Tags: north | carolina | gop | religion

GOP Bids to Establish State Religion in North Carolina

Wednesday, 03 Apr 2013 09:56 AM

By Kenneth Hanner

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North Carolina Republican lawmakers have proposed a bill that exempts the state from federal court rulings that prohibit the establishment of an official state religion.

The lawmakers’ action came in response to a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking to halt the Rowan County Board of Commissioners from opening their meetings with prayers, according to wral.com.

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The bill cites the Constitution’s 10th Amendment giving sovereignty to the states. “Each state in the union is sovereign and may independently determine how that state may make laws respecting an establishment of religion,” the bill says.

“The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina … from making laws respecting an establishment of religion,” says the bill filed by state Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford, who both come from Rowan County in the center of the state.

The bill has nine other Republican co-sponsors, including powerful House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes and House Budget Chairman Justin Burr. Another cosponsor is state Rep. Larry Pittman, who earlier this year filed a gun bill to allow carrying concealed weapons to fight federal “tyranny,” Huffington Post reported.

A 2011 ruling by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court allowed prayers at Forsyth County Board of Commissioners meetings as long as they didn’t favor one religion over another. The ACLU suit in Rowan County claimed that 97 percent of the prayers were explicitly Christian, wral.com reported.

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