By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
A bill introduced into the North Carolina General Assembly that could have established an official state religion will not be going forward. House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Charlotte) decided on Thursday, April 4 that the bill would not receive a full vote in the House, effectively killing the legislation.
State Reps. Carl Ford (R-China Grove) and Harry Warren (R-Salisbury) introduced House Joint Resolution to Proclaim the Rowan County, North Carolina Defense of Religion Act of 2013 on Monday, April 1.
Section 1 of the joint resolution read, “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 read, “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.”
After the bill was first introduced, Jason Bivins, professor with the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at N.C. State University, said the legislation seemed to be an “obvious misreading of the Constitution”.
He said the legislation seemed off-base and pointed to the Lemon Test from the 1971 Supreme Court decision Lemon v. Kurtzmann.
Bivins commented, “Legislation is held to be Constitutional only if it 1) shows a secular legislative purpose, 2) has a primary legislative effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion, and 3) does not foster excessive government entanglement with religion.”
Speaker Tillis and Reps. Ford and Warren did not respond to requests for comment by press time.