According to ABC News, the North Carolina bill that would annul the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution—the amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion—is now dead in the water.
The legislation, House Joint Resolution 494, filed Monday by two GOP legislators and co-signed by 12 others, says the Supreme Court cannot block a state “from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.” But on Thursday, House Speaker Thom Tillis’ said the resolution was dead, according to WRAL.
The bill was initially filed in response to a lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, which, the ACLU said, opened 97 percent of its meetings in 2007 with explicitly Christian prayers. Filing the lawsuit on behalf of three residents, the ACLU wrote in a press release, “the commissioners, who deliver the prayers themselves, routinely call on Jesus Christ and refer to other sectarian beliefs during invocations.”
The legislation filed by Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford stated 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.”
Warren and Ford did not return several requests for comment, but Warren told The Salisbury Post he never really expected the bill to go too far.
“I didn’t expect it to go anywhere,” Warren told the newspaper, noting that the bill was referred to the committee for Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House. “Quite often bills go there and never come out.”
How cynical can you get? Proposing legislation that they know won’t pass? That’s just grandstanding for their constituents. That may garner them support from their religious constituents, but wastes the legislature’s time and the taxpayers’ money. Of course, as several commenters noted, the North Carolina bill already contravened both the Constitution’s other provisions and Supreme Court opinion> This was emphasized by a local law professor:
University of North Carolina constitutional law professor Michael Gerhardt said “people can believe what they want to believe.”
“They are entitled to believe it, they are entitled to think it, they are entitled to say it, but they aren’t entitled to act on it,” Gerhardt said. “However they are not entitled to reject applicable Supreme Court opinion.”
This is a brushfire, of course, and not the end of the fire, for many of the faithful in the South always want to impose Christianity on everyone, or at least expose them to its doctrine.