodgates of hypocritical public piety over actual private faith (and we already have enough of that as it is.)

  • SisterCoyote

    Power.

    There’s a bit in Sandman, in the End of the World, where a corrupt leader has somehow made himself both religious/papal-ish leader, and the head of the state. He can now control the people both by threatening their lives with execution/imprisonment, and by threatening their souls with eternal damnation.

  • G.G.

    True: if you are the priest-king it’s a pretty sweet deal for you, but not so great for everybody else. Do all these people think they will end up wielding the power rather than having it used against them?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I have heard it said that one of the features of an authoritarian is that they do not necessarily want the power to chastise you for doing something that they disagree with, as long as they know someone in authority will be able to do it for them.

    Most of them do not think that they will be the priest-kings, but they think that someone who is part of their tribe will be, and will put all those Others in their place.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Is there anyone here from England, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, or Monaco who can speak to the benefits of having an official state religion? I mean, I agree that we oughtn’t to have one in the US, but there seems to be at least a bit of evidence that such things aren’t inherently odious or require that the Baptists close up shop. (There’s bunches of other countries which have state religions. Not all of them are nice places)

  • Grey Seer

    *waves*

    English person reporting in. I can confirm that we have an official state religion in the Church of England. I can also confirm that last I checked, it means very little beyond the name – the church officials exercise no formal political power, and we haven’t had any politicians claiming religious guidance or morality for decades. It’s rather nice.

    Of course, the Church is still quintessentially British, in that it was originally endorsed by the King so that we could thumb our noses at the Europeans and win an ongoing dispute by a technicality.

  • http://twitter.com/pooserville Dave Pooser

    Not much formal political power these days, but don’t CofE bishops automatically hold a seat in the House of Lords? And despite the reform acts of 1911 and 1949, there’s still some political power to the peerage. (Granted, the House of Lords is probably far more democratic than the United States Senate today, but that’s a low bar to clear, alas.)

    And of course as recently as the beginning of the 20th Century the House of Lords (and by extension the Church of England) exercised a great deal of political power, not particularly wisely.

  • christopher_y

    The House of Lords can delay legislation for one term of Parliament, with the notable exception of anything to do with the national budget and the working of Parliament. It can pass amendments, which the House of Commons can subsequently unpass again if they want to. I think the Senate can still do a bit more than that, when it isn’t hamstrung by ideological extremists.

    But the main advantage of being an established church, is that it gives you a platform. When the Archbishops speak, people listen. I imagine that in Scotland, when the Moderator of the General Assembly speaks, people listen. Of course, leaders of other churches and other faiths also have their views reported, but not, so to speak, on the front page.

  • zzxjoanw

    I’m not from Denmark, but I live here right now. Most people here are officialy members of the church (I think), but few actually go more than a couple times a year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Danish citizen here. As has been mentioned, we do still have religious freedom. Mostly, it just means that priests are also civil servants (I recall a lovely story some years back of a priest who was actually an atheist. He got to keep his job because he argued that priest was basically just another job, and nobody had complained about his performance. No source for it, though). As zzxjoanw said, most people are members of the church, and pay tithes (taking along with the normal taxes), but only go to church for special occcasions, such as weddings, baptisms, confirmations, funerals and -maybe- Christmas and/or Easter.
    Speaking of which, baptisms and confirmations are for most just another thing you do as you grow older, with little care for the religious mention. Confirmations are, in effect, a larger 2nd 14th birthday party.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Meh, seems I misremembered about the priest. He didn’t get his job back until he “repented” -.- I liked the story better before.

  • alfgifu

    The Church of England is a mellow, broad and generally comforting organisation these days, but it did take a while to get there. Its early days were a mixture of heady freedom (hey, we don’t have to take orders from Rome any more! Priests can get married!) and bloody enforcement (murder, torture, martyrdoms). There was a lot of power politics involved, of course, but my guess is that any attempt to establish a state religion would run into the same need to exert orthodoxy.

    It took several hundred years to beat the C of E down into its current shape, and the same processes that passed power in the UK from the monarch to the people. The monarch is the head of the church, so reducing the reach and authority of royalty had a knock-on effect. Case in point: bishops used to be appointed by the monarch, they are now appointed by Parliament in her name.

    Pros and cons of the current status:

    – The C of E provides a place of worship and a vicar for everyone in the UK. Wherever you are there is a local parish church.

    – The parishioners have the support of the whole church if they need to (for example) find a new vicar.

    – Resources can be shared across the whole country so wealthy parishes can subsidise those that are struggling.

    – Lots of pretty buildings built down the ages are open to public use both for services and just to visit.

    – From the perspective of the church, being established means that they are under a lot of scrutiny from politicians. This can be useful. Eg, questions in the House of Commons about the failure to ordain women bishops.

    – The church is legally restricted in some ways. Eg, the marriage service is a legal form and cannot be altered from one of the approved versions. This was a problem for me and my husband, as there is no way for an atheist to take the references to God out of the vows.
    – The C of E has a disproportionately loud voice in national affairs, which marginalises people from other sects and faiths.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Thanks for sharing this. I was getting the feeling that this discussion was starting to do the same thing as, say, discussion among american conservatives about universal health care, where they speak of it as if it intrinsically leads to some kind of dystopian hellhole, entirely ignoring the fact that many popular non-hellhole countries have implemented it.

