Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Perils of Ignoring the 14th Amendment

The citizens of Ashville, North Carolina recently elected an atheist, Cecil Bothwell, to serve on their city council. North Carolina's state constitution prohibits anyone "who shall deny the being of Almighty God" from holding public office. The state's GOP and the Religious Right have filed suit to remove Bothwell from office.

Among those opposed to Bothwell's holding office is Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association who says that Article VI of the U.S. Constitution does not apply in North Carolina or any other state. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution says "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Fischer, North Carolina's GOP, and the Religious Right have long been reviving "states rights" arguments that legitimated the losing causes of the civil war era. This time instead of slavery, they are trying to legitimate the establishment of religion and the persecution of persons of minority faith and no faith.

If the 14th amendment did not apply all the rights contained in the Bill of Rights to the citizens of every state and if the North Carolina GOP, the Religious Right, and Fischer's contentions were true, what else would that mean?

It would mean that freedom of speech, press, assembly, petition and the free exercise of religion are no longer rights but mere benefits granted and withdrawn at the shifting whims of the electorate of every state. It would mean that no one can be sure that they will from unreasonable searches and seizures or free from cruel and unusual punishment. It would mean that we have no guarantee of legal counsel or of a speedy trial or of a public trial before a jury of our peers. In effect, it would make the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights a hollow and meaningless document.

It wouldn't surprise me if Fischer and the Religious Right would gladly trade these birthrights for a bowl or two of Chrstian Nationalist porridge.

It would surprise me if they would be happy to learn that they were no longer guaranteed right the keep and bear arms -- and that would also be in jeopardy.


Blogger RafaelLetso21555 said...

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10:57 AM  

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