There’s a lot of talk these days about the meaning of “religious liberty” and whether or not an individual or corporation may be exempted from various laws if those statutes conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Yesterday, however, the New Mexico Supreme Court took a step toward ending that debate when it said a photographer didn’t have the right to refuse to shoot a same-sex commitment ceremony.
Imagine if a stranger showed up at your son or daughter’s school every day and tried to address the students as they entered the door.
Would you be concerned? Most parents I know definitely would be. That’s why most schools simply don’t allow this sort of thing. If you don’t have legitimate business at the school, you have no right to be there.
Hysteria: (noun) – An uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter, weeping, etc.
That’s how Dictionary.com defines the state in which Religious Right leaders try to keep fundamentalist Christians. Unless members of the flock are constantly told their freedoms are in danger, they might stop donating to the Religious Right’s coffers.
Earlier this year, an attorney affiliated with a small Religious Right legal group called the National Center for Law and Policy filed a lawsuit in a California court on behalf of some parents in Encinitas who opposed a yoga program in the public schools.
You could say that the American Family Association (AFA) isn’t pleased about today’s Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality.
By a 5-4 vote, the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), meaning that same-sex couples who are lawfully wed in states with marriage equality will have access to a range of federal benefits. This is a pretty big deal.
Sunday was my 30th birthday, and the Religious Right got me a pretty rotten gift – the latest installment of the so-called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.”
As you may recall, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” was created in 2008 by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an Arizona-based Religious Right legal outfit founded by right-wing radio and television preachers. The ADF says it has encouraged pastors to give sermons “that present biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates.”
A claim that someone is being persecuted by a government is not something to be taken lightly, but that accusation rings hollow when it comes to the Roman Catholic hierarchy and Religious Right’s fight for exemption from the Obama administration’s birth control mandate.
Religious Right groups spend a lot of time beating on church-state separation. TV preacher Pat Robertson once called that constitutional principle “a lie of the left” and said it comes from the old Soviet Constitution.
Not to be outdone, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association asserted that Adolf Hitler invented church-state separation.
Others have been less hyperbolic but have still made it clear that they’re no fans of the handiwork of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Travel back in time with me for a moment. It’s 1956, and we’re in the Deep South. An interracial couple approaches the county clerk to apply for a marriage license. The clerk says, “Oh, no! Don’t you know that the Bible mandates separation of the races? I refuse to give you a license because it violates my religious beliefs.”
We often say that the Religious Right and its allies don’t give up easily, now here’s some proof. Less than one month after the overwhelming defeat of Florida’s Amendment 8, which would have allowed taxpayer money to flow to religious institutions, students attending a fundamentalist Christian college have been made eligible to participate in a state-funded grant program.