Can North Carolina Declare an “Official” Religion?

A good overview of the various issues involved in the religion bullet NC residents unwittingly dodged. Still, too close.

Ideas

North Carolina legislators made national headlines last week with a bit of high-profile religious extremism. They introduced a resolution declaring that the state has the right to declare an official religion – presumably Christianity. The bill also contended that states are “sovereign” and that federal courts cannot prevent states “from making laws respecting the establishment of religion.”

The North Carolina bill—which appears to be dead for now—was one of two big church-state blow-ups last week. In Tennessee, legislators withdrew a school voucher bill that would have allowed parents to direct taxpayer money to private schools, including Christian academies. The reason they balked: it suddenly occurred to them that the bill would also allow parents to direct tax dollars to Islamic schools.

(MORE: Where Are the Most Religious States in America in 2013?)

State assaults on the separation of church and state are nothing new. What…

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