Bill to ignore First Amendment, establish state religion dies in Leg

The resolution introduced by two Republican state legislators, and backed by a dozen colleagues, effectively died in the House of Representatives today.

The “Rowan County Defense of Religion Act of 2013” proposed making Rowan County in central North Carolina free of First Amendment constraints, establishing a state religion and making North Carolina immune from federal courts’ rulings on constitutional issues. (Read more here.) The lawmakers wanted to show support to Rowan County Commissioners, who are being sued by the ACLU of North Carolina for invoking sectarian prayer during meetings.

After earning North Carolina some more time in the national spotlight, the bill was put to rest today by Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis, according to this report from the Associated Press and WTVD.

N.C. Policy Watch’s own Chris Fitzsimon wrote this morning about how the bill’s real significance was not the outlandish ideas it floated, but that it got support from a dozen legislators, including a member of House leadership.

Rowan County Defense of Religion by ncpolicywatch


  1. James Atkinson

    April 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Your embedded link to http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/politics&id=9052972 does not work.

    There is a missing colon between http and //. Insert the colon and the link works.

  2. Frances Jenkins

    April 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    This is such a false story that I am shocked you would even print it. Rowan County Commissioners wanted to have a prayer before their meetings. This activity was threatened than by none other than the fearless ACLU. The County Commissioners asked their reps to introduce a bill allowing them to have prayer before their meetings.Throughout NC, most governing bodies open with prayer. I cannot believe how this evolved into State tries to establish a religion, nation wide.This is a great example of Blueprint and their attempts to lead with false information and to destroy with false infromation. Right Sarah? Even the Huffington Post incorrectly printed the story as well as WRAL.

  3. Doug Gibson

    April 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm


    Yeah, maybe there was some exaggeration of the bill’s intent.

    But if the Rowan county commission wants to have prayer before meetings, then it needs to fight the ACLU in court, not ask its legislators to introduce a bill that makes a hash of any informed approach to the bill of rights and a century of settled law.

    Their apparent lack of understanding of concepts like incorporation raised valid questions about their understanding of anything to do with rights, the constitution, or the role of state governments in modern America.

    Did these people really think that it would be okay for Raleigh to start imposing “cruel and unusual” punishments again? Did they think it would be okay to start forcing people to house members of the highway patrol? Did they think it would be okay for Raleigh to start censoring the state’s newspapers? No. I’m sure they didn’t. In fact, it’s clear that they just didn’t think, period. And they got the ridicule they deserved for their display of ignorance. Maybe they’ll think twice before trying this kind of stunt again.

  4. Doug

    April 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

    If you actually think about it without the leftist hysteria, this is what was going to happen anyway. Sometimes you actually have to let the system work and not act like the sky is falling. As much print as has been devoted to this you would think the state had passed articles of succession or some equally earth shattering event. This was just some zealous commissioners being silly.

  5. Ricky Leung

    April 5, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Thanks, James! We fixed it.

  6. jlp75

    April 5, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Yes because we all know the right has never been known to be hysterical or proclaim that the sky is falling. Doug you have definitely gone from a nuisance to a daily source of amusement. Carry on my friend. All I can say is you better get used to it, people are waking up and moderates are quickly having buyers remorse from the election of your friends in the General Assembly. They will either moderate and lay of the extremism or NC will be the subject of national ridicule on a daily basis. People are finally paying attention.

  7. SkepticalPoet

    April 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm

  8. Doug

    April 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Not sure where you see the “waking up” to your view, the legislature and governor had increasing poll numbers the last few months. Guess they are taking your view on giving things time:

    April 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm
    “There is not enough information to determine if we are on the “right path”. Many decisions good or bad take years or even decades to take significant effect.”

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