Last week, a community meeting was held in Spotsylvania County, Va., to discuss plans by a group of Muslims who want to relocate and expand an Islamic center where they have been worshipping for 15 years.
Let’s say a legislator in your state came up with the bright idea to force everyone to pay a special tax to support “teachers of the Christian religion.” What would you do?
You’d probably fire up your computer and use social media and Twitter to mobilize opposition. You might start an online petition or lobby the legislature directly.
But if it were 1785, and you didn’t have any of those tools, you might just have to do what James Madison did – reach for a quill pen and write a broadside so powerful it would sink the idea. Read more
“Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” has become a cliché, but opposition to marriage equality remains rooted in certain religious beliefs. The same-sex marriage bans of four states will be considered next week by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. Proponents of these marriage bans framed their arguments in religious terms; legislators even quoted scripture and proclaimed that the ban was necessary “for the stability of society and for the greater glory of God.” Read more
Two weeks from today, the nation will celebrate Religious Freedom Day.
Don’t feel bad if you were not aware of that. Most people aren’t. Religious Freedom Day, which is celebrated every Jan. 16, tends to be somewhat obscure. My desk calendar, which includes Groundhog Day, Armed Forces Day and Benito Juarez’s Birthday, does not list Religious Freedom Day. Read more
Leaders of Religious Right groups are fond of telling us that if we elect more fundamentalist Christians to office, we’ll have less corruption. Biblical literalists must be more ethical, right? Read more
A federal judge struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban last night, calling it an unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. US District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen began her decision with a lengthy quote from Mildred Loving, the plaintiff in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia, which struck down the state’s Jim Crow-era anti-miscegenation laws.
The Supreme Court made it clear decades ago that our public schools aren’t meant to be places for spreading religion. But for legislators in three states, court rulings are no deterrent to their dogmatic agendas.
Lawmakers in South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee are debating bills that are designed, supporters say, to “put prayer back in schools.” The tactics vary, but in each case the desired outcome is the same: a potentially unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state. And the legislators behind the bills aren’t shy about their motivations.
It’s that time of year when people are compiling lists. So let’s look at the Top Ten Church-State Stories of 2013.