N.C. minorities remain worried after religion bill is pulled

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North Carolina State Capitol photo courtesy Jim Bowen via Flickr (http://flic.kr/p/29r1Gu)

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (RNS) A resolution aiming to give North Carolina the freedom to defy the Constitution and establish its own religion won’t get a vote in the N.C. General Assembly, but religious minorities say it's a dangerous sign for a majority-Christian state with a growing minority population.

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  • Kay Robin Alexander

    “Worried” does not even begin to describe the rage and terror that I have been feeling in the wake of this horribly misguided, un-American attempt to install religious zealotry as state policy. When one religion is privileged over all others, exclusion and discrimination swiftly follow, with no legal recourse for the victims. And anybody who doesn’t think that road leads directly to disenfranchisement, displacement, enslavement, and mass murder is sadly deluded. The so-called Christians who want to turn North Carolina into a theocracy have much to learn about human history, and about the history of this republic in particular. Only when they give up their attempts to place a stranglehold on every aspect of social, political, and economic life in this state will THEY be true Americans.

  • Now you know how we atheists feel. The separation of church and state protects ALL of us, believer and unbeliever alike.

    Republicans have been talking a lot about “JudeoChristian values” in an attempt to co-opt Jews (my favorite is the claim that Easter is “JudeoChristian”), but that’s only politics. Indeed, after they turn the rest of us into second-class citizens, they’ll turn on each other, because then it will be which precise sect of Christianity gets to control everyone else.

    The first President Bush said he doubted that atheists could be considered patriots, or even citizens of America. If he’d said that about any other group, he’d have faced a torrent of protest – and we atheists would have been there protesting, too. But no one but us atheists cares if he says that about us, huh?

    We’re in this together – all of us. I don’t agree with you about religion, but you don’t agree with me, either. So what? Reasonable people can agree to disagree. Freedom of religion is best for ALL of us. The strict separation of church and state is best for ALL of us. Frankly, it’s been best for Christianity, too. I don’t know why more Christians can’t see that (many do, of course).

  • Donald Kosloff

    People should not choose to be afraid of things that are harmless. The First Amendment prevents the US Congress from meddling in individual state decisions respecting the establishment of religion. Many states had established religions for many years, with no harm caused. Each state eventually chose to disestablish their religion. That was a legal power of those states, just as it remains a legal power of each state to establish a religion, should the people of that state desire such an establishment.

  • Um, no, actually. Check out the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

  • Donald Kosloff

    Awareness of the content of the 14th Amendment does not change the definition the word “Congress”.

  • No, but it adds “equal protection” at the state level: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States…”

    And freedom of religion IS one of our rights. Indeed, freedom of religion is one of the bedrock principles of American society. Why would ANYONE want to change that?

    It’s especially nonsensical since we’re currently fighting religious nuts determined to establish a theocracy of their own. Why do we have the Christian Taliban popping up in right-wing states, imitating our enemies? That’s just incredible, isn’t it?

  • Donald Kosloff

    “Incredible” is a good summary of your writings. Your claim of the existence of a “Christian Taliban” solidly establishes your lack of credibility. By the way, which of the US states that had established religions were theocracies while they had established religions? How could your hysterical claim of “theocracy” come to fruition? The Fourteenth Amendment should protect individuals from the interference of the federal government in the decisions of people to decide whether to establish or disestablish a state religion in their state. That was the process that the people used to disestablish religions in each state that had an established religion. There was no intent to eliminate that right in the formulation, debate or ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • You don’t know how minorities were discriminated against in our history? Even the Baptists in Connecticut were worried about that, back when they wrote to Thomas Jefferson. They were worried about their STATE favoring other religions.

    And equal protection means equal protection. When a state government favors a particular religion, or even belief over non-belief, that’s not equality under the law. Note that the Fourteenth Amendment specifically prohibits STATES from infringing on INDIVIDUAL rights. Read it again. I quoted it. I don’t see how it could be any plainer than that.

    And that’s how the courts HAVE interpreted it. But hey, believe whatever you want. I just hope you never get the political power to force those beliefs on everyone else.

  • Donald Kosloff

    Knowing about the past and current persecution of religious people adds no credibility to your hysterical claims. As you should know, religious majorities have also been persecuted, in the name of atheism. Those godless persecutions continue and eclipse far eclipse any ancient persecution by Christians.

  • Donald Kosloff

    Glad to see you recognize that political power was used by the US Supreme Court to impose their opinion on the majority. On the other hand, I have no desire to use political power to impose my opinion on anyone.

  • Donald Kosloff

    If the Fourteenth Amendment perversion that you favor was so plain, they why did it take the usurpers on the Supreme Court almost a century to discover it?