State religion proposal dies in House

Posted April 4, 2013

— A House resolution supporting the creation of an official religion in North Carolina will never come to a vote, officials said Thursday.

House Speaker Thom Tillis' office said House Joint Resolution 494 was dead.

The resolution was filed by Republican Rowan County Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford, and a dozen other GOP House members signed on as co-sponsors.

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

In a 2011 ruling on a similar lawsuit against the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not ban prayer at government meetings outright, but said prayers favoring one religion over another are unconstitutional.

The resolution also would refuse to acknowledge the force of any judicial ruling on prayer in North Carolina, noting that the First Amendment clause prohibiting government establishment of religion applies to Congress and not to state or local governments.


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  • rev3 Apr 13, 2013

    Thanks for the article Laura and Matthew,

    North Carolina disestablished the Church of England as its colonial state religion in 1776, fifteen years before the states ratified the U.S. Bill of Rights. Ironically, North Carolina was far more progressive in its disestablishment of religion than Congress.



  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 8, 2013

    @mrday69, said 'I love how people scream..."I don't believe in God, and I want to be heard on this.”’

    If government officials started every government meeting with “Please stand, bow your heads and respect the fact that there is no god”, THEN you might have a point. But, we don’t want to be heard. We want government to remain silent on religion/atheism. Nothing for. Nothing against.

    The problem is that you believe that your rights are being reduced when a government official doesn’t praise YOUR beliefs...in public...at the beginning of a public, tax-paid meeting...while everyone in the entire rooms is quiet & waits for you to finishing praying.

    Can you see the difference between promotion and neutrality?

    If not, pretend that the prayers are to Allah...and see if that doesn’t suddenly trigger some “do unto others” thoughts.

    Sheesh. We just want gov’t to remain neutral. No pro. No con. Nothing for anybody. Is that really too much for you?

  • ChgoGrl Apr 5, 2013

    Hahaha! That's how the whole country responds to every new law NC creates. You've done a fine job, Gov, making NC a laughing stock!

  • clickhere Apr 5, 2013

    fix the real problems and leave religion to personal choice. get the State budget in order, that's your job, not trying to dictate your personal morality. Glad this bill died, but it should NEVER have been introduced.

  • geosol Apr 5, 2013

    Love to see the REPUBLICAN legislature try to shove UNCONSTITUTIONAL legislation down the good people of North Carolina's throat while they totally IGNORE that "jobs, Jobs, JOBS" LIE that the REPUBLICANS used to trick us into voting for them. Meanwhile, the REPUBLICANS are hard at work looking for more tax breaks for multi-millionaires.

  • KBUT1 Apr 5, 2013

    I am truly astounded that there was at least one piece of idiotic claptrap that even the Repubs thought went too far. Now they can get on with the serious business of disenfranchising minorities and the elderly, denying healthcare to the poor, turning our waters supply over to the needs of the petroleum industry, eliminating jobs in the alternative energy field, and ignoring constitutional abuses in the area of criminal justice.

  • Plenty Coups Apr 5, 2013

    "The days where people could actually GREET YOU at the door of any government building OR private business for that matter with a "Merry Christmas" versus the "Happy Holidays".

    My new favorite is "Happy Winter Solstice", the REAL, original, and oldest "reason for the season".

  • mrday69 Apr 5, 2013

    I love how people scream..."I don't believe in God, and I want to be heard on this. If you believe in God, great, that's your opinion, but I don't want to hear it. I only want to hear that people don't believe in God, OK?"

    "Separation of Church and State" supporters should also support "Separation of School and State".

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Apr 5, 2013

    "The days where people could actually GREET YOU at the door of any government building OR private business for that matter with a "Merry Christmas" versus the "Happy Holidays".

    I really don't understand why people get so worked up over this. Hannukah, Kwaanza AND Christmas all occur around the same time, so why is it so terrible to respect the fact that other people might observe a different (or additional) holiday than you do? Besides, Thanksgiving and New Year's also fall around the same time, so what's wrong with a blanket "Happy Holidays" that you can apply as you see fit?

  • Quagmire Apr 5, 2013

    So exactly how many jobs did this bill create?