    I think playing into the idea that establishing a religion means destroying religious freedom and turning a state into a theocratic hellhole is (a) kinda insulting to the people who live in countries with established religions, and (2) distracts from the fact that right now, without an established religion, we’ve got theocratic authoritarians in positions of power.

  • Barry_D

    “I’ve never understood the appeal of an official religion, it’s terrible for both church and state.”

    You don’t understand power?

    And ‘terrible for both church and state’ is a feature for some people.

  • Zyzzyva

    For that matter, and in the present day, nullification is basically the grounds that marijuana decriminalization is going on now: since, eg, Washington state doesn’t consider possession of weed a crime, the federal government shouldn’t be able to arrest Washingtonians for possession any more. I agree that it’s pretty far from a morally odious cause, but it is a legally dubious (and, basically, nullification-based) one.

  • MikeJ

    Washington got rid of a few laws about marijuana possession. There are still plenty of circumstances under which it is illegal.

    The argument about feds arresting people is primarily about distribution since the feds don’t bust people walking down the street with a joint. Most people don’t argue that the feds can’t arrest distributors in Washington, merely that they shouldn’t. I think it’s a way to expand legalization (which I’m for!) without all that messy “legislating” and “voting” nonsense, but many people disagree with me.

    Overturning state laws is the first step in legalizing MJ, but it’s only a step. The federal laws need to be fixed, not ignored.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Generally speaking, the (limited) legalization of pot in Washington is legal only insofar as the federal government does not decided to enforce its own laws about pot in Washington. The feds can march into Washington and arrest pot owners in accordance with federal law, but the local Washington authorities do not have an obligation to make those same arrests.

    At least that was my read on the situation.

  • Vermic

    I’m confused; just what is the North Carolina GOP’s endgame here? Even if their resolution passes, how do they think it’s going to turn out when someone inevitably takes it to court? Do they really think they will get away with it?

    Are they in denial about how horribly, horribly doomed their plan is?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    From the reports I’ve read on this, they’re claiming that they don’t see there being a basis for any sort of challenge as they don’t intend to establish any sort of religious test. The claim is that this is a mere formality that won’t be used in any sort of prejudicial manner. There won’t be any sort of penalties for not belonging to the official church, and you’ll still be allowed to freely practice the religion of your choice, you just won’t receive the official North Carolina Religious Seal of Approval. Unofficial religions will still be equal, just separate. How could that be a problem? And after all, how could anyone ever question their good intentions (and their passionate sincerity)? /eyeroll

    Even if they actually believed any of that, and managed to stick to it, one has to wonder what’s the point of having an official religion if having said official religion is a mere formality that somehow manages the impossible feat of not legally privileging the official religion over non-favored religions?

    The most charitable view I can give this is that they just really, really want to be able to have government-sanctioned sectarian prayers as part of their government activities and they, rather naively, just haven’t thought through what that actually means and will result in.

    The less charitable view – and the one that seems more likely – is that they’re all just a bunch of fucking idiots.

  • LL

    “Just a bunch of fucking idiots” it is. And I have little doubt that the fucking idiots in other states (like the one I come from, Oklahoma) will hasten to copy them. People always seem more eager to copy idiocy than common sense.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Or, they really, really want sectarian prayers AND haven’t thought it through AND they’re all idiots. No need to pick just one answer here!

  • SisterCoyote

    I am looking forward to the ACLU wiping the floor with their asses, when this thing reaches its inevitable conclusion.

  • The_L1985

    It depends on what their plan is. The way I see it:

    – If they get away with it, NC turns into a theocracy.

    – If this stupidly blasphemous NC law is rightly struck down, then the GOP gets Persecution Brownie Points.

    It’s almost a win-win for them.

  • Carstonio

    Yes. Philosophically it’s governing by proclamation, with the goals of taking a stand and being on the right side. The same mindset behind Charles Cooper’s strange argument to the Supreme Court that banning same-sex marriage is about modeling social norms.

  • Lorehead

    Usually, this sort of thing just means some state legislators are idiots, and nothing comes of it. That said, this one already has at least fourteen sponsors, including majority leader Edgar Starnes, and is part of a larger pattern, so it’s fair to say this is what the party believes.

    If they actually pass this, they might be trying the Roy Moore strategy.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I suspect that their endgame is to be able to explain why establishing religion might not be constitutional, but the specific reasons that it’s unconstitutional don’t apply to a state refusing to implement Obamacare and Gun Control.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    If the fourteenth amendment due process clause doesn’t apply, then neither does the rest of the fourteenth amendment, and, hey, presto, we’ve got a state arguing for secession so that they can continue treating people as subhumans. I wonder where we’ve seen this before?

  • CoolHandLNC

    The North Carolina Constitution has equal protection and due process clauses. Then, it also explicitly subordinates state law to federal jurisdiction. I doubt these guys have read it or, if they did, they only saw the bits that validated their viewpoint. Such as the rather peculiar freedom of religion clause that establishes the right to “worship Almighty God” in any way one pleases.

  • Carstonio

    Ford and Warren probably know damn well that this nonsense won’t withstand the barest constitutional scrutiny in federal court. While they obviously favor theocracy, this measure isn’t about trying to establish it. This is about setting themselves up as righteous martyrs being crucified by the federal bullies and their Muslim socialist Kenyan leader.

  • The_L1985

    My thoughts exactly.

  • Lorehead

    Hey, they have every right to express their opinion. It’s protected by —

    Oh.

