Well the religious authoritarians in the Ohio legislature have been busy. Instead of finally coming up with a plan for the equitable funding of Ohio schools – as the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled since 1997 – some members of the Ohio House passed a bill last year that would require Ohio schools to post the US or Ohio mottos in classrooms and cafeterias. Sounds harmless but both mottos refer to “God”. The US motto is “In God We Trust” and the Ohio motto is “With God All Things Are Possible”. So indirectly, the bill would force God into the schools. House Bill 184 was passed in June 2005 sits in a committee in the Ohio Senate for consideration. If passed in the Senate then it would become a law.
With 2006 being an election year, the Ohio legislature was busy trying to pass some laws that would show voters how important they were – even though a closer look would show that the legislature was pandering. Election year pandering takes the form of passing laws addressing some issue that 99% of the population would agree with and that wouldn’t bite them in the ass while campaigning. This year the issue is sex abuse against children. Another law directed at Catholic Priests who have abused children was changed after heavy lobbying by US Bishops. While the law includes a requirement of the Church to report suspected abuse and creates a registry of non-convicted abusive Priests (those who are held liable in civil court after a trial but who’s criminal statute of limitations have run out), a provision to allow previous victims a chance to file civil suits for old cases was removed.
A 3 judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court ruled on Tuesday December 20th that a 10 Commandments display in Mercer County Kentucky was not unconstitutional.
The case brought by the ACLU, concerned the Commandments viewed alongside nine other documents, including the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence at the Mercer County courthouse in Harrodsburg.
The court used the recent precedent of McCreary County, Ky., v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky that was decided by the US Supreme Court this past June.
The court used the common historical sham to justify the presence of the Decalogue and gave the ACLU some lumps for their involvement in the case.
In 2005, the mayor didn’t put up the Navtivity scene. He claimed that road work in front of city hall made it too difficult to keep the scene safe from damage. He intends to put it back up in 2006 along with symbols from other religions:
McPherson said he already has approved a symbol celebrating the winter solstice and another for the Hindu religion — a partman, part-eagle deity called Garuda who sometimes represents the sun.
Of course if he plans on including such symbols then he also needs one from Kwanzaa, Jain, Sikh, Witchcraft, magick, the occult, Sumerian, Zoroastrian, Baha’i, Islamic, Wicca, Neopaganism, Druid, Celtic, and on and on. If Mayor McPherson says no to any religious symbol then he is risking the city of Reynoldsburg to a law suit.
Just like in 2004, McPherson is ignoring the law and even the advice of his own City Attorney.
Got this alert this evening concerning Larry Darby who was founder and president of the Atheist Law Center: