Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump addressed a gathering of conservative evangelical pastors yesterday in Florida and once again vowed to allow houses of worship to jump into partisan politics if he is elected.
Editor’s Note: Yesterday a federal appeals court that deals with military issues handed down a ruling rejecting a case of claimed “religious persecution” brought by Monifa Sterling, a former U.S. Marine. Sterling’s case had been heralded by Religious Right groups as an instance of religious discrimination, but there was more to it. We are pleased to present two views on the case today.
Bradley Girard, Stephen Gey Fellow, AU Legal Department:
Today is my last day with Americans United. Tomorrow, I move on to become the social media editor of the New Republic.
I’ve spent three years tracking the Religious Right full-time. There weren’t many surprises. I grew up in the movement; it educated me and trained me to join the ranks of America’s culture warriors. But there’s a difference between knowing the movement and understanding how to counter it.
Part of my job involves monitoring the activities of Religious Right groups, which means every day my email box receives messages from groups like the Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom and American Family Association (AFA).
The AFA has lately been going around the bend about something called the “gender unicorn.” This unicorn, which has apparently surfaced (metaphorically speaking) in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, has Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, in quite a tizzy.
With politics and religion intermingling quite a bit this campaign season, the Pew Research Center for Religion & Public Life decided to investigate how often pastors discuss politics and social issues from their pulpits. The results were pretty encouraging for those who believe churches should respect the law and stay away from activities designed to endorse or oppose candidates – but they also show there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Editor’s Note: Today we are pleased to present a blog post written by Allison Rothschild and Delaney Gold-Diamond, both of whom served as interns with Americans United this summer. They offer some thoughts on their experiences.
Allison Rothschild, AU Legal Intern: I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I’ve had this summer to learn about Americans United’s mission and contribute to its goals.
Roy Moore can’t catch a break – nor should he.
U.S. District Court Judge W. Harold Albritton handed the embattled chief justice another blow yesterday, ruling that Moore can’t be reinstated to the Alabama Supreme Court while the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) tries him on six ethics charges. Moore, with the assistance of Liberty Counsel, had sued the JIC, arguing that the process violated his rights.
In a predictable twist, a prominent Religious Right attorney who recently said after public school Satanic clubs have a “right to meet” is now threatening to sue if those clubs are actually allowed to form.
As we reported earlier this week, the Satanic Temple is seeking to create “After School Satan Clubs” in public schools in several states in response to the activities of local Good News Clubs.
Most of the country now knows Khzir and Ghazala Khan as the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a brave soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2004. But Khzir Khan’s moving speech at the Democratic National Convention and his wife’s subsequent comments haven’t deterred Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from attacking their motivations.
On Monday, Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Real Alternatives v. Burwell – yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers who provide health insurance to employees must include contraception coverage.