  • Rae

    That’s why they added the “Lalalala I can’t hear you” clause regarding federal court decisions. I mean, obviously it’s not going to work, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to stop them from trying.

  • Jurgan

    ““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; ”

    Okay, I’ve heard of “originalists” wanted to turn back the clock on court rulings, but are they really trying to overturn Marbury v. Madison?
    We don’t have to outlaw churches, though. We can have the established church and some unestablished churches that just don’t have quite as many privileges. Like that baptismal font- perhaps a smaller one for the unestablished religion. You know, one that is equal in quality, just… separate. Separate but equal, you know, I think that’s in the constitution somewhere.
    And that’s your defense of antidisestablishmentarianism for today. I’m enjoying this, because it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to use that word in context.

  • fraser

    They’ve been trying for years. Pat Robertson used to argue that Supreme Court decisions are only binding on the people involved, so Brown vs. Board of Education, for instance, only affects that Board and Brown. Nobody else.
    Meanwhile, Tennessee is pushing for a law that will allow them to give vouchers to religious schools but not to Muslims.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Tennessee is also working on a bill (which shows every sign of passing the House and Senate) which would tie welfare payments to a child’s academic performance, allowing them to reduce payments to families whose children are doing poorly in school. Notably, they do not intend to ensure that every child gets an adequate education.

  • P J Evans

    They’re having trouble finding a way to word that law so it only applies to Christian schools – not that there are many Muslim schools in Tennessee – because they can’t use size as a criterion, and making it more explicit puts them on the obvious side of discrimination..

  • Ben English

    I want you all to know that I, as a Tennessean, didn’t vote for these people and feel a sudden estrangement from any fellow Tennesseans that did.

  • Kirala

    As stupid, wrong, unconstitutional, stupid, and unconstitutional this is… I think this article is being a little melodramatic. I mean, Church of England has been established for centuries, and it hasn’t been a Staatskirche for a long while.

    But I am rather furious with Raleigh for a number of reasons right now. I used to be proud of my state for refusing to join the Union until a Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution. Now I have to be humiliated by the fact that we’re trying to remove the more important parts of the Constitution by using the less important parts.

    Anyone know if Virginia is any better? I mean, if I have to move drastically far away, I will, but I’d prefer to be near home.

  • John

    Virginia is definitely not much better. In several senses. But I have lots of family there, so I don’t complain too much. Especially because I’m currently in Arizona, where our legislators are concerned with who’s using which bathroom.

  • Victor Savard

    ((( (These are not smart men. Bullies never are.) )))

    Forgive me folks butt Fred “IT” is not funny anymore why didn’t YA and you gods give

    Victor that Billion that his souls “ONE” per sense, I mean 1% asked for cause believe “IT” or not we gods are not sure that Victor’ soul will accept that million signing bonus we offered him if he’ll write 66 books for U>S (usual sinner) and we even threw in a brand new car as a signing bonus NOW

    What’s that Fred? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKGZkJNzgwg

    Come on Fred! There is a God NOW! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s9l5EvHeQs and if YA don’t believe me just ask Momma http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtvTv8q7u0o

    Fred! YA can’t say that we alien gods have not been patient with YA and we gods don’t care what some “HOST” movie might eventually tell YA! This “Jesus” Cell of Victor does not exist NOW!

    Listen Fred! His baby daughter just told him that he had a 106 year old grandmother that he never got to meet and his soul is determined to meet his grand mother but Fred, she died last year and that won’t stop him cause his soul wants a galaxy for every “ONE” of his cell you her that U>S god own NOW! http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/the-host-2013/trailers/host-teaser-trailer-171500630.html

    Fred! I don’t know how you’re going to get out of this “ONE” cause even your black pope wants out and doesn’t want any mentioning of him being in the race for the anti-christ butt Victor doesn’t mind being the uncle Christ, if YA get my drift NOW!

    Don’t take my word for “IT” Fred, just check with the other HAS BEEN if YA know what “I” mean NOW?

    Who’s that YA ask Fred? Sorry Fred, “IT” is TOP secret and if we told YA then we alien gods would need to kill YA cause we’re not really allowed to small talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghb6eDopW8I with YA NOW!

    Fred stop trying to be a comedian cause there are enough out of work and if YA don’t believe me just ask Jon Stewart http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-january-29-2013/america-2–now-with-more-freedom—a-glenn-beck-holiday
    and if that doesn’t do “IT” just ask http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMxVQzeWu2Q and….

    And you say sinner vic?
    Sorry folks can’t double check for arrows, “I” mean arrors cause Victor’s back NOW!

    Go Figure folks!?

    Peace

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.withers Mary Withers

    Step up your meds, honey. You are making NO sense to the rest of us.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Lori

    It figures you would link to a guy making an argument that’s clearly untrue from its first sentence.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    T. Woods said “Constitutional”, not “Judicial” restraint. So he’s still right in a sense.

  • Worthless Beast

    Are we even living in America anymore? As I was reading this, I was thinking “Do these guys want to secede, because that’s what it’s going to take,” then I read the word “neo-sessionist.” – Pretty much.
    The problem with establishing any official religion or lack thereof is that you cannot legislate what’s in people’s hearts. I mean, my introversion and general confusion has led me not to darken the door of a church for years and the last “religious symbol” I wore in public was a Triforce, but I do actually believe in things. Conversely, I read little stories here and elsewhere from atheists who go to church on Easter and the like because they want to make their families happy. So, you know, establishing a religion isn’t going to make people more religious – it will make a whole lot of people go thorugh the motions for the sake of keeping their jobs, community standing, etc. while a lot of genuine people are genuinely fringe.
    And I’m sure NC has synagogues…. what about them?
    *Twitches* CONSTITUTION!!! It exists for a reason!

