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It’s starting to look that way.

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North Carolina state legislators have recently made statements and proposed legislation that support such a claim. By now, everyone has heard about the proposed bill to declare an official religion. It was proposed on 4/2/13 by two Republican legislators, supported by 11 more, and finally shot down by the House Speaker two days later.  House resolution 494 would have allowed the state to ignore the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as well as federal court rulings.  It was proposed as a countermeasure against a lawsuit filed by the ACLU to stop Rowan County, NC county commission meetings from opening with a Christian prayer.

As if that proposed legislation weren’t intolerant enough, one of the supporters of the bill, Republican state Rep. Michele Presnell of Burnsville has equated Islamic prayer with terrorism in an email to a constituent.  According to the News & Observer, a NC-based Pulitzer winning paper, when challenged whether or not it would be ok with her if meetings began with a prayer to Allah, Presnell responded. “No, I do not condone terrorism.”  She later added, “We just need to start taking a stand on our religious freedom or it will be whisked away from us.”

So according to Presnell, taking a stand for your religious freedom means declaring an official state religion, ignoring the Constitutionally-provided freedom from government-sponsored religion, and refusing to allow public prayer from any non-Christian faiths.  Yup, sounds like freedom to me!

But wait, there’s more!  Small government loving Republicans in North Carolina have proposed another piece of legislation that will force a two year waiting period on any couple seeking divorce.  Oh, the irony.  The bill, poorly nicknamed the “Healthy Marriage Act,” would not only extend the existing one year waiting period to two years, but it would require couples seeking divorce to attend “communication skills” and “conflict resolution” counseling sessions.  These counseling sessions would not be paid for by the state, so if couples cannot afford counseling; it appears they’ll be unable to end their marriages.  What’s more, in its current form, the bill has no provisions for victims of abuse, meaning that abused spouses would be required to sit in counseling with their abusers to talk about healthy communication.  Well that should fix everything.  Finally, the (un)Healthy Marriage Act would remove current waiting period verbiage that states isolated instances of sexual intercourse don’t count against the waiting period.  Removing this line could mean that an isolated hookup with your soon-to-be ex would start the 2-year waiting period over again if the courts could prove that it occurred.

Other legislation being considered includes: tax penalties for parents of children who register to vote at their college address (in an attempt to keep Democratic young voters from registering and/or voting), as well as criminalization of the enforcement of federal law on guns and ammo produced in North Carolina.

Tack on the state constitutional amendment passed last year to outlaw gay marriage, and you’re left with one big pool of intolerance.  If you’re not a happily married straight Christian Republican with no dependents in college that want to vote, then you’re not welcome in North Carolina.

What’s next for North Carolina?  Give them about 3 days and I’m sure another doozy will hit the press.

Originally posted to Secular Party of America on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by State & Local ACTION Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Every wingnut state is trying to out-Texas Texas. (5+ / 0-)

    All wingnuts strive to appear nuttier and stupider than each other, a sacred contest.

  •  Dangerous best describes NC's Legislature and Gov. (10+ / 0-)

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:31:32 AM PDT

  •  SMH. I have NO idea what the hell is going (6+ / 0-)

    on in NC. It's like something has grabbed hold of them and is attempting to outcrazy the craziest states in the country. Look out Arizona!

    republished to State and Local Action group and tweeted/facebooked.

    •  Something has. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mdmslle, Amber6541, Anne was here
      like something has grabbed hold of them
      It's called "Republicans".

      Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

      by kismet on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:09:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well of course. But they've had republicans (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for s long time. I guess I should've said something's made them especially crazy lately. Maybe as quietinNC says, they're drunk with power. Or as BrianA said: they know their days are numbered.

        I dunno. But these proposals seem especially crazy, too crazy even to have much appeal to even the non-research triangle set. I mean, two years for a divorce?! I mean, what? Republicans never get divorced? I can't imagine this being popular with ANY regular people in either party, even religious whackjobs - who also happen to get divorced in about the same numbers as everyone else. WHO are they pandering to?! I guess that's what I meant.

