Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 10:53 pm

I was right, bitches; or, A Dominionist theocracy is coming to a legislature near you, so GET DRESSED.


Back when Michelle Goldberg’s book “Kingdom Coming,” about the rise of Christian Nationalism in America, was published, I reviewed it for the News & Record and the blog I then wrote for the paper, The Lex Files. As you can see from the comments, as well as from this site, I took a lot of grief for stating, on the basis of my own reporting on the subject and my familiarity with some of Goldberg’s original sources, that there were significant numbers of people in America who wished to turn this country from a secular, constitutional democratic republic to a Dominionist theocracy; that is, a country where the law is based strictly on the Christian Bible.

Impossible, they said.

(You’ll also note that they accused me of saying all evangelical Christians want this. Rather, I said a certain subset of evangelical Christians adhered to that ideology. I didn’t believe all of them did then, I don’t believe that all of them do now, and I said so at the time specifically, not least because Goldberg herself was very careful to draw that distinction.)

Well, as it happens, down in Salisbury, the Rowan County commissioners want to be able to pray to Jesus in their official capacities, and so a bill, House Joint Resolution 494, has been introduced in the N.C. legislature that would allow that and much more besides.

This bill claims that the First Amendment’s ban on government making law “respecting an establishment of religion” applies only to the federal government, not the states, because in the minds of the (blessedly few) 11 sponsors signing on so far, the Fourteenth Amendment, whose equal protection  clause extends the protection of federal law to every citizen of the country, never happened.

It’s tempting to call these people batshit crazy and let it go at that. Tempting though that approach is, however, it lets them off too lightly. This is an attempt to turn one state among 50 in a constitutionally established secular democratic republic into a Dominionist theocracy in violation of the very Constitution the legislators have sworn an oath to uphold. They should be impeached and removed from office. Unfortunately, we don’t impeach legislators in North Carolina because we can’t. The best we could hope for would be for the House to vote to expel the offending members. But it won’t, because whether they’re ready to admit it or not, a majority of the N.C. House, or very close to a majority, thinks this is a great idea.

It would never stand up in court, I’d like to think. But “never” is a long time, and the Dominionists are playing the long game. They must be called out and they must be stopped, if for no other reason that Jesus had very specific notions about where one ought to do one’s praying and it would be a shame if our fellow North Carolinians went to hell for disregarding that directive.

(edited to remove duplicate grad)

12 Comments »

  1. Not allowing them to pray in official capacity explicitly infringes on their right to practice their religion.

    An individual being an individual at work or not does not establish a national religion.

    Comment by polifrog — Tuesday, April 2, 2013 11:47 pm @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  2. No, it doesn’t, frog. As government officials, they are free to exercise their religious beliefs on their own time but not in their official capacities. Promoting a particular creed in their official capacities constitutes an establishment of religion, as federal courts have held for a long, long time.

    If it makes you feel any better, career federal employees of all stripes also are forbidden from exercising their political beliefs — that is, specifically, campaigning or electioneering — in their official capacities. But they, too, can do it on their own time, using private resources.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, April 3, 2013 7:32 am @ 7:32 am | Reply

  3. I think Jesus settled this debate when he said “Be not like the hypocrites who parade through the streets with trumpeters before them when they give alms, but go into your closet when you pray to your Father, who is in secret. And for my sake, would you all please stop going around acting like self-righteous fucking assholes all damned time? Because it annoys everyone, including me.”

    Comment by Dan — Wednesday, April 3, 2013 8:54 am @ 8:54 am | Reply

  4. Dan, that’s the precise passage (Matthew 6:6) to which the last link in the post goes, although I think my translation differs slightly from yours. ;-)

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, April 3, 2013 8:57 am @ 8:57 am | Reply

  5. My comment rests not on the words of others or any misinterpretations the federal courts have held for a long, long time, but rather the Constitution.

    I can read it, so can you.

    I see no qualifications for when one may exercise their religious beliefs within the Constitution, neither do I see where the acts of individuals exercising their religious rights, be it Muslim, Christian or otherwise are defined as state action when those individuals are employed by the state.

    I do see that individual religious freedom is protected and I see that our government may not establish a state religion.

    — Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

    And, frankly, it is not clear to me where federal courts get the power to rule on matters of the establishment of religion being that there are no federal laws concerning establishment, or there should be none being that congress has no power to make law regarding establishment of religion and that all powers not defined as federal reside with the several states.

    Comment by polifrog — Wednesday, April 3, 2013 9:36 am @ 9:36 am | Reply

  6. Don’t be obtuse, son. They’re talking about espousing a particular flavor of Christianity as a government unit, not as individual citizens. You know it. I know it. It’s not just “individual religious freedom,” it’s de facto, bordering on de jure, establishment of conservative, dominionist Christianity as the official religion of Rowan County. It’s unconstitutional as hell and it’s a violation of the oaths of office of the legislators who are promoting the bill.

    To paraphrase Charlie Pierce, when I see a man walk down the street with a duck on his head, I’m going to say I see a man walking down the street with a duck on his head. I’m not going to say I see a duck flying down the street with a man’s head on the duck’s ass. And if you’re going to continue to try to insist that what we’re looking at here is a bird with an anthropoidal cranial suppository, you’re going to be disinvited from the conversation real quick.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, April 3, 2013 11:42 am @ 11:42 am | Reply

  7. Your average bible-bashing idiot has little or no interest in what Jesus said or thought; though they weild his name like a baseball bat (VERY MUCH like a baseball bat), they take their instructions from selected Old Testament texts. Arguably, they could pass a law making them a Lost Tribe of Israel, for all the interest they have in Jesus’ teachings.

    Comment by heenan73 — Wednesday, April 3, 2013 1:22 pm @ 1:22 pm | Reply

  8. Didn’t North Carolina quit the States’ rights / 14th Amendment stuff in 1868? Or were their tar-heels crossed?

    Comment by jasbro — Wednesday, April 3, 2013 3:03 pm @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  9. Y’all haven’t even heard the latest. They’ve introduced a bill to forbid college students from voting where they attend school, and they ejected three silent, motionless protesters from an education committee meeting today. I’m just waiting for the inevitable abortion-ban bill; it’s only Wednesday, after all.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, April 3, 2013 3:09 pm @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  10. Oh, and I forgot the one that makes it a crime for a federal BATF agent to enforce a federal firearms law. If those people are worried about jackbooted thugs now, you wait how many boots hit the ground if they throw a federal agent in jail for doing his job.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, April 3, 2013 3:12 pm @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  11. [...] Update:  Another (local?) blog’s take [...]

    Pingback by c’mon! people know that i live here, dammit! | totstroc — Thursday, April 4, 2013 3:25 pm @ 3:25 pm | Reply


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