  • Carstonio

    How about the long-term implications for Christianity? It’s very likely that its decline in Europe is because it’s been an official or unofficial state religion in most countries for centuries. It becomes another civic obligation like paying taxes.

  • Worthless Beast

    I’m wondering why I’ve been downvoted two votes when I’m agreeing with everyone here that what these guys are proposing doesn’t make sense. Did someone misread what I said?
    I remember watching some special on PBS about Western Civilization where the host proposed exactly this. Christianity has declined in Europe because people chaffed under it being offficial, while there are churches down the street from one another in America because there is no state officiality attatched to them, allowing them to have divergent styles.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Well, we do sometimes get random readers from other parts of patheos and the internet. Could just be a troll. Is this a good time to lament how I miss the old disqus format where they just had “likes” and you could sometimes see who was agreeing with you? Yes, yes it is.

  • VMink

    I’m not a fan of downvotes myself. I don’t browse by them anyway, but I get that they can be a bit of a surprise. But as Trixie says below, we get the more-than-occasional browse-by trolling by people who think that they’re crushing your ego by downvoting you. Which is self-defeating. Downvotes, Dislikes, and that sort of thing stifle rational discourse and dialogue.

    I miss the old Disqus. They are a singularly unresponsive, unhelpful, and unuseful — and actively harmful — commenting system and company.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So, you know, establishing a religion isn’t going to make people more religious – it will make a whole lot of people go thorugh the motions for the sake of keeping their jobs, community standing, etc. while a lot of genuine people are genuinely fringe.

    I suspect that is irrelevant to them. They want to keep people to be forced to go through the motions because it keeps people who are doubters, who’s faith has faltered, from realizing that there are alternatives.

    It is not about enforcing belief, it is about enforcing structure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.withers Mary Withers

    All THEY are doing is “going through the motions.” Their faith is about as deep to them as their Sports Team Loyalty. (Which means “there’s no good *reason* why theirs is better — it just is, ’cause it’s THEIRS, and they’d be willing to kill you over it.)

    They know next to NOTHING about Scripture, or about Jesus, preferring Good Ol’ “I’m Not Legalistic but Let Me Be Legalistic!!!” Paul or whatever paranoid nonsense Pastor pulled out of his butt this morning after he listened to Hagee.

    A plague on these vicious shallow frauds.

  • Graham Hood

    Actually, its not as deep as sports team loyalty. That can have a genuine emotional connection and there are reasons why one team is better than another. The reasons of choice vary depending on the person but they are there, that’s why it is loyalty. Going through the motions in anything is about placating others or what you are seen to do.

  • LL

    Meanwhile, over in South Carolina, these are the choices facing voters in a special election next month for a congressional seat:

    Elizabeth Colbert Busch-D (yes, Stephen Colbert’s sister)
    Mark Sanford (yes, that one, the Republican who lied about his whereabouts for several days to cover up his extramarital affair)
    A Green Party candidate (name doesn’t matter, he might as well be running for the Communist Party)

    So I’ll wait for the results of that election before I render an opinion on which is the dumbest Carolina.

    Although, yeah, the northern one has pulled ahead slightly.

  • Lori

    I didn’t think it was possible for SC politics to get dumber than they were when I lived there, and then Sanford won his primary. It’s not so much the affair* or even the lying to cover it up, it’s the total dereliction of duty. The head of the state government was totally incommunicado and left no one else in charge. if there had been an emergency while he was humping down the Appalachian Trail there was no one who was actually legally authorized to deal with it. He shouldn’t be allowed to manage a McDonald’s, let alone hold elected office again.

    I have no idea what to think about Elizabeth Busch since I haven’t heard a thing about her except that she’s Stephen Colbert’s sister. I assume she has policy positions and a platform other than “I’m Colbert’s sister”, but i haven’t heard a word about it. I think that says a great deal about our press corps and nothing much about her.

    *I confess it does chap my hide a bit that “values voters” are willing to vote for his guy after he ditched his kids on Father’s Day to fly thousands of miles to schtup his mistress. I guess it’s all retroactively A-OK now that he’s put a ring on it.

  • P J Evans

    I understand she worked as a legislative aide, so she’s not inexperienced.

  • fraser

    It was pointed out elsewhere that his “There but for the grace of God go I” comment on other people’s sex scandals is amazing hypocrisy–after all, he did go there and the grace of God didn’t stop him.

  • Lori

    That goes right along with people saying that if they weren’t Christians they’d kill people or whatever horrible thing they believe atheists will inevitably do. That argument says a lot about the person who makes it and it’s all bad.

  • fraser

    Or there’s the blog post I was reading this morning where the guy was arguing he can’t see any reason rape should be illegal if you’re unconscious and there’s no physical damage. After all, why should your discomfort on learning you’ve been raped outweigh the positive feelings of the rapist?

  • Lori

    Ah yes, Steven Landsburg, misogynist libertarian extraordinaire. I have many thoughts about him and his rape fantasies. I decline to share any of them because they’re inappropriate for a public forum.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I went and looked at the Gawker article vainly hoping that he was making an extremely inappropriate analogy, but nope, he went there. Totally, 100%, Went There.

