Last year, Tennessee Republican State Rep. Micah Van Huss proposed a piece of legislation, HJR 37, that would amend the state’s constitution to say “We recognize that our liberties do not come from governments, but from Almighty God.”
It never made any sense. There are many countries without a Christian majority that have arguably more freedom and liberty than we do. Our liberties don’t come from the Bible any more than our laws come from the Ten Commandments. (The Declaration of Independence, which references the “Creator” giving us our rights, is not the Constitution.)
Furthermore, if our liberties came from God, then why did abolitionists have to fight against slavery? Why did Suffragettes have to fight for voting rights? Did God not know that civil rights applied to everybody or did He just not give a damn? And considering that God’s so-called liberties can be amended or repealed, there’s far more power in being a politician.
Last May, that legislation passed in the House on a 69-17 vote.
The state’s Senate Judiciary Committee this week voted 6-1 (with 2 abstentions) in favor of bringing it to the entire Senate floor.
This bill is gaining momentum and that’s frightening.
The only silver lining is that there’s still a long way to go. For the Tennessee constitution to be amended, the rules say a change has to get a simple majority vote in both houses during one two-year General Assembly. (That’s what’s happening right now.)
After that, the change has to be approved by a two-thirds majority in the next General Assembly. That’s a tougher hurdle, but that already happened in the House and there’s reason to think it’d happen again next time around. As for the State Senate, Republicans currently have a 26-7 advantage. They could lose four votes and still meet that threshold.
After that, voters have to approve the change in a gubernatorial election year. This is Tennessee. That’s not out of the question.
And all of that work is to insert a lie into the state’s constitution so that conservative Christians can feel better about themselves.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Rod for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)