Now that marriage equality is officially on the books in the United States, the bills racked up by state officials who decided to listen to the Religious Right in defense of a lost cause are coming due. One of those debts is apparently pretty large, as a federal judge just ordered South Carolina to pay $135,000 in fees.
Some Religious Right operatives have said they would rather go to jail than accept marriage equality in the states. Although Texas’ attorney general has not yet made so bold a statement, he may nonetheless spend some time behind bars for his refusal to cooperate with the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decision.
Yesterday Americans United launched Protect Thy Neighbor (PTN), our new project designed to respond to claims that “religious freedom” gives people a right to discriminate against others and take away their rights.
It is well known that the Religious Right has a habit of distorting reality. But a former member of Congress took that to a new level recently when he incorrectly assumed that his local Walmart (of all places) was overrun by Sharia law.
American Muslims visiting the office of Texas state Rep. Molly White (R-Belton) were asked to confirm their loyalty to the United States by staffers, according to The Texas Tribune.
White, who was not present in her office for Texas Muslim Capitol Day, an annual citizen lobbying event, left an Israeli flag on her desk along with instructions for Muslim visitors to publicly renounce terrorism and announce their respect for American law.
House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) condemned White’s actions in a statement.
The state of Texas cannot broadly censor the messages on specialty license plates, Americans United for Separation of Church and State argued in a brief filed before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
An Americans United chapter leader recently gave the first-ever secular invocation before a meeting of the El Paso, Texas, City Council.
David Marcus, president of AU’s El Paso Chapter, offered a message of inclusion before the board’s Dec. 2 meeting.
“We come together today in a spirit of cooperation and compromise,” he said, noting that the border city of more than 670,000 people is made up of residents with different beliefs and that each individual’s feelings are deeply important.
Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things about God and religion before they can be elected.
These provisions can’t be enforced. They were declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1961 ruling in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins. Yet they linger on, a testament to the bigotry of bygone days.
On Friday, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) voted 10-5 to approve 89 new social studies textbooks for use in public classrooms. The vote, which split cleanly on party lines, ends public hearings on the subject. But controversy over the books’ content is likely to linger: Critics allege the books contain multiple errors and exaggerations designed to portray the United States as a fundamentally Christian nation.