After state legislators in North Carolina introduced a bill that would empower the state to declare an official religion, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement.
“There’s no question that any attempt to establish an official state religion is blatantly unconstitutional. That’s true whether it’s North Carolina or the federal government. It’s a testament to common sense that this legislation has little chance of becoming law.
“That said, this bill also makes clear how radical tea party Republican lawmakers are when it comes to pushing their ideology on the rest of us. Our nation was founded on the premise that church and state both benefit from a clear ‘wall of separation.’ That was true when Thomas Jefferson coined the phrase, and it’s true today.
“Tea party activists in state legislatures and in Congress have shown no compunction about tossing aside centuries of wisdom to push fringe ideas that the rest of America rejected long ago. There’s absolutely nothing ‘conservative’ about the radical ideas they’re peddling. It’s reckless, it’s dangerous, and it’s profoundly out of step with our core American values.”
Last year, PFAW affiliate People For the American Way Foundation published the latest edition of 12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics, which examines how religious rhetoric can contribute constructively to our democratic system.