The Wall of Separation Blog https://www.au.org/ en New Poll Gauges Americans’ Belief In The ‘Christian Nation’ Myth https://www.au.org/blogs/christian-nation-poll <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">New Poll Gauges Americans’ Belief In The ‘Christian Nation’ Myth</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Oct 21, 2020 - 09:05</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/religious%20diversity%2C%2010.21.20.jpg?h=ea642bc9&amp;itok=jXgsL26G" width="1700" height="525" alt="diverse youth" title="religious diversity " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) issued its <a href="https://www.prri.org/research/amid-multiple-crises-trump-and-biden-supporters-see-different-realities-and-futures-for-the-nation/#page-section-0">2020 survey of American values</a> earlier this week. There’s a lot to chew on, but three questions especially leap out at readers who have an interest in church-state issues.</p> <p>PRRI asked respondents about their views on religious diversity. People taking part in the survey were asked to put themselves on a 10-point scale. At one end was the statement, “I would prefer the U.S. to be made up of people belonging to a wide variety of religions” and at the other end was the statement, “I would prefer the U.S. to be a nation primarily made up of people who follow the Christian faith.”</p> <p>Most Americans backed pluralism, but the numbers are not as high as you might think. PRRI reports that 38% mostly agree with the statement backing diversity, while 25%would prefer that the nation be mostly Christian. The rest, 36%, fall somewhere in the middle.</p> <p>PRRI also asked respondents if they believe the United States is a Christian nation. This is an interesting question because that term can be defined in different ways. Some people really do believe (incorrectly) that our Constitution singles out Christianity for special preference. Others just believe the nation is culturally Christian.</p> <p>PRRI found that 36% say the country is a Christian nation. An additional 40% say America was once Christian but no longer is. Only 22% agree with the statement that the United States has never been a Christian nation. (The good news is that belief in America as a Christian nation is declining; in 2016, it stood at 41%.)</p> <p>Finally, PRRI asked people if they believe God has granted America a special role in human history. This can be a dangerous belief because if one accepts that we are God’s favorite nation with a divine destiny, it becomes difficult to face up to our wrong-doings.</p> <p>Nevertheless, 40% of Americans believe that God has granted our nation a special role in history, while 58% disagree. PRRI reports that this is the first time since it asked this question in 2011 that a majority has rejected the idea of a God-ordained special role for America. And the number of people who strongly disagree with that notion has doubled. </p> <p>Polls like this are interesting, but public opinion can’t hold back the tide of change that is washing over the country. The nation is becoming more diverse, with growing numbers of Americans declaring that they have no formal religion. Nor can a belief, no matter how strongly held, rewrite our nation’s history.</p> <p>The United States was never intended to be an officially Christian nation; rather, it was designed as a haven for people of all faiths and none. That is our proud heritage, and we should not hesitate to embrace it.</p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/history-and-origins-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">History and Origins of Church-State Separation</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/christian-nation-myth" hreflang="en">Christian nation myth</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/polls" hreflang="en">polls</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/public-religion-research-prri" hreflang="en">Public Religion Research (PRRI)</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 21 Oct 2020 13:05:21 +0000 boston 16433 at https://www.au.org Texas ‘Cowboy’ Pastor Rustles Up A Blatant Violation Of Johnson Amendment https://www.au.org/blogs/texas-church-johnson <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Texas ‘Cowboy’ Pastor Rustles Up A Blatant Violation Of Johnson Amendment </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Oct 20, 2020 - 08:49</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/rogers%20cowboy%20.png?h=e8a55521&amp;itok=ZKIJBGj8" width="1700" height="525" alt="rogers" title="Derek Rogers " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>A few months after he took office, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that he claimed would “get rid of and totally destroy” a provision in federal law that prohibits tax-exempt, nonprofit entities, which includes houses of worship, from intervening in elections by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.</p> <p>Trump’s order did no such thing. The provision in question, known as the Johnson Amendment, is a federal law that Trump can’t just magically overturn with a stroke of his pen. His order was a lot of verbiage but didn’t change the law.</p> <p>But some religious leaders either think it did or have simply decided to break the law. Among them is Pastor Derek Rogers of the Cowboy Church of Corsicana, Texas, who last week told his congregants to vote for Trump while attacking Democrat Joe Biden.</p> <p>Rogers’ comments, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1496460373885187&amp;ref=watch_permalink">which he posted to Facebook</a>, were not guarded or subtle in any way. During the sermon, he said the following:</p> <ul> <li>“I do not understand how anybody that calls themselves a Christian could vote for the agenda and the platform of Joe Biden.