Tag: ACLU

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.

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.

June 29, 2015 / Groups
logo for the ACLU

During the recent firestorm over state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) like those passed by Indiana and the use of them to discriminate against LGBT people, one of my conservative friends pointed out many liberals and the ACLU supported the federal RFRA passed in 1993. He implied they were being hypocrites. Late last week the ACLU formally repudiated its support of the RFRA.

The ACLU provided some of the same reasons to remove their support of the RFRA that has been mentioned in previous posts about this issue:

December 17, 2014 / Entanglement
photo of Ohio Gov Kasich
Ohio Governor John Kasich

A new Ohio law gave tax money to groups who mentored public school children, which is a good thing. However Gov. Kasich decided to force mentoring programs to partner with faith-based groups. Kasich believes, wrongly, that the public school should be where children get their religious education.

House Bill 483 was ‘legislation that makes appropriation changes and minor policy changes as part of the Mid-Biennial Review (MBR), a package of bills that strives to initiate reforms to state spending, agency operations, and state policies and programs.’ Tucked inside HB 483 was a new program called “Career Advising And Mentoring Program” that would grant tax payer money to groups who helped mentor public school children.

October 10, 2013 / Media
screencap Jackson OH Jesus location in High School building
Jackson OH Jesus location in High School building

The other day I posted an update to the Jackson, Ohio school district Jesus painting court case. Someone on twitter sent me a strong reaction tweet about it and the ensuing conversation shows that some theists don’t want religious freedom for others – just themselves.

Here is the original tweet:

October 5, 2013 / Courts
screenshot from news report about Jesus painting in Jackson Ohio middle school
Jesus painting in Jackson Ohio middle school before it was moved to the High School in March

Eight months after a lawsuit was filed against a Jackson County Ohio school district over a Jesus painting that had hung in a stairwell of the middle school building for 66 years, a final settlement has concluded the case. The Jackson City School District agreed to remove the painting from school district property and pay $3,000 in damages to each of the suit’s five anonymous plaintiffs as well as the legal costs for the ACLU and Freedom from Religion Foundation.

The district also tried to claim that since insurance paid out the damages, no taxpayer dollars were used. Taxes are used to pay the insurance premium, and will likely increase because of the claim, so like their idea that the Jesus painting was not a violation of the law, their idea about no taxpayer money being used to pay off the lawsuit is also wrong.