Using the attempt by N.C. legislators to propose a resolution declaring the right to establish an official religion, Hatcher argues separation of church and state benefits all citizens
“Christians who want to worship freely should do so without feeling threatened by those who believe in something else, or who believe in nothing at all,” according to Anthony Hatcher, an associate professor of communications.
In a column posted on both the Huffington Post Religion Blog and the Odyssey Network’s ON Scripture website, Hatcher discusses the attempt by some North Carolina legislators in April of this year to allow establishment of a state religion.
“Eleven legislators, all white male Christians, backed a bill to codify Christianity in state law, saying the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not trump the state’s rights,” Hatcher notes. “The effort died a quick and merciful death.
“These misguided politicians forgot a simple truth – even if a state could mandate a public religion, that wouldn’t change what is in people’s hearts. As Roger Williams wrote in June 1670, ‘Forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils.’ Williams, who was expelled by the Puritans and founded a religious colony in Rhode Island, knew firsthand the importance of religious freedom.”
From the ON Scripture website: “ON Scripture, produced by Odyssey Networks, is a leading online multi-media resource, bringing the ancient Christian and Jewish scriptures to life. Every week a scholar from each of those traditions reflects on the meaning of the upcoming Sabbath’s lectionary passage or Torah portion in light of contemporary issues and events. Their essays are enhanced by an original, news-related video produced by the Odyssey team.” Odyssey has an affiliation with Huffington Post that permits its blogs to be posted on the site.
Hatcher used Paul’s letter to the Galatians as a lectionary reference point for his essay.
Hatcher’s column can be read on either the ON Scripture website or on the Huffington Post Religion Blog: