In a rambling rant on the Senate floor, conservative Georgia lawmaker Zell Miller railed against pop culture, called for a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to heterosexuals and promoted a bill that would give government officials the ability to endorse religion wherever and whenever they see fit.
Miller, a Democrat set to retire after his term expires early next year, used 12 minutes on the Senate floor in mid-February to excoriate popular culture and declare that the nation suffers from "a deficit of decency."
During his diatribe, Miller also insisted that separation of church and state isn't in the Constitution and recommended that listeners read Original Intent, a book by "Christian nation" activist David Barton that attacks church-state separation.
Miller offered a spate of measures that he said would set the nation straight. Besides calling for a constitutional amendment to define marriage, Miller urged Congress to pass a bill called the "Constitution Restoration Act," (H.R. 3799) which would prevent federal courts from even hearing cases involving government acknowledgment of "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty or government." (Legal scholars say such "court stripping" measures are of dubious constitutionality.)
"So, if I am asked why with all the pressing problems this nation faces today why am I pushing these social issues and taking the Senate's valuable time? I will answer: Because it is of the highest importance," Miller said. "Yes, there's a deficit to be concerned about in this country, a deficit of decency."
The Associated Press reported that the day after Miller's diatribe, the Georgia senator joined U.S Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in unveiling the Constitution Restoration Act in Prattville, Ala.
Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told the AP that H.R. 3799 amounts to "an unconstitutional end run around the separation of powers. It tries to subvert the role of the courts in the defense of civil liberties."