        •  First time they've had house, senate, + Gov, tho. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Amber6541, polecat, mdmslle, bear83

          First time in about 150 years.

          Combine that with the 2010 that fluffed up the Tea Party elements, and you get every extreme right-wing proposal possible, with the real potential for becoming law.

        •  This is a state where people (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          can still get fired for cohabiting, too.  Right around the time I moved here, there was a case with a state employee.  I don't think the law ever got changed.

          Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

          by kismet on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:00:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They have nearly complete power (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          statewide fairly suddenly and and were thwarted from their agenda for many years longer than in just about any other Red State.  In part by somewhat crooked means- those conservaDems didn't always play nice or fairly.  Some of it is a making up for that and pent up rage being vented.

          The other part is something pretty visible here in New England when Republicans took control in New Hampshire and Maine in 2010.  They've now been voted out of power again almost completely, but during those two years they were very extreme and highly ideological/impractical.  They spent a lot of time and energy on heretic hunting, angry denunciations of liberals, lots of uncivil behavior, and complaining about being treated less well than they wanted to be.  Oh, and the dissolute liberal youth/media/moneybags/poor/environmentalists/academics and worse-than-criminal moderate Republicans.  The short version: classical reactionary behavior.

          They got told more than once that the ship had long sailed on stuff they passed or wanted to pass.  Or that people would just go to a state next door.  Or that they were obviously and shamelessly doing the dirty work of impalatable and fringe interests to no public good.  And passing bills which, if they became law, the next Democratic legislature would reverse on Day One to public acclaim.  The Republican leaders' response to that was: we don't care- and F*** You.

          My conclusion- Conservatism isn't just dying.  It's going out angry, discredited, and dishonorable.  And as a suicide.

  •  First of all, no (12+ / 0-)

    The major population centers of NC, the Triangle and the Charlotte region, are not intolerant at all.  In fact, I grew up in Northern NJ, went to college in Philly and then spent six years in Durham, and Durham was by FAR the least racist and MOST racially harmonious place I have ever lived in.  It wasnt even close.  And believe me, as an Atheist, you'd find yourself in good company in the Triangle.

    The Republicans in power right now know their days are numbered.  They have never before controlled the entire state (legislature and governorship), and so they're trying their damndest to get as much onerous legislation passed before they are thrown out on their asses in a few years.

    I'm really disappointed to see so many on this site giving up on NC so quickly when it was just a few years ago a beacon of Liberal hope in the South.  

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:35:04 AM PDT

    •  Exactly. (7+ / 0-)

      North Carolina currently has one of the least tolerant state legislatures. But instead of folks on this site asking, "What could the national progressive movement do to help restore one of the most progressive states in the south?" The attitude seems to be, "Well, I knew all along they were in-bred troglodytes, but it's nice to have it out in the open."

    •  giving up? I don't see it that way at all. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brian A

      People here, I'd imagine, are politically sophisticated enough to understand what's going on. Including that the Research Triangle and University areas are a beacon in the state, much like Austin is in TX.

      Who's giving up? The title is provocative but really? Are people "giving up"? I'll admit I'm not glued to the site like I used to be but I don't see anyone giving up on NC. Just illuminating the crazy shit happening in the state houses and governor's mansions. And rightfully so. The vote against LGBT rights was a blow, but it was a long shot. Everyone was hopeful (BECAUSE of research triangle etc etc) and I remember everyone being saddened by the result. But not totally shocked. It's the south. It'll take a while. And like many state legis in BLUE states (WI MI MN PA) shit is off the rails.

    •  I live here (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mdmslle, Brian A, UnionMade, SneakySnu, DawnN

      and I am not seeing a lot of signs of effective organizing.

      Well except for the FOUR BLOCK LONG, entirely-in-Spanish pro-immigration march that I passed while I was driving down Central Ave. in Charlotte yesterday evening. A march made up entirely of people who probably don't register on the liberal blog community's (or the old-school Democratic party's) radar.

