The always insightful Steve Wiggins writes on the recent (and reactionary) bill in North Carolina to make Christianity the state religion.
A choice quote:
Which Christianity would they choose? Who would be welcome in New North Carolina? Mormons? Mennonites? Methodists? Catholics? Well, at least Catholics vote the right way on key issues. Or some of them do. What we are talking about is actual state support of religious ideology. In a country where some of the finest state universities do not even have departments of religious studies, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has one of the finest in the country. And not all the faculty fill North Carolina’s preferred demographic.
A question that immediately comes to mind is whether North Carolina’s state universities’ religion departments would be required to teach de facto state Christianity. A declared state religion demonstrates the invested interest a state has in establishing, inculcating, and preserving a particular belief system. But what would that look like? And what kind of academic freedom is possible with an established religion?
Would there be an essential degree requirement in the state’s Christianity? Could professors teach in state institutions without signing a statement of belief in accordance to the state’s official Christianity? Could a teacher lose or be refused tenure? Could a student be failed or expelled for heresy? What would be the litmus test?
Do North Carolingian Republicans not remember how terrifying Roman Catholicism and Mormonism used to be? With state Christianity, would it not be only a matter of time until those Christianities become threatening again? And what about those liberal Episcopalians?! Scandal!
Good luck, North Carolina!
UPDATE: Sadly, the legislature has killed the bill. Very sad to learn this.