One of the Religious Right’s favorite tricks is to do something that pretty much everyone agrees is legal, and then thumb their noses at groups like Americans United when nobody gets in trouble for doing it.
Last Sunday, the residents of Dixie County, Fla., rallied on behalf of a controversial Ten Commandments monument that sits in front of their courthouse.
One woman held a sign that let people know exactly what she thinks of those who object to the government-endorsed religious display.
“If you don't like what our USA was built on,” her sign read, “‘GET OUT.'”
Well, sister, here’s some news: the United States of America was “built on” the constitutional separation of church and state. So if anybody needs to leave, it’s not us.
The Catholic hierarchy in Pennsylvania experienced a teachable moment recently when one of its officials demanded that needy parents lobby lawmakers for a school voucher bill or lose tuition assistance their children are receiving to attend parochial school.
On Oct. 20, Dr. Ronald T. Bowes, assistant superintendent for policy and development for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, sent a letter to the principals of local Catholic schools.
With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, we’re racing full throttle toward Christmas. Tree lots and holiday lights have already sprung up in my neighborhood. (How much time did you spend shopping online yesterday? Be honest.)
For those who celebrate the holiday, it’s a festive time of year, marked with twinkling lights, decorated trees, greeting cards, rich food, gifts and social events with family and friends. For many, it’s also a time of religious devotion, attending services at their chosen house of worship. It’s supposed to be a time of goodwill and good cheer.
Students in the Brownsville, Texas, Independent School District have been told by school officials that they should tuck religious symbols, such as rosaries and crosses, inside their clothing.
An “unlikely” ally, however, has come to the defense of the students: the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
Posting “In God We Trust” signs in city and county government buildings has become all the rage in California.
The drive is spearheaded by a Bakersfield woman named Jacquie Sullivan who persuaded officials in her town to adopt the motto and then took the crusade to other cities. The most recent town to approve the motto is Port Hueneme in Ventura County. The vote was 4-1.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday with a weekend of leftovers in between, so this looks like a good time for an update on the “War on Christmas.”
It’s over. We won.
To be more accurate, I should point out that it’s not possible to win a war that was never really waged. And there never was a war on Christmas. The “war” was a figment of the Religious Right’s imagination all along, or, more accurately, a cynical creation designed to help theocratic groups raise funds, win new support and get their names in the media.
Thanks in part to a demand letter from Americans United, four crosses have been removed from a tower on the new Texas A&M University-San Antonio campus.
On Nov. 17, AU sent a letter to San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and City Manager Sheryl Scully, as well as Texas A&M University-San Antonio President Maria Hernandez Ferrier, explaining that even though the Christian symbols were on private land, the project was funded by the public. The letter also pointed out that the developer planned to one day gift the tower to the city.
I spent two hours Saturday evening in front of my computer watching the Religious Right’s “Thanksgiving Family Forum.” The event, which took place at First Federated Church, a large fundamentalist congregation in Des Moines, featured six of the leading Republican presidential candidates – U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, former U.S senator Rick Santorum, Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Tomorrow afternoon, most of the Republican presidential candidates will come together in Iowa for the latest in a seemingly endless series of debates as they try to prove to the electorate that they are qualified to be the leader of the United States.
Unlike previous debates, which have been sponsored primarily by news organizations, this one is a “forum” sponsored by an Iowa Religious Right group called The FAMiLY Leader, CitizenLink (an affiliate of the James Dobson-founded Focus on the Family) and the National Organization for Marriage.