Letter: The North Dakota Legislature is demolishing our rights
Legislators in North Dakota "seem bent on creating a theocracy while destroying our democracy," Fargo resident Dan Rice writes.
The demolition derby, also known as the
North Dakota Legislative
Assembly, has arrived in Bismarck. What is being demolished are your individual freedoms and rights. Examples of such demolition are proposed laws that will:
- Prohibit more effective and democratic ways to cast your votes (such as ranked choice and approval voting).
- Ban books in libraries and stores.
- Prevent institutions that receive state funding from using people’s preferred pronouns.
- Prevent doctors and other medical professionals from treating some serious medical conditions in pregnant women.
- Dictate change to the North Dakota social work code of ethics that contradicts ethical standards of the profession.
- Require all North Dakotans to provide citizenship documentation when they vote.
- Restrict health care, participation in activities and self-expression for transgender citizens.
- Create a special legal status which exempts someone from obeying a law if they claim a “religious belief” opposing the law. That status would be denied to non-religious citizens.
The Republican Party controls every branch of state government and claims to value individual freedom, religious liberty, local control and keeping the government out of our private lives. It violates all these values in these and other bills.
It appears many proposed laws are motivated by legislators' religious beliefs. The purposes of such laws are often consistent with fundamentalist Protestant and conservative Catholic moral teachings.
What these legislators fail to recognize is that by codifying their religious views into state law, all other religious citizens such as mainline Protestants, progressive Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and citizens with no religious affiliation will be prevented by law from practicing some of their beliefs. That is not religious liberty.
These legislators seem bent on creating a theocracy while destroying our democracy.
Be sure to visit ndlegis.gov to follow bills and view hearings to witness your fundamental rights being demolished.
Dan Rice is a resident of Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.