Earlier this week, we promised to highlight a few issues where we expect to see the biggest fights in state legislatures this year. Just as in years past, we know we will fight bills dealing with religion in public schools.
There’s no denying that 2017 was a tough year for advocates of religious freedom and church-state separation. Yet despite the barrage of assaults from the Donald Trump-Mike Pence administration, Americans United saw important victories in and out of court.
As we look ahead to 2018, here’s a list of what are, in our opinion, the top 10 church-state stories from 2017:
One week ago, Alabama voters sent a shockwave through the world of politics by electing Democrat Doug Jones over “Ten Commandments judge” Roy Moore to an open U.S. Senate seat.
Moore is not taking the loss well. In fact, he has yet to concede.
On election night, Moore unleashed a rant, telling his supporters, “Realize when the vote is this close that it’s not over. … We also know that God is always in control.”
“Ten Commandments judge” Roy Moore wasn’t the only loser Tuesday night. He dragged plenty of leaders and followers of the Religious Right down with him.
Moore’s candidacy was a moral test for the Religious Right. The question was simple: Would the men and women who lead and join groups that are allegedly obsessed with “morals” and “values” continue to back Moore even in the face of credible charges of sexual assault and harassment against teenage girls?
The people of Alabama did America a favor last night by voting against Roy Moore for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Moore is just what we don’t need right now. His disdain for fundamental American values – from religious freedom to civil rights and equality to the rule of law – makes him a danger to our democracy.
Americans United knows Moore all too well. He’s been a strident voice against church-state separation for decades, and we’ve fought back and won against many of his reckless actions.
In response to Roy Moore’s failure to win election to the U.S. Senate, Robert Boston, interim executive director-communications, for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:
Back in the late 1990s when Roy Moore was a local judge in Etowah County, Ala., he was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for opening courtroom sessions with prayer and displaying a hand-carved Ten Commandments monument in his courtroom.
Moore had garnered national attention with his vow to defy any ruling against him, and his defenders thought the time was right to bring him to Washington, D.C., for a press conference.
Former Alabama Supreme Court justice Roy Moore on Sept. 26 defeated Republican rival Luther Strange to win the GOP nod for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, putting Moore in a strong position to win the slot in this deeply conservative state.
The seat was vacated by Jeff Sessions when President Donald Trump appointed him to be U.S. Attorney General. Strange was appointed to fill the seat temporarily (to the end of this year) by former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, just before Bentley resigned enmeshed in a sex scandal.