Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Lawmakers Want Another Reference to 'Almighty God' in Constitution

Posted By on Tue, Apr 24, 2018 at 2:21 PM

click to enlarge Bowling
  • Bowling
Tennessee rights come from “Almighty God,” not from the government.

State lawmakers want you to put that in the state Constitution and pay more than $9,000 to do it.

A resolution is working its way through the legislative process to add a phrase to Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution. If approved that new section would read like this (the new section is in bold):

“That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of non-resistance 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.

Sen. Janice Bowling
(R-Tullahoma) is the bill’s Senate sponsor. She said in a recent committee hearing that the language is “already implicit” throughout the Constitution and that “many things” in the document already get the message across.

Still, the new language is necessary, says Bowling and the nearly 30 House sponsors of the bill.

In pitching the bill earlier this month to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Bowling says mentions of god-given rights appear in speeches and letters from Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, and more.

“President [Donald] Tump said, 'rights are not a gift from the government but from God',” Bowling says. “(Trump) said, ‘some say the government gives you nothing but troubles.’”

Lee Harris (D-Memphis) says he did “not know if he had a huge problem” with the bill. But he says he wanted to study it to ensure that it didn’t create “excessive entanglement with the work of the government and faith and religion.”

Bowling counters that the Tennessee state government’s core mission is for transportation, education, and public safety.

“But in order to say we are a government of law and under the law is to recognize that law was inside man first,” she says.

She then points to Section 3 of the Constitution that proclaims ”that all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience.”

For the non-believers out there, Bowling points to Article 9, Section 2 which reads, “No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.”

Should the Senate pass the bill, it would appear as a referendum question across Tennessee polls in the gubernatorial election in 2022. Putting the question on the ballot would cost $9,100 for the Secretary of State to publish the amendment.

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