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“That's something religious believers often forget: Separation of church and state doesn't just work for atheists. It works for believers. Imagine that in your town, people of a radically different faith than yours started flocking in from around the country, and within a few months they were in the majority. Would you want their god prayed to at your city council meetings? Would you want their religion taught to your kids in the public schools? Would you want their holy texts posted in your courthouse? If not—then please shut the hell up about how keeping religion out of government is a horrible form of religious repression.”—Greta Christina, Why Are You Atheists So Angry?
“First, let's address what I believe may be pronoun issues. You think our First Amendment protects us from their mosque, when in reality the First Amendment protects their mosque from us.”—Jon Stewart (about Presidential candidate Herman Cain’s comments denouncing a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
First Amendment doesn't apply here: N.C. lawmakers push bill for state religion
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have introduced a bill declaring that the state has the power to establish an official religion — a direct challenge to the First Amendment.
The bill says that federal courts do not have the power to decide what is constitutional, and says the state does not recognize federal court rulings that prohibit North Carolina and its schools from favoring a religion.
The bill was introduced Monday by two Republican representatives from Rowan County, north of Charlotte, and sponsored by seven other Republicans. The party controls both chambers of the North Carolina Legislature.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued last month to stop the Rowan County Commission from opening meetings with Christian prayers. One of those prayers declared that “there is only one way to salvation, and that is Jesus Christ,” the ACLU said.
The bill does not specify a religion.
The North Carolina ACLU chapter said in a statement Tuesday that the sponsors of the bill “fundamentally misunderstand constitutional law and the principle of the separation of powers that dates back to the founding of this country.”
North Carolina scholars also cast doubt on the bill.
“It has elements of not being American,” Gary Freeze, a professor of politics and history at Catawba College, told The Salisbury Post. “I think it goes far beyond religion and frankly doesn’t have a lot to do with North Carolina or tradition.”
Well. This is terrifying.