The Texas legislature is back in a special session called by Governor Greg Abbott (R) and the Senate has wasted no time passing troubling measures. Last week, the Texas Senate approved two bills that threaten religious freedom – a private school voucher bill and an anti-transgender bathroom ban.
The cost of ending the legal battle over Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples may exceed $220,000 – and Kentucky taxpayers currently are on the hook.
President Donald J. Trump had quite a week as more scandals involving Russia, his family and his campaign unfolded. But that didn’t stop him from finding time to talk to Religious Right leaders and do a news interview with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network. All the while, his administration and friends in Congress were taking steps to implement the campaign promises he made to allow churches to endorse candidates and to allow religious freedom laws to be used to discriminate.
Because our laws should be a shield used to protect religious freedom and not a sword used to harm others, Americans United has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Mississippians challenging the state’s discriminatory House Bill 1523.
Freedom of religion is a fundamental American value. Our laws should be a shield to protect this freedom and not a sword to harm others.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today welcomed the re-introduction of the Do No Harm Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) and 50 other co-sponsors.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental American value. Our country is strongest when we are all free to believe or not, as we see fit, and to practice our faith without hurting others,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “The Do No Harm Act will protect the religious freedom of all Americans.”
Like many young activists, Americans United’s second annual essay contest winner Lekha Sunder’s activism is intersectional. She is passionate about the environment, voting rights, LGBTQ rights and, of course, church-state separation and religious freedom.
“The reason I’m uniquely passionate about the separation of church and state is because I’m atheist, and I have always felt slightly uncomfortable when religion is involved in matters relating to the public,” Sunder, a junior at Lamar High School in Houston, told Church & State.
The U.S. Supreme Court today announced that it will hear an appeal in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case of a Colorado baker who claimed his religious beliefs justified his refusal to serve same-sex couples.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State said the high court should use the case to make it clear that religious-freedom claims don’t override antidiscrimination laws.
The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to act on several crucial religious freedom cases, all of which Americans United is involved in.
As soon as Monday and certainly by the end of next week, the court is expected to issue a ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, a case that threatens to blur the lines between church and state.
Vice President Mike Pence will be in Colorado Springs this Friday speaking at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of Focus on the Family (FOF), the fundamentalist Christian family ministry and Religious Right group founded by Dr. James C. Dobson, a child psychologist.