The House Armed Services Committee’s markup of the National Defense Reauthorization Act (NDAA) generated a lot of buzz last week in the church-state world. People were talking about the debate over Senator Rob Andrews’ (D-NJ) amendment, which would have recognized non-theistic military chaplains. And, people should have been talking—opponents of the amendment said some shocking things about non
The official Americans United blog on legislation and activities of lawmakers.
The Texas 2013 session was better than expected, considering several pieces of legislation that potentially could have threatened the religious liberty of Texas citizens. Thankfully, most of this legislation failed to pass. Here are some interesting bills that caught the eyes of us here at Americans United:
Roughly half of the states have adjourned their 2013 regular sessions so far, and among those states, Tennessee was one that kept AU quite busy. The legislature introduced numerous bills that threatened religious liberty in various – and creative – ways.
People interpret the phrase “religious freedom” wildly differently. We believe it simply means being able to individually choose to practice or support any religion – or no religion – with free will. Indeed, legislation helps ensure religious rights are protected in many situations: to ensure a prisoner has access to kosher meals, to avoid forcing an employee to work on the Sabbath if other options are available, or to fight against the application of zoning laws in ways that forbid building mosques, but not other houses of worship, in certain areas.
It seems silly to have to reiterate this, but legislators around the country seem to forget: students in public schools are indeed allowed to engage in student-led, voluntarily prayer and read the bible when not disruptive to class. Any legislation that seeks to “clarify” an individual’s right to do so is often unnecessary and creates more problems for religious liberty than it solves.
Several church-state separation issues are coming up in the states. Here are a few highlighted bills that AU is working on:
Church-state related legislation is popping up all around the country, and AU is on the case. Here are some things that happened in the states last week:
Here’s a summary of last week’s church-state happenings in the states: