North Carolina Republicans abandoned their attempt to establish Christianity as the official religion of the state on Thursday. According to Raleigh-Durham’s ABC Channel 11, Speaker of the House Thom Tillis’ office said that the bill was withdrawn and proceed no further in the legislative process.
Tea Party-affiliated state Reps. Harry Warren (R) and Carl Ford (R) filed House Bill 494 earlier this week. The bill declared North Carolina to be “sovereign” and therefore it “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.”
Warren released a statement that said the bill was only intended to allow county officials to open their meetings with a prayer to Jesus, not to establish a state religion.
The Tea Party members wrote their bill in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union against the state of North Carolina. The federal suit accused state officials of violating the First Amendment separation of church and state.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.