RALEIGH — Two Rowan County lawmakers drew nationwide attention Wednesday for pushing a resolution that says North Carolina and its counties and towns have the right to establish an official religion.
Rep. Carl Ford, a Republican from China Grove, and Salisbury Republican Rep. Harry Warren filed the measure this week as Rowan commissioners gear up to fight a lawsuit that seeks to end their habit of opening meetings with specifically Christian prayers.
But the resolution delved deeper.
It acknowledges that the U.S. Constitution prevents Congress from creating an official religion.
But the First Amendment prohibition, the resolution argues, doesn’t apply to states, counties or towns – despite federal court rulings to the contrary. It asks the legislature to adopt a resolution supporting their right to set up their own religious laws.
But even the evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham and other religious leaders disagreed, saying that it wouldn’t be a good idea to establish a state religion. Graham, however, supported the right of governments to have prayer before meetings.