    I express a sudden and fervent wish for him to step on millions of Lego pieces.

  • Lori

    It’s not just that he went there, it’s that he thought he was being clever. The fact that that man makes a living as a teacher is yet more proof of the unfairness of the universe.

  • fraser

    He attempted to walk this back by saying it was just an experiment, but he goes on to say that he proposed it because he can’t figure out the answers.
    So apparently whether you or the rapist have property rights to your body when you’re unconscious is something he feels is a puzzling question.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, he went there, did he? (-_-)

    I wonder what his wife or girlfriend thinks or for that matter what his mother thinks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.withers Mary Withers

    Not to mention the Surprise Pregnancy!

  • fraser

    Having just paid my NC taxes, I so look forward to seeing my state spend money on defending this shit.I’m inclined to see it as more of the freaking out over knowing their side is sliding into demographic minority status.
    Oh, yet another delightful measure–like Repubs in other state, ours have announced they want to restrict voting by college students because they’re being “manipulated” to vote for Dems.

  • SisterCoyote

    Wow. That goes beyond gerrymandering. I wonder when they’ll come out and say it – if you’re going to vote Democrat, you aren’t allowed to vote.

  • fraser

    Unfortunately I’m sure the dwindling ranks of the white rural Christian male demographic that’s the Republican core will see this as a sign the politicians have their back.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Ah yes, bill 666, elimating a $2500 tax cut for parents whose children are going to vote from another address (such as college, as you said)…

    Naturally, it also reduces early voting opportunity and eliminates early voting sites. It’s currently being reviewed by a committee.

  • reynard61

    From my Facebook page (slightly edited):

    Why does North Carolina hate the U.S. Constitution so much?

    Both of these travesties of lawmaking (the proposed State Religion and College Voter Tax bills) may very well pass through the Republican-controlled legislature “like shit through a goose” (to use a famous phrase) and be signed by it’s Republican Dict-*ahem!*Governor, but I doubt very much that *either* will pass legal muster when they hit the SCOTUS’ bench.

    This is worthless showboating; and while I’d normally save my opprobrium for just the North Carolina Legislature (*especially* the imbecile[s] who introduced these…these…*THINGS*) and the Governor — who should both be ashamed of themselves for wasting both the time *and* money of that state’s citizens by exposing them to the inevitable lawsuits that will follow and the court fights that will end in inevitable defeat — I have little sympathy for those same citizens who *elected* that Legislature and Governor. That money — the money that will be frittered away over the next few years so that a bunch of politicians can preen before the cameras and tell *you* that they are “defending your traditions” or whatever other brainless twaddle they’ll spout in your direction — could have been used for more teachers or policemen or better roads, or even given back to you as a tax refund; but you will never see it again (or any of the benefits that it could have brought you) because a bunch of incompetents have decided that their ideology is more important than you are. The better question might be “Why do North Carolina voters hate themselves so much?”

  • de_la_Nae

    Damnit, we’re having that talk in Indiana too. Theoretically the argument is “These transient voters shouldn’t have a say in how we run things here, since they aren’t really residents.”

    It’s…a dumb argument. This is their primary residence for, what, 9-10 months of a year at least, most of them? Like hell they shouldn’t have a say in how they’re governed. Restricting the voting rights of adult U.S. citizens who spend most of their time in this state for 3-8 years is silly.

  • Hth

    I think we should just keep right on whittling down the force of law into smaller and smaller chunks. Down with the tyranny of the federal *and* state governments!

    This message sent from the Free Republic of Durham County.

  • Lori
  • http://twitter.com/rebelsquirrel Not That Thena

    What I want to know is how are they going to fit all the Baptists in North Carolina into that itty bitty baptismal font?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Update: The bill has been killed. House speaker Thom Tillis reported it this afternoon.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Ah, and in keeping with Republican policy, Warren is now claiming that the bill was not intended to create a state religion. Yes, it came out of arguing that the first amendment shouldn’t stop them from having blatantly Christian-themed illegal prayer sessions on government time, and yes, the bill specifically says that the first amendment wouldn’t apply to the state and they could make laws respecting an establishment of religion, and yes, the bill is called the “Defense of Religion Act”… but it totally wasn’t intended to establish a religion.

    I have no words, only rage.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam
  • P J Evans

    I’d really like to seem them trying to use those arguments to defend it in court.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanWithCupcake Ryan

    Virginia and Kentucky’s resolutions against the Sedition Act were not odious.

  • P J Evans

    There’s a comment upthread that says so, in more detail.

  • Barry_D

    “Since an established Baptist Church is an oxymoron,…”

    I’m sorry to have to tell you, but this belief that Baptists believe in freedom of conscience died the minute that they realized (a) there were enough the them to push others around and (b) slavers pay really good money for false priests who’ll preach slavery.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Mielke/100001114326969 Marc Mielke

    Southern Baptists != All Baptists. It’s the Southern Baptists who split over slavery.

  • P J Evans

    I have Seventh-Day Baptists on my family tree. It’s a small group, compared to the SBC, but much older (mid-17th century Rhode Island; still in existence).).

