Your View: Guest Column - First Amendment protects people of all religions

Apr. 19, 2013 @ 01:07 AM

BY JOSEPH A. HAYWORTH JR.

Resolution H-494 was recently introduced in the N.C. General Assembly declaring that: “The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion” and that “The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.”
The First Amendment states that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ”
A new national HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that 34 percent of adults would favor establishing Christianity as the official state religion in their own state. If those Christian believers who seek to establish Christianity as the official religion of the State really understood the implications of an establishment of religion, they probably would not like what they get.
The Establishment clause of the First Amendment prohibits Congress, and the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, from establishing an official Church of the United States. Once the Establishment Clause is repealed the Government of the United States will have the power to determine the legal doctrine of faith of the Church, the method of worship, the official the scriptures and the authorized translation, and to appoint church pastors, deacons, elders and the government of the church. The IRS will levy and collect the mandatory 10-percent tithe to the Church of the United States in addition to income taxes. Unless they renounce their faith, persons who do not follow the official beliefs of the Church of the United States will be imprisoned, their property seized and their children taken into state custody to be raised in foster care.  Anyone who distributes unauthorized religious tracts or preaches a doctrine contrary to that of the Church of the United States will also be imprisoned.
The founders of our nation well understood the danger of tyranny inherent in an established State religion. Everything described above, and much worse actually occurred under the established State churches in England and Europe. Many early settlers came to the American colonies in search or religious freedom.
The First Amendment protects the fundamental liberty of everyone in the United States to worship however they wish, or to not believe according to the dictates of their own conscience. It protects the right to freely preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to practice other faiths, and it assures the rights of all to distribute the religious literature of their faith. The philosopher George Santayana once said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

Joseph A. Hayworth Jr. lives in High Point.

 

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