A bill filed this week by two Republican lawmakers from Rowan County, N.C., calls for their state to be permitted an official religion. The proposal, supported by nine other GOP members, would essentially excuse North Carolina from the guidelines set forth by the Constitution and past legal judgments.
In response to criticism that their bill goes against the Establishment Clause, the Republicans who proposed it say that the First Amendment only applies to the federal government – not to state and local governments. Beyond that, as noted by the Huffington Post, they also maintain that the Tenth Amendment “prohibits court rulings that would seek to apply the First Amendment to state and local officials.”
This bill’s main sponsors are Carl Ford and Harry Warren. Its co-sponsors include Edgar Starnes and Larry Pittman.
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.
This bill is a response to a lawsuit filed in March by the ACLU against the Rowan County Board of Commissioners over the fact that they have opened the majority of their meetings over the past five years with Christian prayers.