  • Carstonio

    In a related story, marriage equality appears to now have 51 votes in the US Senate – Bill Nelson of Florida (!) is the latest to join up. Six to go, almost like a Reginald Rose script. Related because the culture war is largely an extension of the Civil War, victory is in sight, and the North Carolina reactionaries are really fighting a rear guard action.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I wish I could be that optimistic. The ways in which the USA seems to be pulling in almost diametrically opposite directions makes me seriously (and fearfully) entertain the notion that a second literal Civil War will happen in the USA.

    And that Canada will somehow get dragged into it.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The problem with a second war of secession happening in the U.S. include

    1. Blacks (which tend to vote Democratic) have voting rights and would probably not like to be part of a potential group of seceding states.
    2. There’s no politically powerful group advocating for secession in the U.S.
    3. The secessionist cause has no major financial backers.
    4. Even conservative-leaning states like Federal dollars.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Y’know, aside from the fourteen people in office (that we know of) who just voted to pretend that the federal government has no jurisdiction over North Carolina. :P

  • Lori

    And Texas Governor (and erstwhile major party presidential candidate) Rick Perry who has been stoking secessionist sentiments for quite a while now (sore loser).

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Nullification is not secession.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    A state declaring it has the right to ignore whatever the federal government says and do things which are blatantly unconstitutional does not strike me as being a member of the union anymore. That they’d still like to collect on federal monies and benefits doesn’t mean they’d still be part of the “united” States.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    There’s nothing unconstitutional about nullification. See http://www.nullificationfaq.com/
    There’s also nothing unconstitutional about a state setting up its own state religion, although I strongly oppose any and all state religions.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Er, it violates the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Which was passed through a truly bizarre method. I don’t see anything in the 14th Amendment that prohibits the establishment of a state religion.

  • solandis

    Through what’s known as the incorporation doctrine, courts have held that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment applies most of the protections of the Bill of Rights to the states, in particular the injunction against the establishment of religion was held to apply to the states in Everson v. Board of Education (1947).

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Though I support the incorporation doctrine due to its beneficial results, I can’t find it supportable by the Constitution. It is extremely doubtful anyone in the 1860s could have seen the incorporation doctrine as a viable interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

  • solandis

    Likely true, but not really relevant unless you’re an even stricter originalist than Scalia. Few people in the 1860’s would have thought that the Equal Protection clause would prohibit racial segregation in schools (Brown v Board of Education) or that the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses would prevent states from outlawing interracial marriage (Loving v Virginia). If I recall correctly, legislators at the time even said explicitly that the 14th and the other Reconstruction amendments would NOT have that kind of effect. Even Scalia admits that, for example, we need not interpret the ban on cruel and unusual punishments in exactly the way the Founders would have.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It’s all in the due process clause. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Due_Process_Clause#Incorporation_of_the_Bill_of_Rights

    If the Constitution and amendments didn’t apply to the states, then the fourteenth amendment itself wouldn’t apply to the states and slavery would still be legal. That’s the grimmer side of North Carolina’s actions — they could just as easily be saying “This doesn’t apply to us. Negros, put your chains back on!”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    A good case can be made against the legitimacy of the Reconstruction amendments-how can a state be in the Union and outside of it at the same time? As I said in my reply to solandis,

    Though I support the incorporation doctrine due to its beneficial results, I can’t find it supportable by the Constitution. It is extremely doubtful anyone in the 1860s could have seen the incorporation doctrine as a viable interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    So what you’re saying is the states, during the secession when they tried to run off and form their own country, might have had a different opinion of whether or not they were still part of the United States? And that their opinion, while they were off trying to form their own country, should still be fully relevant following the dissolution of the Confederation back into the boundaries of the United States?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I am saying that as the former Confederate states during Reconstruction were not treated as “states” by Congress while these former Confederate states were ratifying the Reconstruction amendments, the Reconstruction amendments have at best questionable legitimacy.

  • P J Evans

    Do you have anything to back that up? As I recall, the punishments during Reconstruction were at the level of individuals, not states.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    By “treated as “states” by Congress” I mean “represented in Congress”. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstruction_Era#Readmission_to_representation_in_Congress for the date each state was readmitted into the Union. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
    for when each state ratified the 14th Amendment. In all cases, the former Confederate states became treated as “states” by Congress during or after the day they ratified the 14th Amendment.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    So what you’re saying is that if they so wanted, they could bring back slavery, make it illegal for women to vote, outlaw any religion other than Quakerism and mass an army to declare war on the federal government — and they’d still be just like any other state. :p

    No, I’m going to go with “if you don’t play by federal rules, you don’t get to play the federal game.” They’re either all in or they’re not part of the US. The alternative is a return to the days of the Articles of Confederation, and we know how well that turned out.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    “make it illegal for women to vote” and “mass an army to declare war on the federal government” only if they seceded.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    What you’re saying is that slavery was still fully legal in Mississippi until 2/19/2013 and until that date they were only yielding to unconstitutional peer pressure from the rest of the country — and you don’t see a problem with this logic.

    Um, okay. Yeah, I have nothing further to say on this.

  • P J Evans

    Yes, that’s why so many people signed those ‘secession’ petitions at WH.gov this year. And why all the Southern states (as well as some that aren’t) are busy trying to find ways to ignore not only Federal law but also the Constitution, even if they have to use arguments that require misreading the Constitution just for a start.

