Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Coach Joe Kennedy’s case, in which he argues that Bremerton School District's intervention into his prayer practice with his football team violated his free-speech rights. Some on the Religious Right have called this denial a “devastating blow to religious liberty,” but the court was right to uphold the decisions of the school district and the federal courts.
Americans United scored a major win yesterday on behalf of students and families in Bossier Parish, La., after reaching a settlement agreement with the school board that protects all students regardless of their religious beliefs. The settlement, which includes policy changes approved by the school board last week, will end a more than year-long legal dispute over the promotion of Christianity in Bossier public schools.
You’ll hear a lot this week about private school vouchers during National School Choice Week, but what you won’t hear a lot about is how vouchers don’t work, how vouchers undermine public education and religious freedom, and how vouchers don’t help children, families, public schools or you – the taxpayer.
Maurice Bessinger wanted to deny services to an entire class of people, African Americans, because of his religious beliefs. Today, we’re hearing arguments that businesses should be able to deny goods and services to other groups of people, usually members of the LGBTQ community, on the basis of owners’ religious beliefs.
The courts have been clear that creationism can’t be taught in public schools because it’s grounded in religion. Creationism takes a literal interpretation of the Bible favored by fundamentalist Christians (but rejected by millions of mainstream, moderate and progressive Christians) and tries to dress it up in a lab coat.
The “Christian nation” myth is malicious and un-historical. Worse, its persistence prevents us from telling the real story of America. That’s a story of how a nation originally settled by yes, a small band of avowed theocrats in Massachusetts, eventually became the diverse and vibrant beacon for religious freedom that we know today.
Today is Religious Freedom Day, a good time to reflect on the status of religious freedom in America. That principle, rightly cherished not just by Americans but by people worldwide, stands in jeopardy in our nation. We are seeing nothing less than an attempt to redefine what religious freedom means.
If the anti-lynching bill fails to include LGBTQ people, members of that community who are victims of these grotesque crimes and their families and friends who are seeking justice will be denied the powerful protection and resources that only the federal government can wield.