The incoming administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump could do some serious damage to separation of church and state – and it might get some help from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Religious freedom is a fundamental American value, guaranteeing our right to believe—or not—as we see fit. That right to believe (and to act on those beliefs, as long as we are not harming third parties) enjoys powerful First Amendment protection.
That protection, however, does not mean that dissatisfied persons can file lawsuits in order to force the government into adopting policies that favor their personal religious beliefs.
Yesterday was “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” an annual event sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a large Religious Right legal group, during which members of the clergy are urged to violate federal law by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office from the pulpit.
Another stunt by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has collapsed after a federal court said that an Idaho wedding venue, which refused to perform same-sex weddings, is not being persecuted because it is already exempt from anti-discrimination laws.
This case involves Don and Evelyn Knapp, owners of the Hitching Post in Coeur d’Alene. The Knapps are ordained ministers in the Four Square Gospel and they claim their religious beliefs prohibit them from performing same-sex weddings – even though their facility was a for-profit business at the time this all took place.
Four years ago, officials at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., decided they would like to resurface a playground at the church’s religious preschool – and that taxpayers should pick up the tab for it.
Under a state program, aid was available for such projects through a program that awarded grants to purchase recycled tires – but not for houses of worship. The church sued, and its attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a large Religious Right group, made a startling claim: The church has a constitutional right to taxpayer support.
A federal court has ruled that a controversial ex-fire chief of Atlanta may move forward with his lawsuit against the city.
Kelvin Cochran, who served as Atlanta fire chief in 2008 and from 2010-2014, sued the city last year with the assistance of Alliance Defending Freedom, a Religious Right legal group, following a dispute over the distribution of religious material.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed suspended Cochran for 30 days after he distributed copies of his religious book to employees. The book, Who Told You That You Were Naked?, compared LGBT people to pedophiles.
Henry Ford, the famed industrialist and notorious anti-Semite, once pontificated that Jews were ruining Christmas.
“The whole record of the Jewish opposition to Christmas...shows the venom and directness of [their] attack,” Ford carped in an early 1920s work he titled The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem.
The automaker went on to detail various localized Jewish “attacks” against the popular holiday.