The Tennessee House has passed a resolution, HJR 17, that would amend the state’s constitution to include a line about how our liberties come from God. There’s a long way to go before that actually happens, but the suggestion just passed one big hurdle.
The bill was sponsored by Republican State Rep. Micah Van Huss, the same guy who recently said he saw nothing “evil” when told about a hypothetical scenario involving child rape.
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.
Van Huss is now trying to rush through the new, revised legislation while Republicans run the state. While the House passed the bill today, there are many more steps to go.
First, any proposed change has to get a simple majority vote in both houses during one two-year General Assembly. As of today, that’s one down, one to go.
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 @greyskyemorning for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)