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li>“President Trump, he ain’t the greatest dude in the whole world, but he’s the closest thing that we got to what we need. And I’m gonna encourage you. He’s gonna fight for Christianity. He’s gonna fight for everything that we believe in as Christians and the Bible. And the other party is gonna fight to take away every religious freedom and every right we have as Christians.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>“</strong>This Democratic Party is not the Democratic Party that your parents voted for or your grandparents voted for. It is an evil monster.”</li> </ul> <ul> <li>“I’m just telling you straight up: It matters this year, and if you’re gonna vote as a Christian, and vote for biblical truth, you better vote for Donald Trump so that we can keep America great and keep our religious freedom and our rights as Christians<strong>.</strong> So I said it.”</li> </ul> <p>That’s about as clean-cut a violation of the Johnson Amendment that you could find. (<a href="https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2020/10/18/violating-irs-rules-texas-pastor-tells-entire-church-to-vote-for-trump/">Hat tip to blogger Hemant Mehta</a> for breaking this story.) Are you listening, Internal Revenue Service?</p> <p>Thankfully, most religious leaders in America don’t do this sort of thing. They understand that the Johnson Amendment is actually designed to protect houses of worship from being sucked into partisan political machines, and they follow the law. They also know that the majority of Americans – including evangelical Christians and Republicans – <a href="http://projectfairplay.org/polls">don’t support the idea</a> of faith leaders endorsing politicians from the pulpit.</p> <p>If you want to hear from some of these sensible religious leaders, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhhHJYteboo">check out this video</a> of a webinar Americans United hosted recently. I was especially struck by this advice for politicians offered by the Rev. Wendell Griffen of New Millennium Church in Little Rock: “This is a faith community. I do not go to the legislature and hold worship services. And you don’t come to this congregation and hold a political rally. I’ll stay in my lane, and you stay in yours. You’re welcome to come here and worship. But you’re not welcome to come here and politick.”</p> <p>Rogers and his Cowboy Church could use a big dose of that wisdom.</p> <p>P.S. You can learn more about the Johnson Amendment and how it protects houses of worship <a href="http://projectfairplay.org/">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Photo: Pastor Derek Rogers. Screenshot from Facebook.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/churches-and-elections" hreflang="en">Churches and Elections</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/johnson-amendment" hreflang="en">Johnson Amendment</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/irs" hreflang="en">IRS</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/election" hreflang="en">Election</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/texas" hreflang="en">Texas</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:49:36 +0000 boston 16432 at https://www.au.org Honoring The Legacy Of Bernard Cohen https://www.au.org/blogs/remembering-Bernard-Cohen <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Honoring The Legacy Of Bernard Cohen</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon Oct 19, 2020 - 09:30</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rebecca-rifkind-brown" hreflang="en">Rebecca Rifkind-Brown</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/cohen%201967.png?h=2cd5616a&amp;itok=lefkSnZH" width="1700" height="525" alt="attorneys" title="Cohen and Hirschkop" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>On Oct. 12, a man named Bernard Cohen passed away from Parkinson’s disease. He was 86.</p> <p>The name may not ring a bell, but <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/10/16/924747746/bernard-cohen-lawyer-who-argued-loving-v-virginia-case-dies-at-86">Cohen successfully argued an important case</a> before the U.S. Supreme Court that advanced the rights of millions of Americans and that still reverberates today – <em><a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1966/395">Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia</a></em>.</p> <p>In <em>Loving</em>, the Supreme Court struck down state bans on interracial marriages, bans that were, in some states at least, based on racist interpretations of the Bible.</p> <p>In 1958, Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested in Virginia for violating the state’s ban on interracial marriage. (Richard was white; Mildred was Black and also part Native American.) They had married in Washington, D.C., where interracial marriage was legal but returned to Virginia to live. One night, a sheriff stormed into their house at 2 a.m., informed the couple that their marriage was unlawful and arrested them. </p> <p>The Lovings originally pleaded guilty to violating Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924 and, to avoid prison, agreed to leave and not reenter the state for 25 years. Unhappy away from their home, the couple reached out to U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy who connected them with the American Civil Liberties Union and to Cohen, who took on the case as a volunteer lawyer.  </p> <p>The Lovings lost the first round in court, with a state judge issuing a famously inane ruling that read in part, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”</p> <p>Along with his co-counsel, Philip J. Hirschkop, Cohen filed a federal class-action suit. The crux of their argument relied on equal protection and due process under the law. While arguing in court, Cohen cogently stated, “No one can articulate it better than Richard Loving when he said to me, ‘Mr. Cohen, tell the court I love my wife and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.’”