Target: Arthur Randallson, Director of the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign
Goal: End the bid to make Christianity the official state religion of Mississippi
A group in Mississippi has recently unveiled a state initiative to make Christianity the official state religion. Somehow the language of the initiative has already been approved by Mississippi’s Secretary of State, so the initiative is now busy gaining the 107,216 signatures it needs to be included on the 2016 ballot. Demand that the organization responsible for this initiative immediately abandon it.
A Mississippi organization called the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is collecting signatures to put their proposed state constitutional amendment, called Initiative 46, on the 2016 ballot. The initiative’s primary goal is to make Christianity the official state religion of Mississippi. According to their own website, it would make the state constitution “officially acknowledge Mississippi as a predominantly Christian and quintessentially Southern state in her population, character, culture, history, and heritage–and officially acknowledge the importance of the Holy Bible and prayer to the people of Mississippi!” Apparently, the campaign thinks including the caveat that “the acknowledgements hereby secured shall not be construed to transgress either the national or the state Constitution’s Bill of Rights” makes their attempt to do just that somehow ethically sound.
In addition to codifying Mississippi as a Christian state, the initiative includes a number of other familiar refrains often seen with xenophobes, including making moves to honor the Confederacy at public buildings and in public schools and to make English the state’s official language. Clearly in violation of the First Amendment, this initiative shouldn’t even get to the ballot in the first place. Sign the petition below to urge the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign to abandon its initiative.
Dear Director Randallson,
I am writing you today about your organization’s Initiative 46. There are many problems with this initiative, and I urge you and your organization to abandon it immediately.
While the language of Initiative 46 somehow received the necessary approval to be included on the future ballot, that should not be taken as an indication the initiative has any legitimacy in our day and age. The move to make Christianity the state religion, despite the initiative’s claim that it somehow doesn’t actually doesn’t do that, is in blatant violation of the First Amendment and is discriminatory against Mississippians who are not Christian. Indeed, if that appeal alone is not enough to sway you, make no mistake that Mississippi will more than likely be drawn into expensive legal battles over the content of this initiative should it gain the necessary signatures and be approved when it’s put to a vote to become the law of the land. That means it’s not only bad for Mississippians, it’s bad for your tax dollars.
Bearing these issues in mind, I urge you and the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign to abandon this initiative and the push to get it on the 2016 ballot. It is nothing but an exercise in religious xenophobia and legal untenability.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: US Government MS State Seal