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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Flynn Discussed Potentially Illegal Extradition of Permanent Resident

Michael Flynn and Pizzagate

Late last year Newsweek broke a story about Turkey’s potential leverage over President Elect Donald Trump and their desire to extradite Fethullah Gülen, a 77-year-old Muslim spiritual leader who they argue led a coup in their country. Gülen is now a legal permanent resident with all the due process rights the Constitution affords. Despite that, incoming National Security Adviser discussed (in a meeting last year […]

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The Gorsuch Nomination

Neil Gorsuch

As I have previously written, the most damning argument against Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation has nothing to do with his bona fides, which are impressive. It is the inescapable fact that his elevation to the Supreme Court will be illegitimate–the result of a very dangerous and cynical misuse of political power. The Republicans’ refusal to afford Merrick Garland a hearing has been widely […]

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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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South Dakota Legalizes Anti-Gay Discrimination in Adoption

LGBT adoption

The first 2017 state-level anti-LGBTQ bill to pass a state legislature and be signed into law is official: South Dakota just passed Senate Bill 149 that will allow public child placement agencies to discriminate against potential parents so long as that discrimination is based in religious belief. Though the legislation was vehemently opposed by both child welfare experts and diversity advocacy groups, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed […]

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SCOTUS Sends Back Virginia Transgender Student Case

Gavin Grimm lawsuit against Gloucester County School Board heading to SCOTUS

The Supreme Court just vacated the ruling in a case involving transgender student rights sending the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.  The decision not to hear arguments in the case follows the Trump administration’s move to rescind the Obama administration’s Title IX guidelines outlining protections for trans students. The refusal to hear the case marks one […]

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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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