    Pull the other one, it’s the same fucking idea as in 1861: they want to reinstitute legal discrimination against people they fell superior to: minorities, women, non-Christians, people with low-income…

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Also, it must be remembered that women constitute the majority of the population around most of the country. Would they really support the secessionist cause?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Er, why should their being women stop them from being pro-seccessionist? I can quote women who think it’s “disgusting” that other women would fight back against a rapist or attempt to seek legal action against their rapist. It’s kind of established that women are capable of being monsters right alongside men. Just look at Bachmann.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You might be right, AnonymousSam. I thought at least most women in hypothetically secessionist areas would be aware of the Republican war on their reproductive rights.

  • Cathy W

    I’m sure a lot of them see it not as a war on their own reproductive rights, but as a way to make sure the dirty ;sluts get what’s coming to them, because they are Good Ladies Who Only Use Their Ladyparts In The Approved Manner So Surely This Won’t Affect Me.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I wish. Given that most of those representatives are married, it would be nice if their wives understood exactly what it was their husbands are doing.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The two times I’ve been to Planned Parenthood for medical care, the majority of the people standing outside yelling at me for “going to kill my baby” were other women. The person that told me that if even one “innocent little angel” was saved by their crap, it didn’t matter how many women they traumatized was a woman.

    There are women out there who are solidly pro-forced birth. If merely being a woman meant that you were pro-choice, we’d likely have voted out most of the pro-forced birthers by now and womens’ autonomy wouldn’t be anywhere near as precarious as it is.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You’re probably right.

  • Victor Savard

    (((And that Canada will somehow get dragged into it.)))

    You’re right Invisible Newtrino so I would ask you to pray for me cause i’m afraid that without GOD’s help, society is going to kill me cause, they’ve taken my Canadian Family from me and they’ve literally had me evicted from a junior high school and although at the time, my children told me that this junior high principal was a dyke but “IT” did’nt matter to me at the time cause I believed that she should have her say and long story short, four registered appointment later, this so called Dyke who had been a principal for about four years got me thrown out of school but “IT” didn’t stop there and again because of my writing she found out that I had a gun and longer story short, I spent a night in jail and the next morning, I was lucky enough to remember our five daughters name otherwise, I may have probably been lost in paper work.

    I hear YA! I wrote about “IT” and if they put my writing to get her, I mean together, I would bet that they would have “ONE” of the biggest NOV HELL, I mean novel ever but “I’ve” been wrong before. I don’t want to write a book here so trust me “IT” is not society to blame although that would be an easy route for “ME”, “ME” and “ME” to take.

    Again I hear YA! I’ve challenge them to keep me in a hospital but this doctor who will remain nameless (whille readiing some of my material that society supplied. Anyway this good doctor said in so many words that he couldn’t keep me in any hospital cause “I” was not crazy.

    Why do “I” get the impression that so many people are laughing and feeling sorry for this body of mine? Like Jesus said in so many words, feel sorry for your children but then again maybe there is no real god NOW!

    Go Figure! :)

    Truth be known, “I’M” probably http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ul3fPdeGYw

    Keep praying cause something tells me that “IT” will help U>S (usual sinners) in the long run NOW.

    Peace

  • AnonaMiss

    Please don’t use anti-gay slurs here Victor.

    Also, the principal’s sexuality would appear to have nothing to do with why she had you removed from the premises. The only way it could have remotely affected that is if you were using anti-gay slurs, or flashing her or something – and in either circumstance, removing you from the premises would be absolutely appropriate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Mielke/100001114326969 Marc Mielke

    I don’t think anti-gay slurs have the same meaning in Victor’s post. Think of them more as one of the less lovely veggies (the turnip, perhaps) in his usual word salad.

  • Carstonio

    We’re down to four this morning – Manchin of WV, Landrieu of LA, Pryor of AR, and Johnson of SD.

    The US was bitterly divided during the Vietnam era but never reached the point of civil war. Perhaps that was because there weren’t billions of dollars in wealth and property at stake like there was with slavery. Similarly, the culture war could turn into a shooting war, but I suspect it’s not as likely as you suggest. Every poll I’ve seen suggests that the reactionary side in the culture war is mostly older white Southern evangelical men, fuming against their demographic destiny. To put it bluntly, these issues may ultimately be settled by the Grim Reaper.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.withers Mary Withers

    Oh, there are some DISGUSTING young “Libertarian” fools of the Paul Ryan sort who figure they’re going to continue Holy Breitbart’s BS Revival ….

  • Julie

    The only thing that strikes me as less scary than a Methodist Sharia might be an Episcopalian Sharia.

  • EllieMurasaki
  • P J Evans

    Sister Cruise Missile of Mild Honesty thanks you.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    As an attempted Unitarian, this may be the most hilarious thing I’ve seen all week.

  • reynard61

    Non-denominational Ponytheist Crusaders! YAY!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Mielke/100001114326969 Marc Mielke

    Really, to bring them in line all the Fed needs do is turn off the tap:
    $2,457,808,838 is a lot of money to leave on the table. (2008, to pick a random year).
    http://www.federalfunding.net/states/nc.htm

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Has anyone noticed that Disqus now “scrolls off” old comments when you hit the “load more” button, and you now have to refresh the page to get back the previous batch of comments?

    Holy clunky interface, Batman.

  • P J Evans

    Yep. It’s annoying, because they don’t provide a way to scroll *up*.

  • Lori

    AFAICT when a thread gets long enough it’s possible for some comments to essentially fall off the map and become totally unreadable. There’s at least one comment that is too low to read when I first pull up the thread, but when I load more comments it gets pushed off the top of the page.

