June 11, 2013 / / Politics
official photo of Ohio Representative Bill Patmon (D-10)
Ohio Representative Bill Patmon (D-10) wants to give credit for religious study during school time

Ohio House Bill 171, introduced by Representative Bill Patmon (D-10), would allow students to receive credit for studying religion during what is called release time. If passed, Ohio would be the second state to give credit for religious study during the school day. It’s too bad that Rep. Patmon reasons for the law are based on false assumptions and it looks like just an attempt to subvert court decisions that keep church and state separate in public schools.

Here is the text for the proposed law as introduced on May 21st 2013:

April 23, 2013 / / Courts
image showing angry face with word Atheists!

A complaint I hear often in debates about church and state is about people who challenge violations who hide their identity. People who oppose separation of church and state think that people who sue should be known publicly as if not knowing their identity makes their case not valid. I respect people who challenge violations of church and state and use their real names, but as a case in South Carolina shows, it’s something you have to be prepared to do with eyes wide open. Some Christians really really don’t like challenges to their privilege especially if the complaint comes from atheists.

In Chesterfield County, South Carolina, Jordan Anderson and his family challenged the systematic proselytizing in his middle school. They won the case but the family was harassed for challenging the Christian privilege in their community.

April 2, 2013 / / Courts
screencap Jackson OH Jesus location in High School building
Jackson OH Jesus location in High School building

During a federal court hearing in Columbus on Tuesday, lawyers for the Jackson Ohio City Schools agreed to remove the picture of Jesus that was at the center of a church & state lawsuit brought by the Freedom of Religion Foundation and the ACLU. The district claims its insurance company wouldn’t cover the costs of the lawsuit. There is no word if the lawsuit will continue but for now the district made the right decision.

March 22, 2013 / / Entanglement
image of Melissa Rogers
Melissa Rogers: New director of Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

The White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships was started by President Bush in 2001 in order give taxpayer money to religious groups to provide social services. Even though the office spits at the spirit of the separation of church and state, President Obama kept the office and expanded it. Recently it was announced that the President would be appointing Melissa Rogers as the office’s new director. The general consensus of the various free thought groups is the appointment of Rogers is a good move and you know what means – trouble for the religious right. Hopefully.

March 22, 2013 / / Courts
image of a map version of state of Kentucky

Last week, two church & state cases from Kentucky were resolved. One concerning a state law that said “security was unattainable without reliance on ‘Almighty God'” lost in the US Supreme Court. Another case involving religious coercion at state-funded baptist children’s home was settled out of court as a victory for support of separation of church and state. We can’t always win these court cases but we need to fight as much as possible to protect the wall between church & state.

March 15, 2013 / / Courts
screenshot New location of the Jackson Ohio Jesus
New location of the Jackson Ohio Jesus

It was reported on Thursday that the Jesus painting that had been hanging in the hallway of the Jackson Ohio middle school for 47 years and is at the heart of a 1st amendment lawsuit by the Freedom of Religion Foundation and the ACLU, has been moved to the High School at the request of the “owner” of the painting – the Hi-Y Club.

The school board had created a “limited public forum” at the middle school and High School and claimed the painting belonged to the Hi-Y Club in order to cover their obvious violation of the separation of church and state.