A proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:
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.
The Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is circulating a petition to get this amendment to the constitution on the ballot. Necessary signatures must be obtained by October 2015 and number 110,000.
This group would also like to see “Dixie” become the state song and also to require the state flag to be flown at all state government buildings.
While many opponents of this amendment, and there are many, claim it is somehow unconstitutional, the Bill of Rights does not specifically apply to individual states. In fact, there are state constitutions and historical documents that already include “religious” language.
Delaware’s Constitution in Article XXII scripts a declaration for all Congressional representatives: “I, ____________, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration. ”
Even the Liberal Massachusetts founding document stated in 1780:
“We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity to form a compact;…. And devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design,…. Establish this Constitution.
The Governor shall be chosen annually; and no person shall be eligible to this office, unless at the time of his election…. He shall declare himself to be of the Christian religion.”
Chapter VI, Article I, “All persons elected to State office or to the Legislature must make and subscribe the following declaration, viz. “I, ____________, do declare, that I believe the Christian religion, and have firm persuasion of its truth.”
Previous alliance documents also included a faith based declaration. In 1643, the establishment of the New England Confederation stated:
“The Articles of Confederation between the plantations under the government of Massachusetts, the plantations under the government of New Plymouth, the plantations under the government of Connecticut, and the government of New Haven with the plantations in combination therewith:
Whereas we all came to these parts of America with the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel thereof with purities and peace, and for preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the gospel.”
In 1786, Governor John Langdon made an official proclamation to the State of New Hampshire requiring a day of public fasting and prayer. While not specifically “Christian” it did acknowledge a Supreme Ruler, divine benediction, confession of sins, repentance, and spreading the knowledge of the “Saviour of man.”
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The early rendition of the Connecticut Constitution declares faith:
1639, Foreasmuch as it has pleased the Almighty God by the wise disposition of His divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the inhabitants ……do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one public State or Commonwealth, and do, for ourselves and our successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess….. Which, according to the truth of the said Gospel, is now practiced among us; as also, in our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such laws, rules, orders and decrees.
Whether or not the citizens of Mississippi will sign a petition to put their faith on the ballot, precedent would indicate that it is constitutional at the state level. The last 80 years and the near death of state’s rights, however, may indicate an uphill battle for those who perceive this amendment as important.
H/T: Conservative Tribune
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