    Disqus is basically only usable for short comment threads that die the day the start. Any long thread, especially one that ranges over multiple days, is almost impossible to follow. IOW, Disqus is totally wrong for this blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.withers Mary Withers

    Disqus is a total POS.

  • CoolHandLNC

    I’m sorry to say that I’m in Carl Ford’s district. He ran unopposed in a gerrymandered district where the winner of the Republican primary always wins.
    He routinely exploits religion, and the cross of Christ, for personal and political gain.
    when he was on the County Commission, he took his turn leading the Pledge of Allegiance. However, at his radio station just down the road from my house, they fly the North Carolina flag and the Israeli flag. No American flag. Real patriotic.
    that’s the angle Martin Luther King prayer breakfast kama which is not an official function, he declined to read the county’s Proclamation. Instead kama he started to go on about how dr. Martin Luther King was an advocate of a small government. I sort of regret not shouting at him to sit down and shut up.

  • Ygorbla

    Actually, the first time nullification was mentioned as a concept was in the

    Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, where Jefferson and Hamilton used it to argue resistance to the Alien and Sedition Acts.

    I think most people would agree today that resisting the Alien and Sedition acts was an admirable goal, even if the argument they were relying on was incredibly dangerous to the country in the long run.

  • L4ou

    As a Methodist clergyman I would have to lean toward extensive, mandated potlucks; grape juice only, make that Welch’s Grape Juice only; and lots of “passing the peace”!

  • P J Evans

    I don’t know what kind of grape juice we used, but it wasn’t Welch’s.

  • misanthropy_jones

    this is going to open quite an amusing can of worms.
    when and how to baptize, what to drink at communion,which hymns are appropriate and what type of accompaniment is allowable, old earth or new earth…
    boy, to be a fly on that wall…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Can we please, please, please voluntarily commit to NOT THREADING replies? Use the post box exclusively as a stopgap measure until Disqus fixes its shit?

    I, for one, will resolve to use this method in the NRA post due to come any time today now.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Only if you want me to never participate in comment threads again. I cannot Disqus at work, and I do not want to Disqus at home more than absolutely necessary to subscribe to any new threads that have arrived while I was unable to Disqus and to read any comments on those threads that appeared in that timespan. The marvelous thing about email notifications, other than the fact that I can reply to the email and it’ll post my comment? They come in chronological order.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The marvelous thing about email notifications, other than the fact that I
    can reply to the email and it’ll post my comment? They come in
    chronological order.

    Well, we need that CSS tweaker, then. Or that NoScript surrogate script.

    The main problem is not the threading itself.

    It’s the threading, COMBINED WITH the new way Disqus scrolls off comments. It breaks the threading when threads get too long.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    So… they’re basically arguing that the U.S. Constitution committed suicide upon accepting into its parchment the Tenth Amendment.

    That’s… special.

    I kind of considered “This document establishes what is and isn’t constitutional in the United States” to be sort of the implied purpose of the document. But apparently since that power isn’t set out explicitly, that power must be reserved for the states alone. Like, oops, the Founders forgot to write it down as a Zeroeth Amendment, therefore the whole document gets the “‘ain’t’ ain’t a word ’cause ‘ain’t’ ain’t in the dictionary” treatment. Whee?

    *facepalm forever*

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The thing is, the founders were not of one mind about federalism. Slavery is pretty much the reason that the predominate interpretation of the constitution ended up not being “We are placing careful restrictions on the federal government, but the individual states are essentially sovereign nations for 75% of all purposes and can enact whatever laws they see fit,” and to that extent, a lot of what’s in the constitution and the bill of rights was written with an eye toward “The feds can’t come in and force states to abide by restrictions on the freedoms of their citizens greater than what the people of that particular state have agreed to (I’m looking at YOU, DEA),” not toward “The states can’t restrict the freedom of the americans living there more than the limits set up by the federal government”. There was a big difference of opinion among the founders whether power started with the states and proceeded “upward” to the federal government, or if power started with the federal government and devolved downward to the states — essentially, whether the states were business units or wholly-owned subsidiaries of ConFederalGovernmentCo

    Becoming “one nation” rather than “several states” is something that happened over time, and really only became “the” way we think of the US after the civil war. And there’s a lot of reasons that it was the right way for the nation to evolve (For example, the economic clusterfrak in the EU is the sort of thing that gets markedly worse when you’re a single economy made up of a bunch of largely sovereign nations), but it’s not the mindset with which a lot of the constitution was written, and we’ve been basically running the country on a kludge for a century and a half, trying to back-patch a set of rules for running a union of several mostly-independent states to run a single nation with heavily matrixed administrative subdivisions.

  • P J Evans

    I keep thinking of Michael Flynn’s ‘In the Country of the Blind’, where at one point he says it’s like a game of telephone: after about five generations, the original idea gets lost or distorted out of recognition.

  • Fusina

    http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/legislation/constitution/ncconstitution.html

    That is all. They are going against their own state constitution. Mmm-Hmmmm.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Michele Presnell, one of the bill’s supporters, was asked recently if she would be comfortable with someone holding a public prayer to Allah before a legislative meeting.”

    Her response: “No, I don’t condone terrorism.”

    She then went on to justify her support of the bill by saying “we just need to start taking a stand on our religious freedom or it will be whisked away from us.”


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