religious issues centering around church/state conflict and secular humanism.

Extremist Oklahoma Anti-Gay RFRA Legislation Fails

Oklahoma SB 197 and SB 694 dead for this session

For the second year in a row, the Oklahoma legislature failed to pass an extreme ‘religious freedom’ bill targeting members of the LGBTQ community for discrimination. SB 197 – also known as the “Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act” – would have allowed businesses the legal right to discriminate against anyone based on a religion-based desire not to be involved in “a marriage […]

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OK GOP Bill Will Allow Ten Commandments on State Property

Ten Commandments Monument Oklahoma

In an attempt to circumvent a state Supreme Court decision stating that having a Ten Commandments monument on state property constitutes a breach of state and federal law surrounding establishment of religion, the Oklahoma GOP just pushed a bill through the Oklahoma legislature designating Ten Commandment monuments as historically significant and deserving of placement on public grounds. House Bill 2177 – proposed by state Representative John Bennett (R-Sallisaw) […]

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The Blaze is Helping to Spread Lies about Planned Parenthood

On Wednesday, Brandon Morse at The Blaze (Glenn Beck’s website) published a piece featuring a supposed email from a woman who visited Planned Parenthood for adoption counseling but was pressured into considering abortion instead. The story, which includes a video of a woman reading the email as if she had written it (she didn’t), claims the email was sent by […]

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Church-Run Police Force? It May Happen in Alabama

Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Alabama is one step closer to getting its own police force to protect its church and affiliated school, Briarwood Christian School.  Apparently threatening children with hell doesn’t have quite the effect it used to. Now they need guys with guns.  And hiring security guards to protect the grounds, like every other large business does, isn’t quite Bible […]

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The Bully Pulpit: Indiana SB 439 & Hate Crimes

I recently attended the bat mitzvah of a cousin’s daughter at the synagogue in which I grew up.  My cousin’s daughter did a great job with her Torah portion, but I was particularly struck by the sermon, in which Rabbi Dennis Sasso forcefully and eloquently connected those ancient teachings to America’s contemporary challenges. I sometimes need to remind myself that for every […]

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Catholic Healthcare Forgets Mary Had a Choice

health care is a human right

It is well documented that healthcare disparity exists among minorities and the poor. While the threats to defund Planned Parenthood and to repeal the Affordable Care Act are increasing, we cannot lose focus on states’ restrictive abortion laws and hospital mergers. A common thread seems to be to end and restrict reproductive healthcare. This includes fertility treatments, healthcare screenings, birth […]

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Oklahoma: SB 450 Would Force Religion on Students

religious proselytizing - prayer in schools

Legislation flying unchallenged through the Oklahoma legislature would allow unmitigated proselytization in public schools. SB 450 – also known as the ‘Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act’ for Schools – would protect “voluntary religious expression in the classroom.” While student prayer in public schools is already protected under the First Amendment, SB 450 takes this much, much further to the point of allowing students to […]

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Walking in Their Shoes: The Dakota Access Pipeline

The Sioux Tribe at Standing Rock protesting the The Dakota Access Pipeline #NODAPL

Martin Marty is an eminent religious scholar at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He also issues a weekly newsletter, called Sightings because it “sights” public reports with religious or spiritual dimensions. His most recent reflection was thought-provoking, to say the least: What if the Sioux Nation decided to build a pipeline through Arlington Cemetery? This question from Faith Spotted […]

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Pastoral versus Ideological Church and State

religion Church and State

Speaking of religion, as we did yesterday, I’ve been mulling over a column by E.J. Dionne that I read a couple of weeks ago, because I think it has application to what I will (somewhat grandiosely) call the human condition. Dionne is a Catholic, and he was examining the differences between the approach to that religion of two other Catholics–the […]

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Bush Speaks Out Against Muslim Ban; Defends Free Press

Speaking with Matt Lauer, George W. Bush criticized Trump and promoted free press.

On NBC’s Today yesterday, former President George W. Bush spoke out against Donald Trump’s continued attacks on free press and emphasized the need for an independent press. The unexpected and strong rebuke of the Trump administration came as part of a book tour interview promoting his newly published Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors. Matt Lauer brought the issue of […]

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