North Carolina bill would allow state religion

Posted at 11:28 PM, Apr 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-03 23:28:57-04

There seems to be a church on every corner in North Carolina, but the separation between God's house and the state could be shrinking as lawmakers in the Tar Heel state are considering a bill to establish a state religion.

"It says freedom to practice your religion," said Shannon Stephenson of Elizabeth City. "It's in the Constitution. That's what this country is founded on."

The bill being considered in the North Carolina house points out that while the Constitution bars congress from establishing a religion, it doesn't prohibit the states from doing so.

The bill says the federal government has no say over how North Carolina makes laws respecting an establishment of religion.

Dee Stace is a Messianic Jew, she's not worried that a state religion would impose on her freedom.

"I don't think the state of North Carolina is in need of a change to the degree of having a state religion," Stace said.

Forest Hazlett of Moyock doesn't go to church much, jokingly saying only when he has to.

"I think everybody should have their own opinion and their own religion if they want," said Hazlett.

Even most of the devout Christians Newschannel 3 spoke with say they're not on board, fearing a state-endorsed religion would make faith insincere.

"Anything above and beyond that is just pretending," said Selwyn Pemberton of Elizabeth City.

The man behind the bill, state representative Harry Warren says the bill isn't intended to make a state religion. Instead he says it's to support to Rowan county, which is being sued for opening up its board of commissioners meeting with Christian prayers.