Rash Of Bathroom Laws Not A Coincidence

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image of Mathew Staver, face of the extremist religious group Liberty Counsel
Mathew Staver, face of the extremist religious group Liberty Counsel

If you thought there have been a recent rash of laws targeting the use of restrooms by trans people and also against LGBT people in general you are right. CBS News found the group responsible for the push in these bigoted laws is none other than the Liberty Counsel, an extremist religious conservative law firm connected to Liberty University run by Mathew Staver. Staver was the lawyer who helped ‘martyr’ Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis when she refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
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Proposed Ohio Law Would Give Religious Cover To Bully LGBT Students In Public Schools

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image of Ohio House of Represenatives in session
Ohio House of Represenatives in session. Photo by Joshua Rothaas Used with permission.

In Ohio, Substitute HB 425, also known as the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act seems to codify rights in state law that public school students currently enjoy from the 1st amendment of the US Constitution and that have been affirmed through various court cases over the years. Why would a GOP majority seem to want to protect religious freedom for students? To give cover to discriminate and bully LGBT students of course.
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Lobby Day At The State House

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created image showing Ohio State House rotundaOn February 10th I attended Secular Summit 4.0 at the Ohio State House in Columbus. It was hosted by CFI NE Ohio. It was the second lobby day I attended and this time I tried to as prepared as I could be to speak to my representatives. Secular people need to do more in person lobbying of our elected officials in addition to phone calls, written messages, and blog posts.
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Non-Belief Gets Left Out Of President Obama’s Speech On Religious Freedom

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official image of President Obama visiting Baltimore mosque 2/3/2016
President Obama visiting Baltimore mosque 2/3/2016

On Wednesday (2/3/2016), President Obama visited a mosque for the first time while in office. I applaud his visit and his remarks against bigotry toward Muslims, but when he talked about religious freedom, people who don’t subscribe to any religion seemed not to be included.
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Richmond Mayor Thinks Questioning City Relationship With His Church Is Against Separation Of Church & State

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offical photo of Richmond, Va Mayor Dwight C. Jones
Richmond, Va Mayor Dwight C. Jones

Richmond, Virginia Mayor Dwight C. Jones has a problem. According to news reports, it seems that work done for the church he heads was done by vendors and contractors that also do business for the city and it looks like at least one city employee used city time and e-mail to oversee construction at the church on behalf of the Mayor. The appearance of irregularity is something that needs to be investigated but the Mayor believes the scrutiny is a violation of the separation of church and state. You can’t use the 1st amendment to block an ethics investigation.
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Ohio House Speaker Cuts Off Prayer For Wrong Reason

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screencap of Pastor B.J. Van Aman, Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, and Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville with head bowed in prayer
Pastor B.J. Van Aman of the Pickerington Baptist Temple, Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, and Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville with head bowed in prayer in the Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday January 26, 2016

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R) cut off the opening prayer, in the Ohio House of Representatives, Tuesday, after it went past 5 minutes in length. In reviewing the rules for a prayer opening the legislature, it’s clear the prayer should have been stopped much sooner for violating court advised guidelines and not just for length.
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