</p> <p>On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional. The ruling was frequently cited during the 2015 Supreme Court argument over marriage equality in <em>Obergefell v Hodges</em> (a decision that, unfortunately, may now <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/marriage-equality-at-risk">stand in jeopardy</a>).  </p> <p>Cohen was the son of two Jewish immigrants and was born in Brooklyn in 1934. He studied economics at the City College of New York and graduated from Georgetown Law in 1960. He was just seven years out of law school when he argued the monumental case in front of the Supreme Court. Cohen practiced in Arlington, Va., where he specialized in environmental and employment law. He also served in the Virginia House of Delegates for nearly 20 years, representing sections of Arlington.</p> <p>Bernard Cohen helped change American history and expanded rights. Thanks to his courtroom work, an injustice was corrected, and a religion-based justification for discrimination was repudiated. It’s a powerful legacy, and we should honor it today by continuing to oppose efforts to allow discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.</p> <p><em>Photo: Bernard Cohen (left) and Philip J. Hirschkop during a 1967 ABC News interview.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/marriage-equality" hreflang="en">Marriage Equality</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/civil-rights" hreflang="en">Civil Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/racism" hreflang="en">Racism</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/virginia" hreflang="en">Virginia</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/aclu" hreflang="en">ACLU</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lawsuits field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Lawsuits</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/loving-v-virginia" hreflang="en">Loving v. Virginia</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:30:54 +0000 boston 16430 at https://www.au.org Join AU For A National Call-In Day To Support Church-State Separation And Oppose Barrett https://www.au.org/blogs/call-in-day <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Join AU For A National Call-In Day To Support Church-State Separation And Oppose Barrett</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Oct 15, 2020 - 08:55</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/cell%20phone%20call.jpg?h=2992ba0a&amp;itok=mRSuAeOi" width="1700" height="525" alt="cell phone" title="calling on cell phone " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Americans United and several of its allies will be taking part in an effort tomorrow to generate as many calls as possible to U.S. senators urging them to vote against the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. We hope you’ll join us!</p> <p>The event is a National Call-In Day for Church-State Separation. You can participate by calling your senators and asking them to oppose Barrett’s confirmation. We’re using a simple <a href="https://atheists.quorum.us/campaign/29149/">“click to call”</a> tool that gives you everything you need to make the call. The tool will connect you with the offices of your senators based on your address and even provides a sample script of what to say. (If you’d rather not use the tool, you can contact your senators by calling the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.)</p> <p>We’ve also have put together a <a href="https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1G7VZA5u3D64zbI5pu33Mv7MjvtvmOxzK">toolkit of materials</a>, including social media graphics, sample emails and tweets so you can help us spread the word. For Twitter fans, the hashtag is #OurCourt.</p> <p>During the National Call-In Day for Church-State Separation, we want to spread that message that while Barrett’s personal faith is not relevant, her record certainly is – and that record is alarming. Barrett does not respect the constitutional principle of separation of religion and government. If she secures a lifetime seat on the high court, she could jeopardize the rights of LGBTQ people, people seeking access to birth control, religious minorities, the non-religious and others. (Read more about Barrett’s disturbing record in<a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-10/What%27s%20at%20Stake%20with%20Barrett%20-%20Separation%20of%20Church%20and%20State%20UPDATED.pdf"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-10/What%27s%20at%20Stake%20with%20Barrett%20-%20Separation%20of%20Church%20and%20State%20UPDATED.pdf">this report prepared by Americans United</a>.)</p> <p>Several allied organizations will be joining Americans United in this effort, among them American Atheists, American Ethical Union, American Humanist Association, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Jews for a Secular Democracy and Secular Coalition for America.</p> <p>Please lift up your voice by taking part!</p> <p>P.S. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at <a href="mailto:field@au.org">field@au.org</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/reproductive-rights" hreflang="en">Reproductive Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/threattorf" hreflang="en">Amy Coney Barrett</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 15 Oct 2020 12:55:53 +0000 boston 16426 at https://www.au.org Amy Coney Barrett Wants To ‘Better Organize’ Religious Freedom. Let’s Pass On That. https://www.au.org/blogs/barrett-better-organize <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Amy Coney Barrett Wants To ‘Better Organize’ Religious Freedom. Let’s Pass On That.