Tennessee Republican State Rep. Micah Van Huss has once again proposed a piece of legislation, HJR 17, that would amend the state’s constitution to include a line about how our liberties come from his personal God.
If adopted, Article 1, Section 2 of the state’s Constitution would get the following bold-faced addition:
That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind; and that liberties do not come from government, but from Almighty God.
If those two clauses sound like they have nothing to do with each other… that’s because they don’t. This is quite literally an effort by Van Huss to shove God anywhere in the Constitution that he can. His 2015 effort at doing the same thing didn’t work. A 2017 effort passed through both the House and Senate, but because there was a slight technical change on the Senate side, and not enough time to vote for the exact match in the House, the bill died.
Now he’s starting over with a bill that will likely raise no eyebrows among Republicans. A couple of Democrats, however, have voiced their concerns:
Rep. Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) objected to the resolution as “unnecessary,” stating further that “my God does not fit into these little green books” and noting, as he had last week when the resolution received a go-ahead in the Civil Justice subcommittee, that the definition and actions of God differed from person to person and from faith to faith. Rep. Bill Beck (D-Nashville) objected as well, on the grounds that the Founding Fathers had ordained that church and state should be kept separate in the workings of the American nation.
It’s adorable to hear those Democrats speaking sensibly in the hopes that their colleagues won’t do the thing they’re totally going to do… There’s a long process when it comes to changing the state’s Constitution, but when you have Republicans running the House, Senate, and Governor’s office, those hurdles disappear quickly.
First, any proposed change has to get a simple majority vote in both houses during one two-year General Assembly. That’s what’s happening now.
After that, the change will have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in the next General Assembly. (Given the demographics of Tennessee, and the GOP’s electoral dominance, that shouldn’t be a problem.)
Finally, voters will have to approve the change in a gubernatorial election year, which would next occur in 2022. Since this is Tennessee, you can assume that’s also a given.
In other words, this bill looks like it’ll appear on the ballot before long. Whether there will be a lawsuit if it passes is a separate issue.
And all of this work is to insert a lie into the state’s Constitution so that conservative Christians can feel better about themselves.
(Thanks to Brian for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)