Target: House Speaker Thom Tillis
Goal: Praise House Speaker Tillis for not allowing a vote on a blatantly unconstitutional bill that would have established a state religion in North Carolina
State Reps. Carl Ford (R-China Grove) and Harry Warren (R-Salisbury) recently introduced a bill known as the North Carolina Defense of Religion Act of 2013. The bill would have allowed for the introduction of a state religion in North Carolina, most likely Christianity, by refusing to recognize that the U.S. Constitution forbid the establishment of a religion by a state government. It would also have refused to recognize federal court rulings that forbid the establishment of religion in public schools. Sign the petition to praise House Speaker Tillis for killing the blatantly unconstitutional bill.
The bill 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.” This is of course untrue. The First Amendment of the Constitution and relevant Supreme Court rulings that incorporated the First Amendment against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, make clear that neither federal nor state governments may establish a religion. The bill went on to state, “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.”
The bill would have been in clear violation of the Constitution and the 1971 Supreme Court ruling in 1971 Lemon v. Kurtzmann which ruled that legislation is only constitutional if there is a secular legislative purpose that does not advance or inhibit religion and does not foster excessive government entanglement with religion. Sign the petition to praise House Speaker Tillis for stopping the blatantly unconstitutional bill.
Dear House Speaker Tillis,
I am a concerned citizen writing to applaud your refusal to allow the clearly unconstitutional North Carolina Defense of Religion Act of 2013 bill to reach the assembly for a vote. It is shocking that such a bill was proposed at all. Anyone who is knowledgeable about the Constitution and the history of our nation knows that it is well established that government – federal or state – may not establish a religion.
The Founding Fathers had very good reasons for turning away from the establishment of a state religion since they were well aware of the bloody years of religious warfare that had wracked Europe. It is disturbing that two state representatives saw fit to propose a bill that was not only entirely unconstitutional but contrary to historical lessons. Thank you for ensuring that the bill did not see the light of day. I only hope that the state representatives involved will learn from this experience.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: National Constitution Center via Flickr