</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Oct 14, 2020 - 09:09</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/cornyn%20barrett%202.png?h=f7fcc638&amp;itok=_ni8kZGR" width="1700" height="525" alt="cornyn and barrett" title="sen. corynyn and barrett" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>A telling moment occurred yesterday during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. She said something that makes it pretty clear that she’s eager to begin rewriting church-state law.</p> <p>The comment came as Barrett <a href="https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4915058/user-clip-cornyn-barrett-establishment-clause&amp;editTime=1602686732">was being questioned </a>by U.S Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who asked Barrett about school-sponsored prayers before public school football games, an issue that<a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1999/99-62"> </a><a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1999/99-62">reached the high court in 2000.</a> Barrett invoked her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she clerked in 1998.</p> <p>“When I interviewed for my job with Justice Scalia, he asked what area of the court’s precedent that I thought, you know, needed to be better organized or that sort of thing. And off the cuff I said, ‘Well, gosh, the First Amendment.’ And he said, ‘Well, what do you mean?’ And I fell down a rabbit hole of trying to explain without success -- because it is a very complicated area of the law -- how one might see one’s way through the thicket of balancing the Establishment Clause against the Free Exercise Clause. It’s a notoriously … difficult area of the law.     And to that, you know, there is tension in the court’s cases -- and I’m giving you no better an answer, I assure you, than I did to Justice Scalia that day. It’s been something that the court has struggled with, you know, for decades to try to come to a sensible way to apply both of those clauses.”</p> <p>For those of you who aren’t attorneys, the religious freedom provision of the First Amendment is 16 words long: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Members of the legal community often call the first part of that the Establishment Clause and the second part the Free Exercise Clause.</p> <p>Conservatives love to pretend that these two clauses are at perpetual war with one another, but the claim makes no sense. The founders would not have given us a religious freedom provision with such inherent conflicts.</p> <p>To the extent that there is conflict, it came about because conservative courts have refused to accept the meaning of the Establishment Clause. In 1971, the Supreme Court fashioned a test designed to ensure that church-state separation would be followed. This test, called the <em>Lemon</em> Test for the case that spawned it,<a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1970/89"> </a><em><a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/1970/89">Lemon v. Kurtzman</a></em>, holds that church-state separation is violated if a law violates any of these three conditions: the law fails to have a legitimate secular purpose; the law has the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion; the law fosters excessive entanglement between church and state.</p> <p>The <em>Lemon</em> Test held sway for a few years, but conservatives on the high court began chipping away at it during the 1980s. That trend accelerated in later years. Although it has never been explicating overturned, the test is clearly on judicial life support today.</p> <p>A favorite trick of judicial opponents of church-state separation is to take an established precedent, undermine it and then complain that it doesn’t work and must be overruled. Barrett has employed a euphemism – she wants to “better organize” the First Amendment’s religious freedom provisions – but no one should be fooled. She’s advocating for rewriting church-state law.</p> <p>No thanks! Our country’s religious freedom provision was organized perfectly well when it was written. Barrett and others would do well to remember the words of Vice President Walter Mondale<a href="https://www.csmonitor.com/1984/0907/090720.html"> </a><a href="https://www.csmonitor.com/1984/0907/090720.html">who in 1984 remarked</a>, “Today, the religion clauses of the First Amendment do not need to be fixed; they need to be followed.”</p> <p>P.S. You can read more about Barrett’s alarming views on church-state separation in<a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-10/What%27s%20at%20Stake%20with%20Barrett%20-%20Separation%20of%20Church%20and%20State%20UPDATED.pdf"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-10/What%27s%20at%20Stake%20with%20Barrett%20-%20Separation%20of%20Church%20and%20State%20UPDATED.pdf">this report prepared by Americans United</a>. And please tell your senators to <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/W_dzE_-qpUi88FZ0JeuCfQ2">oppose her nomination</a>.</p> <p><em>Photo: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn questions Amy Coney Barrett. Screenshot from C-SPAN. </em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/threattorf" hreflang="en">Amy Coney Barrett</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/antonin-scalia" hreflang="en">Antonin Scalia</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 14 Oct 2020 13:09:28 +0000 boston 16421 at https://www.au.org Barrett’s Appointment To Supreme Court Could Make It Harder To Fight The Coronavirus Pandemic https://www.au.org/blogs/barrett-and-pandemic <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Barrett’s Appointment To Supreme Court Could Make It Harder To Fight The Coronavirus Pandemic </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Oct 13, 2020 - 10:34</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/church%20is%20closed_0.jpg?h=4684bf95&amp;itok=5OHUvaAS" width="1700" height="525" alt="church closed" title="church is closed sign" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination hearings kicked off yesterday with a barrage of statements from senators on the Judiciary Committee and a statement from Barrett herself.