Tag: Ohio

November 8, 2013 / Entanglement
Outline of State of Ohio with a Latin Cross on top

Since I’ve started working with the Secular Coalition for Ohio, I’ve been getting updates on proposed laws in the Ohio legislature that could be at odds with the separation of church and state. House Bills 303 and 304 were referred to committee in October and if passed by the Republican controlled state house, each would give students in public schools cover for religiously based bigotry not normally allowed.

House Bill 303 “Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2013” is a way to give “religious freedom” cover to religious bigotry in public schools. That way Timmy and Susie Q Public can be anti-choice, anti-gay, and against any religion not Christianity in their school activities and the school can’t really do anything about it.

August 17, 2013 / Entanglement
photo of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
Quiverfull proponents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar as props at the heartbeat bill press conference

In 2012, anti-choice groups got a heartbeat bill introduced in the Ohio legislature in an attempt to make abortion technically illegal. The bill was passed in the Ohio House but died in the Senate. This week the heartbeat bill was reintroduced by the same man who introduced it in 2012, Republican state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann of Napoleon. This time they used the celebrity Quiverfull proponents The Duggar Family as props at the press conference. Even after Ohio just enacted some of the most restrictive regulations on abortion in the country, the forced-birth people are back again for more restrictions.

July 17, 2013 / Entanglement
photo showing Large Star of David on Ohio Holocaust Memorial design
Large Star of David on Ohio Holocaust Memorial design

Last month, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter of complaint to Ohio State Senator Richard H. Finan over the selected design of the Holocaust memorial that will be built on the grounds of the Ohio State House in downtown Columbus. The design, by Daniel Libeskind, features a large representation of the Star of David, a symbol of the Jewish religion. FFRF rightly points out that the Star of David is a religious symbol and Jews weren’t the only victims of the Holocaust. They are asking for a more inclusive design. There will be a public hearing on July 18th and FFRF is asking for as many secular supporters as possible to show up at the meeting to give voice to their concern. It seems that Senator Finan might be thinking the same thing about the design.

July 10, 2013 / Courts
logo for Minutemen United

Minutemen United is a religious fundamentalist group whose previous claim to fame is supporting illegal religious activities in public schools. Now it seems the group is going after a church for not acting extreme enough toward same-sex marriage and abortion. The group has been protesting at Vineyard Columbus since October 2012. The church filed for a restraining order against the group claiming it was trespassing on church property. Minutemen United is trying to twist the complaint as an attempt to violate their 1st amendment rights while it as all the looks of a publicity stunt.

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:

May 1, 2013 / Entanglement
image of Bishop Frederick Campbell leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus Ohio
Bishop Frederick Campbell leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus Ohio

The major conflict in human rights is to balance the rights of all people. You can do whatever you want with your life as long as that action doesn’t hurt others (physically or mentally) and conforms with restrictions from current laws. The basic precept is your rights stop at your neighbors door step. In church and state issues the challenge is to balance religious freedom with the rights set in the US Bill of Rights. In the case of a veteran teacher fired from a Catholic school because it became public she had a same-sex spouse, how far does religious liberty extend.