Wednesday, April 03, 2013

that's what i like about the south, part 4

The North Carolina legislature is considering a measure that would authorize establishing a state religion.

Here it is:

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.

The thing is, there's no doubt but what the majority of North Carolinians would want that very thing.

And in this case they might get a surprise. Nowhere does it say in the proposed legislation or in the entire Huffpo article (though I might have missed it) the word "Christian."

But assuming that's what they want, there's two approaches the US could take here.

First, we have to answer the question whether states are able under the Constitution to establish state religions. The First Amendment says only that the US government may not. And actually, the Constitution says remarkably little about what the states may or may not do. There's Amendment X, and some stuff in Articles V and VI. Did I skip anything?

Also, there's the tradition of the states following the lead of the national government in all things, kind of like mini-feds. But that's just a tradition.

I have no doubt the US government could interpret the first amendment as applying to every state and make it stick. But do we want to do that?
Why don't we just let them be who they are? 

"Who they are" will remain undefined here, at least for now. And that's what I like about the south.

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