</p> <p>We heard a lot of talk about Barrett’s conservative Catholic faith – but it all came from Republicans on the committee who are determined to push the false narrative that Barrett is under fire for her religious beliefs. She’s not. As <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/mcconnell-barrett-faith">Americans United has noted</a>, Barrett’s record – not her religion – is the issue here.</p> <p>That record is troubling in several respects. <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/questions-for-Barrett">As we noted on this blog yesterday</a>, AU has several questions we’d like to hear Barrett answer. All of them are important, but one question stands out in particular right now because of the possibility of a rapid shift in high court policy: whether houses of worship must abide by broadly based public health orders that ban or curb large indoor gatherings.</p> <p>Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, most religious leaders have done the responsible thing and canceled services or moved them online. But a small minority, aided by aggressive Christian nationalist legal groups, has resisted and fought public health orders in court – even though several houses of worship have been the sites of superspreader events. They’ve lost most of the cases they’ve filed, but they keep bombarding the courts with new lawsuits. (Most of the opposition to public health orders is led by conservative evangelical churches, but that’s not always the case. In Brooklyn, ultra-Orthodox Jews <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/11/nyregion/coronavirus-nyc-lockdown-fines.html">are resisting new orders</a> from Gov. Andrew Cuomo designed to contain several virus hotspots in the state.)</p> <p>The U.S. Supreme Court <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/supreme-court-nevada-church">has twice refused</a> to issue emergency injunctions nullifying public health orders as applied to houses of worship. But those were both 5-4 rulings and came before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.</p> <p>Two justices – Samuel A. Alito and Clarence M. Thomas – are clearly eager to make it harder, if not impossible, for state officials to apply orders limiting large gatherings to houses of worship. In a recent court action dealing with reproductive rights, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/08/us/politics/supreme-court-abortion-pill-restriction.html">the two bemoaned</a> that during the pandemic, “The free exercise of religion also has suffered previously unimaginable restraints, and this court has stood by while that has occurred.”</p> <p>Despite President Donald Trump’s constant claims that the virus will somehow magically disappear, sensible people know that’s not going to happen. The U.S. death rate now tops 215,000, and several states are grappling with fresh outbreaks.</p> <p>No one likes living under these restrictions, but as long as public health orders treat religious and secular events alike, they are constitutional. The Supreme Court understands that right now. Adding Barrett to the court may change that. If she joins other conservative justices in ruling that houses of worship must be given special exemptions from health orders designed to protect us all, that won’t just violate the principle of church-state separation, it will put the health and well-being of all Americans at risk.</p> <p><a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/W_dzE_-qpUi88FZ0JeuCfQ2">Please let your senators know that you oppose Barrett’s nomination.</a></p> <p> </p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/protecting-religious-freedom-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic" hreflang="en">Protecting Religious Freedom During the Coronavirus Pandemic</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/threattorf" hreflang="en">Amy Coney Barrett</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg" hreflang="en">Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 13 Oct 2020 14:34:49 +0000 boston 16419 at https://www.au.org We Have Some Questions For Amy Coney Barrett https://www.au.org/blogs/questions-for-Barrett <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">We Have Some Questions For Amy Coney Barrett</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon Oct 12, 2020 - 09:01</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/barrett%202017%20.png?h=9a568e7a&amp;itok=oPmAxodh" width="1700" height="525" alt="barrett" title="2017 barrett" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>The Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrrett today. Americans United has serious concerns about her views, which we outlined in<a href="https://www.au.org/media/the-nomination-of-amy-coney-barrett-whats-at-stake-for-church-state-separation"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/the-nomination-of-amy-coney-barrett-whats-at-stake-for-church-state-separation">this report</a>.</p> <p>Barrett’s nomination has the potential to shift the court in a right-wing direction for decades. The stakes for religious freedom and separation of church and state could not be higher.</p> <p>In light of that, here are some question we’d like Barrett to answer:</p> <p>* Do you believe that religious exemptions should be granted when they harm other people?</p> <p>* Do you believe that public health orders can permit churches to hold mass gathering, while disallowing secular gatherings?</p> <p>* Do you believe that taxpayer-funded entities should get religious exemptions that allow them to discriminate against who they serve and who they hire?</p> <p>* Do you believe public schools should be allowed to sponsor prayer and other forms of religious worship?