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.
An outbreak of common sense has struck parts of the South Dakota legislature.
Last week, the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 to reject a completely unnecessary bill that would have made it clear that clergy can’t be forced to perform wedding ceremonies that violate their right of conscience.
South Dakota legislators recently passed a controversial law placing new restrictions on abortion. A three-day waiting period (the longest in the nation) has drawn the most attention, but another provision is problematic from a church-state perspective. It requires any woman seeking an abortion to first undergo “counseling” at a “crisis pregnancy center.”
Yesterday Americans United asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a South Dakota church whose pastor openly admitted that he endorsed a gubernatorial candidate from the pulpit.
The Rev. H. Wayne Williams of Liberty Baptist Tabernacle in Rapid City hasn’t been shy about what he did. In fact, state Sen. Gordon Howie, the candidate Williams endorsed during a May 16 church service, sent out a press release bragging about it.
Howie had challenged churches to endorse him and was ecstatic when one did.
Yesterday was primary election day in a number of states. Several candidates who ran on platforms bashing church-state separation fared poorly.
Here are some results that might be of interest:
A few misguided religious leaders in South Dakota have decided they are above the law and are plowing ahead with a plan to endorse a gubernatorial candidate from the pulpit.