      Obama, escucha!

      Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

      by kismet on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:12:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They're Gerrymandered pretty well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, DawnN

      and will own the legislature for at LEAST this decade if not the next.

      The Governor's office is a different story, but we had Gov. Martin (R) between Gov. Hunt's (D) terms (considering that Martin ran against Rufus, it's not really a surprise).

      So we have to somehow hold on to 2016.  But we got SCREWED by the national party in 2010.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:10:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  An interesting article on the man responsible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    this just in, Amber6541

    for this craziness

  •  They think that praying to Allah is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, carver

    a frightful thing, while praying to Jesus is the cat's meow. The truth is that praying to any man in the sky is creepy.

    •  However (0+ / 0-)

      praying to any woman in the sky is really cool.


      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:33:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly what brand (0+ / 0-)

      of Christian do they plan to elevate to the official religion of NC?  I'm sure the multitude of sects will all join in a ecumenical moment and pick one ....Bwah-ha-ha-ha!!  :>}

      "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. Isaac Asimov (8.25 / -5.64}

      by carver on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 12:14:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome (not) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, Amber6541

    And they wonder why more and more people are cohabiting and having kids without actually getting married...

    Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

    by kismet on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:08:22 AM PDT

  •  NC dems made a pig's breakfast of politics here... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in too long....Goopers are doing the same....only faster.

  •  Am I to understand that there is CURRENTLY (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, bear83

    a one year wait on divorce? This diary seems to read that way.

    •  Yes, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mdmslle, bear83

      that is the law here in North Carolina. And you you are suppose to live separately for that one year.

      You can't stop progress!

      by gigihopes on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:03:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  wth? do they enforce that? really?! I'm (0+ / 0-)

        shocked. so if i'm in NC and want a divorce, it'll be april 2014 before it's official?


        •  that's correct. (0+ / 0-)

          And if your spouse refuses to sign the paperwork and you have to take him/her to court to do it, nothing is official until after that date.

          My neighbor has been through the process for well over 18 months since she kicked him out, and she still has 2 months left before they are 'officially' divorced. He's dragging it out by forcing her to take everything to court. Give an abusive spouse 24 months of this behavior and an acrimonious divorce could take 3-4 years.

          This bill brought to you by divorce lawyers, who see this as a wonderful 'jobs bill'

  •  I live in NC (6+ / 0-)

     It's getting scary. Instead of people flocking to NC, I think they will begin to abandon the State under this legislature. Which of course will makes things worse.
      Pope and his crew are wreaking havoc, everyday, as is the case whenever rebubs gain control. They are very good at enacting every ALEC based policy they can, in whatever State, County, or town they can control. They are in constant FDR 100 day mode.
    Then, when the Dems regain control, they don't push for the dissolution of those laws. Just like on the National level, Repubs get elected, they push. Dems get elected, they try to reason, inform, sway.

    "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

    by meagert on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:13:00 AM PDT

  •  Intolerant? NC? How can you say that? Why, (5+ / 0-)

    week by week the legislature works hard to make us more tolerant of fracking.

    Tolerant of charter schools that can exclude poor and special needs kids, while draining funding from the schools the poor and special needs kids must attend.

    Tolerant of companies that want to replace our one-color (green) highway roadsides with the diversity of motion-picture electronic billboards.

    Fact is, about the only thing this legislature won't tolerate is all that voting by people who hadn't oughtta trouble their heads.

  •  Next up for NC - Arizona's Immigration Law (0+ / 0-)

    No joking - this bill was filed yesterday:

    Echoing provisions of an Arizona law that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last year, Warren’s bill also would authorize police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest – and to detain them for 24 hours – “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person … is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.”

    The bill sponsors called their legislation the “RECLAIM NC Act,” short for the “Reasonable Enactment of Comprehensive Legislation Addressing Immigration Matters in North Carolina Act.”

    Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    by bear83 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:25:39 AM PDT

  •  Anti-abortion Fever is on in Raleigh, too (0+ / 0-)
    It would be illegal for doctors to perform abortions because of the sex of the fetus under a bill filed Wednesday in the state House.

