My State Wants to Establish an Official Religion
The United States Constitution is a subjective document written by a bunch of men with wigs and wooden teeth and fancy pants in the 18th century who couldn’t possibly have foreseen the shape our modern world would take. So, when they wrote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” right there in the First Amendment, they didn’t mean to make it totally impossible to establish a state religion.
At least, that’s the logic of Edgar Starnes, the Majority Leader in the North Carolina General Assembly, who isbacking a resolution that would allow North Carolina to declare an official state religion. A religion like, for example, Christianity. The bill argues that although the First Amendment is a thing that exists, the Constitution “does not grant the federal government and does not grant the federal courts the power to determine what is or is not constitutional.” Which means that North Carolina citizens like Petey Pablo and Michael Jordan and their representatives can interpret the constitution however they see fit. If they want to make Christianity the law of the land, or institute the death penalty for adulterers, they totally can, according to them.
Like Michael Jordan, I am from North Carolina, and from experience, I know that Christianity is already pretty much an unofficial state religion. The place is crawling with Bibles. As of 2001, 79 percent of North Carolinians were Christians, and new churches are popping up all over the place. My mother even helped found one of them two years ago. The call for giving North Carolina an official religion is similar to the argument made by a bunch of other people with too much time on their hands who want the United States torecognize English as its official language. Eighty percent of US citizens are native English speakers, so why bother dealing with a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense to make it official?
Like Vietnam All Over Again
Over the last 50 years war reenactment has gone from something guys at the Elks Club did on the weekend to get away from their wives to a full-blown obsession among history buffs with enough free time to make the experience as true to life as possible. Along with the increased intensity has come more demand for variety. The Vietnam War has typically been forbidden territory, but reenactment groups around the country have begun collecting their rice hats and period-appropriate M16s for pretend skirmishes with fake Viet Cong.
Thomas Morton embeds with the Virginia-Carolina Military History Association as they embark on their first tour through Vietnam… in North Carolina. WATCH IT HERE
Now that my grandma is gone, my grandpa lives alone in their little tin-roofed house, where they lived together for fifty years. It gets lonesome. He says he misses her.
He gets up at four in the morning and goes to bed around eight. He subsists mostly off of boiled turnips and collard greens. He refuses to accept help from elderly assistance organizations like Meals on Wheels, but when I come to visit him bearing a big bucket of KFC chicken, he devours it ravenously, looking like those Andean mountain climbers who lost themselves to cannibalism.
His days are spent in the service of that most underrated and important of life skills—the passing of time. He flips on the TV and watches the NASCAR races. He goes out on the front porch to check on the weather. He takes potshots at the groundhogs that are eating up his garden. He’s 91 years old and still keeps a six-pack of Coors Lite in the refrigerator. Mostly though, he just stares out the window. The arrival of the mailman is the most eventful ten seconds of his day.
This is a photo of my fellow North Carolinians praying for the passage of Amendment 1. God we are assholes.
“My question to my fellow North Carolinians would be a simple one: Have you ever met a gay person? They are nicer than five of the nicest straight people you know put together. We use a word that means “happy” to describe them. Why would you want to make their lives harder just because they like to scissor or stick their dinguses in butts? It’s baffling.”