</p> <p>* Do you believe that the portion of the First Amendment that bars laws “respecting an establishment of religion” applies to the states?</p> <p>* Do you believe that the metaphor of a “wall of separation between church and state,” which was endorsed unanimously by the Supreme Court in 1947, is an accurate way to describe the First Amendment’s religious freedom provisions?</p> <p>The American people deserve to hear a full airing of Barrett’s views. These questions are a good place to start.</p> <p><em>Photo: A C-SPAN screenshot of Amy Coney Barrett's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/threattorf" hreflang="en">Amy Coney Barrett</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/public-school-prayer" hreflang="en">Public School Prayer</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:01:36 +0000 boston 16418 at https://www.au.org The Problem With Amy Coney Barrett Is Her Record, Not Her Religion https://www.au.org/blogs/mcconnell-barrett-faith <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The Problem With Amy Coney Barrett Is Her Record, Not Her Religion</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Oct 08, 2020 - 09:42</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/barrett%20annoucement%202%20cspan_0.png?h=254e0647&amp;itok=tszRZz7q" width="1700" height="525" alt="barrett announcement" title="Trump and Barrett" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a statement accusing Democrats and the media of attacking Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett over her Roman Catholic faith.</p> <p>There’s one problem with McConnell’s assertion: No one is actually doing that.</p> <p>Barrett has been the subject of legitimate criticism for her stance on policy issues. It’s entirely appropriate to examine her record on any number of issues that could come before the Supreme Court. After all, Barrett is being considered for a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land. Due diligence requires that we closely scrutinize her past rulings and statements and that the Senate Judiciary Committee asks her some tough questions.</p> <p>Americans United has examined Barrett’s record and issued<a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/Amy%20Coney%20Barrett%20%26%20Separation%20of%20Church%20and%20State%209.26.20.pdf"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/Amy%20Coney%20Barrett%20%26%20Separation%20of%20Church%20and%20State%209.26.20.pdf">a report</a> that’s based entirely on her views on church-state separation and religious freedom. As the report notes:</p> <ul> <li>Barrett joined a decision of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowing Illinois to exempt religious services from its emergency health order to protect people from the spread of COVID-19.</li> <li>Barrett signed on to a letter from the Becket Fund, a legal group that works to erode church-state separation, insisting that employers should have a religious freedom right to fully deny their employees contraceptive coverage.</li> <li>Barrett helped train lawyers through a program sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Religious Right legal organization that has been at the forefront of attempts to misuse religious freedom to roll back LGBTQ and reproductive rights.</li> <li>In a recent law review article, Barrett disagreed with the decision in a pivotal church-state case that protects the religious freedom of public school students and their families by ensuring that they are not forced to participate in prayers at high school graduation ceremonies.</li> </ul> <p>As Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Amy-Coney-Barrett-Nomination"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Amy-Coney-Barrett-Nomination">has noted</a>, “Some will point to Barrett's religious views and personal affiliations as reasons to oppose her. But a nominee's religious beliefs are not relevant; her position on church-state separation is. If Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, that separation is at risk. The right to love whom you choose, the right to make decisions about your reproductive and other health care, the religious-freedom rights of students and families in our public schools, the right to decide whether your money will fund religious practices, the right to be treated the same under the law regardless of your religious or nonreligious beliefs – all are at stake. We need our courts to protect the religious freedom and rights of everyone – not just of a privileged minority.”</p> <p>The problem with Barrett is her record, not her religion. McConnell is attempting to distract Americans from Barrett’s alarming views by raising false claims of religious bias.</p> <p>No one should fall for this. Barrett’s record – and her record alone – is reason enough for the Senate to reject her nomination.<a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/pM9H9RvlqEiJkbpd4Sgxzg2?ms=blog_CTA_10220"> </a><a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/pM9H9RvlqEiJkbpd4Sgxzg2?ms=blog_CTA_10220">Please tell your Senators to oppose Barrett’s confirmation.