North Carolina Republicans Ignore First Amendment Rights of Religious Freedom

With North Carolina voting for Obama I had thought that maybe the state was rejecting conservative ideology and has decided that, unlike the red states, it prefers the 21st century and a nation as envisioned by the Founding Fathers. The right wing has been spreading a revisionist history which denies the intention of the Founding Fathers, which is clear in their writings and legal documents of the time, to create a secular state characterized by separation of church and state. The far right falsely claims that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. While in early days of the nation First Amendment rights were not applied to the states, this changed with ratification of the 14th Amendment. Republicans in North Carolina are now proposing what amounts to the creation of a state religion in violation of the Constitution:

A resolution filed by Republican lawmakers calls for North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.

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

Overtly Christian prayers at government meetings are not rare in North Carolina. Since the Republican takeover in 2011, the state Senate chaplain has offered an explicitly Christian invocation virtually every day of session, despite the fact that some senators are not Christian.

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

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