A coalition of organizations is challenging a new North Carolina law that overturns local anti-discrimination ordinances and requires people to use a bathroom that corresponds to their biological gender.
More and more Americans are moving away from rigid, fundamentalist denominations or adopting a secular outlook, but the Religious Right shows no evidence of changing its tactics. A few of the movement’s biggest stars urged the faithful to enmesh themselves even further in the political process at a recent North Carolina conference.
As I write this I’m just back from a week in North Carolina, a state that only six years ago was often viewed as the South’s most progressive place. Something has gone horribly awry.
Before I get to that, a quick diversion about my less-than-perfect “travel karma.” I had booked a compact car to be picked up at the Jacksonville, N.C., airport to begin the journey. When I got to the Alamo rental car counter, I was told that there were “no cars of any size” available – and that no other company on the aisle had any cars either.
It’s no secret that Donald Trump’s candidacy has created a conundrum for the Republican Party. In primary after primary, America’s most famous businessman peels the party’s bloc away from establishment candidates like Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).
Meanwhile, state legislatures in Georgia and North Carolina just propelled discriminatory bills to the desks of their respective governors – much to the dismay of business communities in both states.
Even though a North Carolina school board recently did the right thing when it voted to open its meetings with a moment of silence, some residents are demanding that the board put “God back in our school.”
The Cleveland County Schools Board of Education voted 8-2 not long ago to maintain its current practice of beginning meetings with a moment of silence rather than adopting a new prayer policy. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to do since silence harms no one. If someone wants to pray at that time, they may.
Opponents of “school choice” schemes have experienced mixed successes in recent months, as Colorado’s Supreme Court blocked a voucher ploy in that state while North Carolina’s highest court approved a program in the Tar Heel State.
In Colorado, Americans United, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado scored a victory in June when that state’s high court struck down a Douglas County school voucher program that had allowed taxpayer dollars to flow directly to religious schools.
A few years ago, I took part in a panel discussion on church-state issues at a Seventh-day Adventist church in Takoma Park, Md. During the question-and-answer session, an audience member asked why the Christian owner of a business should be expected to serve LGBT people.
Back in the early 1990s when officials in the state of Wisconsin passed a voucher plan, people were assured that the idea was to help poor students trapped in underperforming public schools.
Colonial-era Baptist minister John Leland was a devout Christian, but he was no bigot.
In an essay titled “The Virginia Chronicle” (1790), Leland attacked antiquated laws in the Old Dominion that limited public office to certain types of Christians.
“If a man merits the confidence of his neighbors in Virginia,” observed Leland, “let him worship one God, twenty Gods or no God. Be he Jew, Turk, Pagan, or Infidel, he is eligible to any office in the state.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on marriage equality. But in anticipation of the verdict, state legislators have rammed a number of anti-LGBT bills through legislatures and onto the books.