</a></p> <p><em>Photo: Screenshot from C-SPAN</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-health-care" hreflang="en">Discrimination In Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/threattorf" hreflang="en">Amy Coney Barrett</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/mitch-mcconnell" hreflang="en">Mitch McConnell</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/adf" hreflang="en">ADF</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/birth-control-benefit" hreflang="en">Birth Control Benefit</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/becket-fund" hreflang="en">Becket Fund</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/official-prayer-public-school" hreflang="en">official prayer in public school</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/protecting-religious-freedom-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic" hreflang="en">Protecting Religious Freedom During the Coronavirus Pandemic</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 08 Oct 2020 13:42:06 +0000 boston 16414 at https://www.au.org Scaling A New Summit: AU's Advocacy Meeting Was A Big Success https://www.au.org/blogs/NAS-Big-Success <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Scaling A New Summit: AU&#039;s Advocacy Meeting Was A Big Success</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Oct 07, 2020 - 09:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rachel-laser" hreflang="en">Rachel Laser</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/NAS%20Jeff%20Sharlet%20COVER.png?h=e271913f&amp;itok=qzMgQq-C" width="1700" height="525" alt="sharlet" title="jeff sharlet " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p><em>Editor’s note: This post by AU President and CEO Rachel Laser originally appeared in the <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/october-2020-church-state-magazine">October 2020 issue</a> of AU’s </em>Church &amp; State<em> magazine.</em></p> <p>Even as the pandemic persists, I’m in a great mood as I write this. And it’s because Americans United’s first-ever National Advocacy Summit was a huge success.</p> <p>Let me remind you why we invested in the Summit. When I joined AU, the Board of Trustees, AU staff and I created a five-year strategic roadmap. The Cliff Notes version is that we need to make more noise in support of keeping religion and government separate. We decided that a National Advocacy Summit could help us accomplish this. The good news: It did and then some.</p> <p>We had over 800 people tune in representing 39 states plus the District of Columbia! Representatives from 14 ally groups – from the ACLU to the NAACP to the National Coalition for Transgender Equality to Muslim Advocates – all took the time and made the effort to be panelists. This not only brought vast learning to the summit, it also showcased AU’s strong relationships and how foundational our issue is to so many others.</p> <p>We conducted over 100 virtual lobby visits to con­gressional offices and members of Congress on AU’s priority legislation, the Do No Harm Act (DNHA). We now have 32 Senate and 210 House of Representatives DNHA co-sponsors. Reminder: You only need 218 votes in the House to pass a bill!</p> <p>While the Summit by the numbers alone is impressive and demonstrates the noise we succeeded in making, there were also many highlights that the numbers don’t capture. I will share just a few favorites.</p> <p>The Summit got off to a great start when an AU board member suggested that participants joining the con­ference use the chat box to say where they were. The chat box buzzed with locations from across the country and continued to light up throughout the entire conference with enthusiastic questions and comments.</p> <p>U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott and Joe Kennedy, the lead sponsors of the DNHA, made live appearances to greet our supporters and talk about the importance of AU and church-state separation. I especially loved when Rep.  Scott, in explaining the importance of the DNHA, offered his version of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s line, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”: “<em>Discrimination</em> <em>anywhere is an invitation to</em> <em>discriminate everywhere</em>.” We should all use that line!</p> <p>Award-winning literary journalist Jeff Sharlet, author of <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000SFZK3Y/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&amp;btkr=1"><em>The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power </em></a>and executive producer of the Netflix series based on the book, joined us as our keynote speaker. His remarks were gripping and appropriately disturbing. It was an honor to announce publicly that Jeff has just officially become a member of Americans United’s Board of Trustees!</p> <p>Our plaintiff Aimee Maddonna, who was turned away from a taxpayer-funded foster care agency in South Carolina because she is Catholic and not evangelical Christian, was another amazing part of the keynote panel. Aimee’s heart is so in this lawsuit. When she shared her story with members of Congress as part of our Summit Day of Action, it was incredible to witness one member of Congress offer to host a public call for Aimee and others like her who were similarly turned away and another agree on the spot to co-sponsor the DNHA “without hesitation or reservation.”</p> <p>I was excited to share at the Summit that AU has just launched our brand-new Youth Organizing Fellowship. Among the 10 fellows are last year’s AU Student Essay Contest winner; a student leader of Irish 4 Reproductive Health, which AU represents in a lawsuit designed to protect access to birth control; and several other emerging young leaders from across the country.</p> <p>Last but far from least, I was delighted that the Summit showed off AU’s staff. It’s no small feat to pull off a virtual event of this caliber – let alone for our first-ever conference like this. Our staff came together during the most challenging of times, and on top of their busier-than-ever workloads, to share their expertise and run a large-scale and high-quality online conference. Over 800 people had proof of what I see every day – that AU has an amazingly talented, dedicated and team-oriented staff.</p> <p>The Summit will be back in 2022 to mark AU’s 75th anni­versary. I hope to see you there in person!</p> <p>P.S. If you missed the Summit, you can <a href="https://www.au.org/conference">watch the sessions here</a>.