In 2018, the North Carolina legislature got away with violating the Constitution.
Senate Bill 99, or SL 2018-5, was a budget proposed in May and passed by the legislature in June after Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill.
The bill was vetoed for a number of reasons, but a big one is that it violates the separation of church and state by allocating $250,000 to an explicitly Christian organization.
The organization, Cross Trail Outfitters, was given this money “for the purposes of promoting wellness and physical activity for youth ages seven to 20 years of age.”
This seems all well and good, but according to Cross Trail’s website, its purpose is “guiding the next generation to Christ through the outdoors.” The website also says the organization is about providing an environment “in which participants can grow in knowledge and reverence of God.”
There’s a separation of church and state for a reason. The government showing favor to any religious group potentially opens the door to discrimination or unfair treatment of other religions.
Cross Trail Outfitters, as an organization, seems to be doing something good for kids. Whether you are Christian or not, the organization’s heart is in the right place. However, the organization should not be receiving taxpayer dollars.
What the North Carolina State Legislature did is illegal. The Constitution is the highest law of the U.S. This willful subversion sets a dangerous precedent going forward that so long as it’s for the right reason, it’s fine.
But the “right reason” is subjective, and everyone has their own version of what is right. That’s why holding to the law is so important, and that’s why the North Carolina State Legislature is utterly in the wrong.
Any good that comes out of the use of this money will be tainted. The ends don’t justify the means, and the way something is executed is just as important as the intention and the outcome.