A suburban Chicago school board race this spring was seen as a referendum on transgender rights. According to Tuesday’s unofficial election results, transgender rights won.
Over a year ago, the school board for Township High School District 211 in the Palatine-Schaumburg area northwest of Chicago approved a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education to allow transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
Wheaton College has begun proceedings to fire a tenured political science professor for her views on Islam. Dr. Larycia Hawkins wore a hijab as a demonstration of support for Muslims and said in a Facebook post that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God.”
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” Hawkins wrote on her Facebook page. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”
The results of the midterm elections may present new challenges to supporters of separation of church and state, but not all of the news is bad: Voters soundly rejected religiously-motivated attempts to severely restrict or even ban access to some forms of contraception.
Voters in three states – Maine, Maryland and Washington – approved marriage equality at the ballot box last month. Speculation now holds that Illinois may soon join the growing list of jurisdictions that allow same-sex marriage.
It’s frustrating when government officials divert taxpayer dollars for religious purposes. But it’s really exasperating when church-state separation activists are denied the right to challenge that funding in court.
Yet increasingly, that is what’s happening.
One of the problems with “faith-based” initiatives is that some religious groups are happy to take taxpayer money but don’t want to provide a full range of services to everyone.
We’ve had a welcome slew of court victories for church-state separation as of late.
Most recently, a state court in Illinois has rejected a lawsuit brought by Catholic Charities. The Catholic agency wanted to continue receiving government contracts for adoption services but still discriminate by refusing to place children with couples in civil unions.
Americans United’s attorneys have been especially busy recently, and I can promise that it will continue to be that way throughout the summer.
With so much going on, some of their work sometimes doesn’t get the attention it deserves. That happened with a friend-of-the-court brief that AU filed last week regarding the Illinois legislature’s funding of a gigantic cross near Alto Pass, Ill.
For the past couple of days, Illinois Catholic Charities has been causing quite a stir.
The publicly funded religious agency, which provides foster-care and adoption services, wants to be exempt from placing children with same-sex couples. As of June 1, Illinois grants same-sex couples the right to form civil unions and, therefore, the right to jointly adopt.