Category: Courts

May 13, 2016 / Courts
image of Former Ohio Governor George Voinovich poses in 1998 with the state seal and motto he had installed at the Statehouse
Former Ohio Governor George Voinovich poses in 1998 with the state seal and motto he had installed at the Statehouse

While cleaning out some old files, I came across a 1998 newspaper clipping that opposed the use of the Ohio state motto, ‘With God All Things Are Possible‘, as a lawn decoration at the statehouse. ACLU of Ohio v. Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board was the first separation of church and state case I followed closely. I published handcrafted web pages that included some thoughts about the case and the text of newspaper clippings from the time. Even 20 years later, the Ohio state motto is still religious.

Back in mid 90s, the Ohio Governor at the time, George Voinovich, had seen religious messages engraved onto government buildings while on a trade trip to India. He thought since the Ohio state house was getting a massive restoration at the time that it would be a good idea to engrave our religous state motto, ‘With God All Things Are Possible’, on the building.

April 16, 2016 / Courts
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.

January 27, 2016 / Courts
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.

January 22, 2016 / Courts

The next act of religious conservatives against same-sex marriage, after the US Supreme Court decision, included claiming ‘religious freedom’ to justify continued opposition to it and trying to enact laws allowing them to ignore the court decision. Yet when people like me bring up the use of ‘religious freedom’ also being used to oppose the civil rights struggle for blacks back in the 60s, these same ‘Doctors of Theology’ claim amnesia and say the Bible doesn’t support racism. Their amnesia is at least disingenuous if not dishonest.

January 15, 2016 / Courts
image of Michael Newdow
Michael Newdow

Michael Newdow has a history of lawsuits to support church and state separation. After addressing the phrase ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance, Newdow recently filed a lawsuit, in Ohio, to have the US Motto ‘In God We Trust’ removed from our currency. The difference this time is he plans on using the same argument Hobby Lobby used to get out of the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Newdow’s strategy is very interesting and looks promising.

In previous cases against the ‘Under God’ phrase and the US motto he has argued about it being a harm to non-believers to be exposed to the obviously religious phrases.

January 3, 2016 / Courts