North Carolina not keen on religious right
Chris Kromm over at Facing South points to a good article by political reporter Rob Christensen in the Raleigh N&O; about NC’s strange mix of politics that has made it difficult for the wingers to make legislative headway on the hot-button social issues roiling many states.
The South Dakota legislature recently banned abortions, and lawmakers in many other states are considering abortion-related bills. School boards in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa have made headlines debating whether to teach intelligent design along with evolution. Florida was divided over the Terri Schiavo case last year involving right-to-die questions.
But so far the contentious social issues have largely remained off North Carolina’s legislative agenda.
…Part of the explanation is in which party controls Raleigh. The agenda of the religious right has been pushed largely by Republicans. But North Carolina is one of the few Southern states where Democrats have controlled both the state legislature and the governor’s mansion throughout this decade.
Most North Carolinians go to church and believe in the Bible, polls show. But North Carolina has always been a more nuanced state on social issues than many imagine. Take abortion.
In 1968, North Carolina became the second state to legalize abortions. Until the mid-’90s, North Carolina was the only state in the South — and one of just 13 in the country — to fund abortions for poor women.
Christensen notes that Jesse Helms had great difficulty getting his constituents to understand his anti-choice position. Chris tosses out a theory:
This is an interesting update on V.O Key’s thesis about North Carolina in his legendary 1949 book “Southern Politics,” where he argued the state was a “progressive plutocracy” — tolerant on social issues like race relations, and conservative and subservient to business interests when it came to economics.
It’s why we’ve been able to dodge the marriage amendment bullet so far, with the bills dying in committee. It will take work to keep it that way, because the wingers will keep submitting that f*cker. Much of the Tar Heel state is still quite Red, and the AmTaliban keeps trying to make headway in the past by importing wingers to stir up trouble.