I spent several hours yesterday morning hanging around outside the Supreme Court. It was a very lively scene.
Saturday is Religious Freedom Day. While it’s not one of our most well-known or popular holidays, Religious Freedom Day shouldn’t be overlooked. Our country is in the middle of a campaign, spearheaded by far-right religious groups and their political allies, to redefine religious freedom. We cannot allow this to happen.
The state of Tennessee used to have a law that banned members of the clergy from running for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 rightfully declared this provision unconstitutional.
In the United States, pretty much all adults, with very few exceptions, have the right to run for public office. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If democracy means anything, it means the right to choose our own leaders. Disqualifying people from the ballot because of their race, gender or religious beliefs is un-American.
There is a thing called Godwin’s Law on the internet. It holds that if an online argument goes on long enough, someone will drag in a reference to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. At that point, that person has lost.
Today I’d like to propose a corollary to Godwin’s Law: Anyone who compares a non-racist organization to the Ku Klux Klan has lost as well.
This week, Americans United launched a new initiative, Protect Thy Neighbor (PTN), which is intended to stop religious zealots from using “religious freedom” as an excuse to discriminate against others. Unsurprisingly, those who are intent on discriminating against LGBT persons and others were none too happy about AU’s announcement.
Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins took to one of FRC’s many publications to denounce AU’s work as evidence of Christian “persecution.”
For the past few years, Americans United has been sparring on and off with a former Navy chaplain named Gordon James Klingenschmitt.
Klingenschmitt first came to our attention when he insisted that he had a right to pray in Jesus’ name at official events, even though his superiors had urged him to use more inclusive invocations.
I spent a frantic morning at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Americans United’s challenge to government-sponsored sectarian prayer, Town of Greece v. Galloway, was argued.
I wasn’t inside the court for the argument, but AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan and several other AU staff members were. They reported a spirited session, with both sides being peppered with questions from the justices.
It doesn’t take a whole lot to get the Religious Right riled up, but it seems Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn really touched a nerve when he took the “radical” position of defending the rights of women to make their own decisions about their health care.
Speaking at the Feminist Majority Foundation’s “Women, Money, Power” summit in Washington, D.C. on March 29, Lynn said, “The Protestant Religious Right and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church today has no moral authority whatsoever to speak on the rights of women.”