Category: History

August 6, 2012 / Courts
image of Hole in the wall leads to trouble

The Catholic church and other religious conservatives are suing the government to invalidate the new health care regulation that forces them to provide insurance coverage for birth control for non-clergy workers. This follows the recent history of legal religious accommodation like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But these attempts to knock down the wall of separation of church and state leads down a road I don’t think most people have thought about in trying to roll back religious neutrality.

June 25, 2012 / Courts
image of the Mt Soledad Cross
San Diego’s Mt Soledad Cross

One bit of good news from the Supreme Court today was it refused to hear an appeal in Trunk v. City of San Diego which concerned the constitutionality of the San Diego’s Mt. Soledad Cross. By refusing to hear the appeal it let stand the 9th Circuit’s last ruling in the long fought 1st Amendment case which said the cross now on Federal land is still unconstitutional. Of course one justice took the unusual step to issue a statement and possible hint to pro-cross people on how to keep the cross on Mt. Soledad.

The 9th Circuit ruled in January of 2011:

June 7, 2012 / Entanglement
inage of Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

On June 6th, the 68th anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) spoke on the floor of the Senate to ask for passage of the World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2012 which calls for a plaque, to be installed on the National World War II Memorial, inscribed with a prayer President Roosevelt spoke when announcing the operation over the radio in 1944. Although tax payer money won’t be used for the making of the plaque, it still will be on a national memorial on public land that is suppose to honor all soldiers who fought in the war. Portman’s bill is as misguided as someone putting the 10 Commandments up in a court house.

Here is the text of the bill that was introduced on May 10th:

May 30, 2012 / Entanglement
screencap of Council President Bruce Hawkins

There is yet another dust up about a city council saying Christian prayers before meetings. Mount Vernon Ohio City Council previously held prayers at the beginning of their meetings then a resident sent a letter of complaint. Once the other people in town heard, then they complained about ending a “tradition”. Add to that mess is the comments the city council president made in a story on a local TV station – that he pledged an oath to God so he sees no problem with having the prayers during the meetings. He’s wrong of course.

Resident Ryan Kitko sent a letter of complaint to the council. He claimed – factually – that Christian prayers at the meeting slighted those who weren’t Christian or who had no religious beliefs.

April 15, 2012 / Entanglement
image of Anne Graham Lotz on Meet the Press 04-08-2012
Anne Graham Lotz on Meet the Press 04-08-2012

This past Easter Sunday (April 8th), NBC’s “Meet the Press” had a panel discussion about religion’s place in politics, a panel that didn’t include any atheist voices. Rev Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz provided a bumper sticker moment when she declared, contrary to the Constitution’s prohibition on religious tests for office, she didn’t think an atheist should be President. It brought to my mind a 1963 rant of Alabama Governor George Wallace who declared the 14th amendment illegal. It seems Lotz and Wallace are “birds of a feather” and it’s disgraceful she would express such a bigoted statement on national television. It is yet another reason to support strict separation of church and state.

The membership of the panel on “Meet the Press” reminded me of the all-male panel of witnesses for the recent birth control coverage hearings in the US House of Representatives. The MTP Easter panel had zero atheists. Not even a token agnostic:

April 4, 2012 / Courts
quote image of President Reagan supporting separation of church and state

I had a Facebook friend post the image to the right of this text that shows a quote from President Ronald Reagan that seems to support the separation of church and state. I like to check these kinds of things out because I don’t want to pass on a false quote. When I found out where the quote came from, the story is a lot bigger than this small 300×300 image. Learning the full story shows a classic politician speaking out both sides of his mouth.