The state I live in was trying pass this as law. I understand why a lot of people thought it was a very good thing, here’s why I thought it was a very bad thing.
First of all, as a Catholic, a conservative, orthodox Catholic, I could feel the hot breath of persecution breathing down my neck. My own NC born and raised Protestant (Presbyterian USA) husband has asked me before what are the differences between Catholics and Christians. Despite the fact that yankees who are Catholic are retiring here in droves, Catholicism is still generally frowned upon by most mainline Protestants here, not to mention the outer-lying Evangelicals. I’ve encountered rampant anti-Catholicism in my 30 years of living here. It’s not at all uncommon for someone to tell me I am going to hell for being Catholic. So, what are the chances that Catholicism being included under the umbrella of Christianity? Not that great, I can tell you from personal experience. In fact, there is a chance that if Christianity was listed as the “State religion” of NC, Catholicism could be labeled a cult. If you think we haven’t moved past that here, you are mistaken.
Secondly, let’s talk about that big umbrella of Christianity. If it is declared the state religion, that means the government will now get to define legally what being a Christian is. Well, if we model it after the Baptists, that means outlawing of all alcohol. Which means no wine to become the blood of Christ. Not to mention, would we still be able to celebrate the Eucharist each week? Some stripes of Christians celebrate once a month or every other week. And does just anyone who labels their organization “Christian” get a pass? Well, what if I found the First Christian Church of NASCAR and part of our church doctrine includes driving no less than 120 miles everywhere you go. Would I be allowed to exercise this doctrine or not? The government of the state of NC has not done this state much good at things they supposedly have been doing a long time. Do I really want their definition of Christianity? I’ll give you a hint: the answer is no.
Finally, I’m reminded of the words of Reverend Shaw Moore in Footloose when he breaks up a book-burning:
Satan is not in these books. He’s in here! (Points to his heart.) He’s in your hearts.
While yes, it would be nice if those Christian members of this town council could pray in peace without the ACLU breathing down their necks, I have to wonder, is this bill about getting to pray, or getting to pray in public. Or making some prayers acceptable and others not. Because I think a Hail Mary is just as appropriate as whatever spontaneous prayer they may begin with. And does this stop them from gathering at someone’s house to pray together before the meeting (those who wish to), no it does not. Being a Christian in government is NOT about getting to publicly pray before government meetings. It means showing your Christianity through your votes and behavior.
So, Thom Tillis, I applaud you for standing up to something as unsound and full of problems as this bill was. I would urge those lawmakers to seek better ways to make their Christianity known by taking good care of their community and not bogging it down in these kinds of silly distractions.