A bill filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in apparent violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights.
In a federal lawsuit filed last month, the American Civil Liberties Union said the Rowan County Board of Commissioners opened 97 percent of its meetings since 2007 with Christian prayers. One of those prayers declared that “there is only one way to salvation, and that is Jesus Christ,” the ACLU said.
WRAL reports that since the Republican takeover in 2011, the state Senate chaplain has offered an explicitly Christian invocation virtually every day of session, even though there are senators who are not Christian.
House Bill 494, filed by Republican Rowan County Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford and sponsored by seven other Republicans, would refuse to acknowledge the force of any judicial ruling on prayer in North Carolina.
The bill states that “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.”
“This is, on my part, more of a demonstration of support more than an effort to have the courts revisit everything,” Warren told the Salisbury Post. "I didn't expect it to go anywhere."
Watch Warren talk to the North Carolina Tea Party about state sovereignty.