Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have proposed a bill that would give the state legislature the authority to establish a state religion and allow prayer in public institutions such as schools.

House Joint Resolution 494 challenges the authority of the United States Constitution and the First Amendment, which guarantees the separation of church and state. The bill reads [PDF], “SECTION 1. 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. SECTION 2. 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 was proposed by Representative Carl Ford (R-China Grove) and Harry Warren (R-Salisbury) in response to a lawsuit to stop Rowan County commissioners from beginning meetings with a Christian prayer.

Media Resources: Associated Press 4/4/2013; Huffington Post 4/3/2013; House Joint Resolution 494 4/1/2013

American flag and old church steeple reflect separation of church and state from Shutterstock

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