Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things about God and religion before they can be elected.
These provisions can’t be enforced. They were declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1961 ruling in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins. Yet they linger on, a testament to the bigotry of bygone days. Read more
A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.
The proposal put forth by the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is pretty wide-ranging and is being pitched as a way to protect “Southern” (read: pro-Confederate) culture. It contains 12 subsections. Read more
A Mississippi congressman mailed a Bible to each of his fellow representatives last Friday. In a letter enclosed with the Bibles, U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) wrote that the tomes are intended to provide guidance for public policy.
“Our staffs provide us with policy memos, statistics and recommendations that help us make informed decisions. However, I find that the best advice comes through meditating on God’s Word,” Palazzo wrote. “Please find a copy of the Holy Bible to help guide you in your decision-making.” Read more
Voters in Mississippi are headed to the polls tomorrow for an important run-off election. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is locked in a tight battle against a state senator, Chris McDaniel, in a Republican primary.
Cochran has served in the Senate since 1978, but he’s running scared against McDaniel, an aggressive Tea Party challenger. The incumbent senator hopes to pull out a win based on an unusual weapon: black churches. Read more
It may seem like a dispatch from the Jim Crow era, but a recent poll shows that some Americans still believe business owners have a religious freedom right to discriminate against customers based on their race. Read more
Mississippi is the latest state to send “religious freedom” legislation to the governor’s desk, prompting fresh controversy over what critics believe is a license to discriminate against LGBT people.
For the most part, our public school teachers respect and appreciate the U.S. Constitution. They understand that parents should choose what to teach their children about religion, not school employees.
But every once in a while, a teacher comes along who insists he or she knows better. For example, Meadville, Miss., math instructor Alice Hawley believes she should lead her students in prayer during class. Read more