</p> <p><em>Photo: Jeff Sharlet addresses AU's National Advocacy Summit. </em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/jeff-sharlet" hreflang="en">Jeff Sharlet</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/rep-bobby-scott" hreflang="en">Rep. Bobby Scott</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-kennedy" hreflang="en">Joe Kennedy</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/discrimination" hreflang="en">discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/foster-care" hreflang="en">foster care</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 07 Oct 2020 13:00:09 +0000 boston 16413 at https://www.au.org Marriage Equality May Be At Stake At The Supreme Court https://www.au.org/blogs/marriage-equality-at-risk <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Marriage Equality May Be At Stake At The Supreme Court</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Oct 06, 2020 - 09:47</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/same%20sex%20wedding.jpg?h=6f8e8448&amp;itok=Ld3T2vOB" width="1700" height="525" alt="marriage" title="marriage equality " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Marriage equality has been the law of the land for five years now, but if two Supreme Court justices have their way, it won’t be for long.</p> <p>Yesterday, the high court<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/supreme-court-turns-away-kim-davis-appeal/"> </a><a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/supreme-court-turns-away-kim-davis-appeal/">announced that it will not hear</a> a case brought by Kim Davis, the infamous former Rowan County, Ky., clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even after they had secured the legal right to wed. Davis further ordered that no clerk in her office issue any marriage licenses at all, denying both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.</p> <p>The matter went to court, where Davis lost. She argued that a civil lawsuit against her should be dismissed because it was allegedly not clear that her conduct was illegal at the time when it occurred. The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Davis’ case means that the lawsuit against her may proceed.</p> <p>In the process of disposing of this case, two justices – Clarence M. Thomas and Samuel A. Alito – wrote to state their belief that<a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf"> </a><em><a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf">Obergefell v. Hodges</a></em>, the 2015 case that legalized marriage equality nationwide, is a threat to religious freedom.</p> <p>Remarkably, Thomas and Alito seem to believe that Davis was the victim here. They couldn’t be more wrong about that. The victims were the men and women who were denied a service they were legally entitled to have because a taxpayer-funded government employee refused to do her job.</p> <p> “Davis may have been one of the first victims of this Court’s cavalier treatment of religion in its <em>Obergefell</em> decision, but she will not be the last,” Thomas and Alito wrote. “Due to <em>Obergefell</em>, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of <em>Obergefell</em> and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws.”</p> <p>The two concluded, “By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the Court has created a problem that only it can fix.”</p> <p>And what might that “fix” be? While Thomas and Alito didn’t explicitly call for <em>Obergefell</em> to be overturned outright, it’s clear that’s what they’re after. </p> <p>Remember, the <em>Obergefell</em> decision was a 5-4 ruling, and two of the justices in the majority (Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg) are no longer on the court. If Ginsburg is replaced with a justice who doesn’t support LGBTQ rights, <em>Obergefell </em>could evaporate.</p> <p>President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg, Amy Coney Barrett, is hostile to the rights of the LGBTQ community. As Americans United noted in its<a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/Amy%20Coney%20Barrett%20%26%20Separation%20of%20Church%20and%20State%209.26.20.pdf"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/Amy%20Coney%20Barrett%20%26%20Separation%20of%20Church%20and%20State%209.26.20.pdf">recent report on Barrett</a>, she defended the dissenting justices in the <em>Obergefell </em>ruling during a 2016 lecture at Jacksonville University. Barrett also has close ties to legal organizations that have worked to roll back LGBTQ rights, mainly the Alliance Defending Freedom.</p> <p>We’re less than one month away from the presidential election. The Senate has no business shoehorning a nominee onto the court this close to an election, but Barrett is the wrong choice for the Supreme Court no matter what happens next month. The American people deserve a justice who will expand our rights, not join Thomas and Alito in tearing them down. <strong><a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/pM9H9RvlqEiJkbpd4Sgxzg2?ms=blog_CTA_10220">Tell your Senators to oppose Barrett’s confirmation.</a></strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-by-public-officials" hreflang="en">Discrimination by Public Officials</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/civil-marriage" hreflang="en">civil marriage</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg" hreflang="en">Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/threattorf" hreflang="en">Amy Coney Barrett</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/anthony-kennedy" hreflang="en">Anthony Kennedy</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/justice-clarence-thomas" hreflang="en">Justice Clarence Thomas</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/samuel-alito" hreflang="en">Samuel Alito</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/kim-davis" hreflang="en">Kim Davis</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/adf" hreflang="en">ADF</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 06 Oct 2020 13:47:24 +0000 boston 16412 at https://www.au.org