Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem on Friday posted a meme to Twitter promoting Constitution Day less than 24 hours after she demanded religious tests for elected officials.
Noem said during an appearance on the right-wing propaganda outlet Real America’s Voice on Thursday that what “they are doing and the actions they’re taking are not biblical, and I know they many times talk about being religious. But I think it’s really time for all of us to look at the actions of our leaders and see if they line up with the word of God, see if they’re biblical and if they are following through on those actions that God’s called us to do to protect people, to serve people, and to really minister to them.”
That would be a violation of the freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which Noem pretends to champion. It also violates Article VI Section 3, which states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
But Noem’s goal is to force her religious beliefs onto everyone else.
“We’ve seen our society, our culture, degrade as we’ve removed God out of our lives and people become what they spend their time doing,” Noem pontificated on The Water Cooler with David Brody. “When I was growing up we spent every Sunday morning – every night, every Wednesday night in church, we were – our church family was a part of our life. We read the Bible every day as a family together and spent time with each other recognizing that we were created to serve others. I don’t know if families do that as much anymore and those biblical values are learned in the family. And they’re learned in church when the doors are opened so people can be there and be taught.”
Subscribing to faith is not a prerequisite to being a decent public servant, nor can it be required under the Constitution. Nevertheless, Noem added that “we in South Dakota have decided to take action to really stand for biblical principles. We had a bill that was passed during a legislative session two years ago that put the motto ‘In God We Trust’ in every single school building. It is displayed now in every K-12 school building in the state of South Dakota. And I have legislation now that I’ll be proposing this year that will allow us to pray in schools again.”
This, too, is not just patently unconstitutional, it is completely unnecessary, as students are free to pray wherever and whenever they want.
“I really believe that focusing on those foundational biblical principles that teach us that every life has value, every person has a purpose, will recenter our kids and help us really heal this division that we see taking over our country,” she said.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says the positions taken by political leaders must "line up with the word of God" and brags about pushing for prayer in public schools. pic.twitter.com/DRd2MJaKZw
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) September 17, 2021
Then, on Friday, Noem tweeted, “Happy Constitution Day! Now let’s go defend it.”
Happy Constitution Day! Now let's go defend it. pic.twitter.com/JPOeCgZHJw
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) September 17, 2021
It backfired spectacularly. Noem was immediately bombarded with jeers over her sanctimonious hypocrisy.
Kristi, If you ever bothered to read the Constitution you would note the mention of separation of church & state. pic.twitter.com/Jnf93c3U1E
— 🍹⛄️Deb💫 (@DeeNY___45) September 17, 2021
You talk about "defending the Constitution" while saying you'll introduce a school prayer law that violates it.
— Jeff Kalmar (@JeffK627) September 17, 2021
Woo hoo separation of church and state let’s goooooooooooooo pic.twitter.com/RVlG1xdxaa
— achooo (@urkagurka) September 17, 2021
'defending it' isn't trying to tear it down in the way that YOU think it should be
Reminder for the ignorant governor. A woman's right to make decisions about her body is a constitutionally protected right in this country. Trying to fight that isn't defending the constitution
— Dana P (@blackhillslvr) September 17, 2021
As you introduce prayer into school & the teachings of the Bible, do you respect those of different faiths & allow them to bring in their religious teachings too? Will you allow atheists to not accept your Bible readings nor submit to your prayers?
— Mary Louise (@MareLouThom) September 17, 2021
Prayer in school is unconstitutional.
Seems you need to go back to school.
— Zillalady (@Zillalady) September 17, 2021
— Drunk Dadz (@DrunkDad7) September 17, 2021
Shall we start with the 1st Amendment? pic.twitter.com/9FcaIlLC4x
— Tori Smith (@TattooToriSmith) September 17, 2021
You want to push for prayer, which is considered unconstitutional. If you're going to preach about defending the constitution, at least follow it.
— 🌿Branch🌿 (@Branch518) September 17, 2021
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.