    The legislation would allow doctors and other health care providers to be sued for damages and fined heavily if they perform abortions where gender is a significant factor in the woman’s decision.

    I'm not clear on how they are supposed to measure "significant factor"...

    Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    by bear83 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:31:33 AM PDT

  •  Let's not forget background checks for the poor (0+ / 0-)

    because being poor clearly means you're a criminal.

    The state House has passed a bill that would require local social service agencies to conduct background checks on those applying for food stamps and other federal benefits.
    My State Representative tried to amend the bill as follows:
    "All this amendment does is say that when a corporation applies for a state grant for locating in NC ... the CEO of this company and CFO of the company" would have to undergo background checks.
    The amendment was ruled out of order.

    Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    by bear83 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:38:13 AM PDT

  •  It's in part why I "immigrated" to WA 33 years ago (0+ / 0-)

    I grew up in the relatively blue pocket around Asheville and left my home state in 1979 in part because of the intolerance.  For instance, during my studies at UNC Chapel Hill, WRAL TV in Raleigh signed off at midnight not with the national anthem but with Dixie.  Not real subtle during the height of the civil rights movement.  It's like there are two states.  A small patch of blue around Asheville and then the rest, although I understand that that's changing some.   Now I feel very much at home in one of the most liberal zones in WA State.  I still have family in NC and there are things I miss about it.  It's a wonderful, beautiful, state if you could just check the politics at the border.  

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:48:27 AM PDT

  •  Esse quam videri (0+ / 0-)

    It may seem that North Carolina is intolerant, based on the more than 780 bills hitting our N.C. Senate in the past ten weeks and (as of two hours ago) the 891 bills submitted to the N.C. House of Representatives (they have about two more hours to submit bills in the House). But we have to keep in mind that a good number of these bills were drafted by lobbyists and put forward by our lawmakers without much thought about how they'll actually get these bills through discussion and cross-over.

    Many of these bills were handed to our lawmakers directly from lobbyists in North Carolina, who in turn pulled them from nationwide lobby organizations. That "Healthy Marriage" Act, for instance, was handed to Sen. Austin Allran directly by Jere Royall of the N.C. Family Policy Council, who directs questions about the bill to the Americans for Divorce Reform, Inc.
    Yes, that's right: Americans for Divorce Reform, Inc.

    The bill has very little chance of passing for a variety of reasons. Included among the reasons is Sen. Allran's Republican and Tea Party compatriots themselves are not really thrilled about the prospect of putting their own divorce petitions on the public record. Yup -- everything to do with their divorce, including mediation, marriage counseling, records on domestic assault, etc., the whole enchilada ... all would become part of the public record or would leave traces in public records.

    It can take HOURS of diligent research to figure out where these bills are coming from. Each lawmaker can submit up to ten bills during the session, and it seems that all of them are trying to hit that quota of The Number of Bills I Need to Be Considered Relevant. But a good number of them are coming from national organizations that are trying to push the same policies through as many states as they can.

    As for why so many of them have been submitted in North Carolina ... well ...  As Barney Fife would say, "We gotta nip it! Nip it in the bud!"

  •  This is sad, as she is from my town of Burnsville (0+ / 0-)

    and trust me, her campaign was a joke.  Her campaign mantra was the "She is going to make sense of it all".

    Bird brain.

    My apologies go out the entire country, especially to the citizens of North Carolina as this cuckoo comes from my town.  If it wasn't for the fact that her husband held the office before her, she would have never made it to Raleigh: She is one big phoney flake.

    We know all about her....She is another Palin-esque quitter...But that's another story, for another time...

    Funny how Yancey Country where Burnsville is located is under investigation for voter fraud...It's Democratic all the way, yet this Tea Bagger somehow got into office.....

    "Don't Let Your Mouth Write A Check, That Your Butt Can't Cash."

    by LamontCranston on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 12:50:58 PM PDT

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