About a month ago, we learned that a Mississippi group known as the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign wanted to get an amendment on the 2016 ballot that would, among other things, establish Christianity as the state religion:
The State of Mississippi hereby acknowledges the fact of her identity as a principally Christian and quintessentially Southern state, in terms of the majority of her population, character, culture, history, and heritage, from 1817 to the present; accordingly, the Holy Bible is acknowledged as a foremost source of her founding principles, inspiration, and virtues; and, accordingly, prayer is acknowledged as a respected, meaningful, and valuable custom of her citizens. The acknowledgments hereby secured shall not be construed to transgress either the national or the state Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
They still needed 100,000 signatures to get the item on the ballot, which (even in Mississippi) wasn’t guaranteed, and even if it worked and the initiative passed, there would inevitably be legal challenges.
Despite that, you would think conservative Christian groups would be all for this. It’s the sort of thing they say all the time, and this seems like their chance to make it a reality. What say you, Mississippi-based American Family Association?
Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, told CP that he questioned the need for Initiative 46.
“I’m not clear who is behind this initiative or exactly what problems they’re trying to solve,” said Fischer of the AFA.
“I will be surprised if the organizers are able to get the number of signatures they need since most Mississippians aren’t going to see the need for it. Mississippians like the state just fine as it is.”
Fischer added that many “of the provisions in the initiative would be more appropriately handled at the state legislative level if they are to be handled at all.”
“Constitutional remedies should be reserved for issues of primary importance. The issue of school mascots, for instance, doesn’t rise to that level,” said Fischer.
That’s… not what I expected.
What about the Mississippi Baptist Convention?
William Perkins, spokesman for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board and editor of The Baptist Record, told The Christian Post that his organization “has not been consulted and has no opinion on Initiative 46.”
“Some of the items in the initiative may have merit, but we have not conducted an in-depth study and currently have no plans to do so,” said Perkins. “It appears many of the items promulgated in the initiative are not issues in which the convention board would become involved.”
I have three theories about why they’re not getting behind this.
First, it sounds like they know this is a losing battle and they hate losing in court (where precedents are set) way more than they love the idea of establishing Christianity as a state religion.
Second, they didn’t lead the charge for this initiative, which means they wouldn’t be able to take credit for it. And if they can’t take credit for it, they don’t really care about the outcome.
Finally, if this initiative were to pass, it would absolutely destroy the Christian Victim narrative they’ve latched onto for so long. Even though they’re firmly in the majority, they love pretending they’re under assault from the Left. When it comes to creating a Christian Nation, they’re far more invested in the thrill of the chase than actually reaching that goal, and donors only give money when there’s a fight to be won, not after you’ve achieved the knockout punch. So passing this ballot initiative would ultimately hurt their organizations in the long run.
They won’t admit to any of these ideas, of course. So they’re pushing lines about not really knowing the motives of the people running the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign and that the state Constitution is perfectly fine as is.
As with just about everything they say, I wouldn’t trust them.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)