Category: History

May 30, 2012
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
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
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.

February 6, 2012
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As the old proverb goes “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” On Sunday 02/05/2012, GOP presidential sideshow Rick Santorum removed all doubt that his extreme religious views make him an idiot when it comes to science. He told his friends on FOX “news” that abortion causes breast cancer. Current science and public health policy has shot that kind of “scientific” thinking down. It only proves that Santorum should stick to his frothy day job.

January 10, 2012
image of the logo for Religious Freedom Day

January 16th is National Religious Freedom Day. The day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. The Virginia Statute was the basis of the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution and also can be used to support Jefferson’s idea of the separation of church and state. The Religious Right have of course co-opted the day by mass marketing misleading information about what real religious freedom means in this country. Luckily, Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) has some help available to tell the truth.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was passed at a time when state support and protection of churches was the norm in what would become the United States. Thomas Jefferson offered the statute as a way to protect the church and the state. It is obvious from reading the text that separating church and state was the goal.

December 30, 2011
image of Rep. Diane Black R-TN

Rep. Diane Black R-Tenn. sent a letter to her 6th Congressional District constituents that ranted about not being able to wish them a “Merry Christmas” and spouting some false ideas about the role of government and religion. The problem is she knew she was breaking Congressional rules in sending out the letter. Like other theists, Black is upset if she can’t tell you how religious she is and she really wants you to pay for the privilege.

Rep. Black wrote: