Category: History

November 7, 2017 / History

With Halloween now in the rear-view mirror, we all know the world is about to jump on the Christmas bandwagon for the next two months. Never mind the fact that there’s a whole other national holiday in between the two (not that Thanksgiving doesn’t have its fundamental flaws as well, but that’s for another rant…).

Remember when Starbucks released its Christmas cup design back in 2015, and the entire world went nuts about it? Half the world seemed to be decrying the innocent cups as the end of civilization as we know it, while the other half of the world protested, “It’s just a cup! Get over it!”

August 28, 2017 / Courts
image of 10 Commandments Moument on grounds of Lucas County Ohio Courthouse
10 Commandments Moument on grounds of Lucas County Ohio Courthouse

A stone marker has sat on the grounds of the Lucas County Courthouse in Toledo, Ohio for the past 60 years. It’s engraved with the 10 Commandments – a set of Christian religious rules. Supporters of the monument claim the commandments are part of our collective legal history so it should remain on the courthouse lawn. In 2006, a federal court agreed. A reasonable person, looking at the full background of how the monument came to be would come to a different conclusion.

The Lucas County Courthouse is located on Adams Street in downtown Toledo. There aren’t many monuments or markers on the grounds but one that caught my eye is a 10 Commandments monument that was donated by a local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1957. The Eagles placed hundreds of markers across the country starting in the late 1940s through the early 1960s. The markers were placed on courthouses, public schools, and public parks.

August 2, 2016 / Entanglement
Official image of President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s as a US Senator
President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s as a US Senator

Every election cycle, Secular Americans have to endure slimy pandering to the religious right by candidates looking to get elected to office. Some on the right of the political spectrum want to see the Johnson Amendment repealed so that churches are free to be involved in politics as much as they want. As it stands now, promises for repealing the law is pandering because it is hardly enforced and it can’t get a repeal vote now in a Congress with a Republican majority.

The Johnson Amendment refers to a change in the US Tax code passed in 1954. It was introduced by then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and some have said he did it to silence some opponents to his reelection to the Senate.

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.

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 3, 2016 / Courts