Tag: religious symbols

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.

January 8, 2014 / Courts
Rendering of proposed Satanic monument in Oklahoma
Uncle Baphomet, tell us a story?

Christians in Oklahoma are freaking out over a request by members of the Satanist religion to erect a monument to their religion on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capital next to a 10 Commandments monument. The Christians are upset about the attack on their privilege but it shows another good reason why government property should be free of any religious trappings. You either accept all religions or none of them. The Christians only have themselves to blame for the divisiveness.

The ACLU has a lawsuit to remove the 10 Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma capitol. A New York based group, Satanic Temple, requested a permit to erect their own monument next to the Decalogue. The design released by the group is for a 7 foot tall representation of Baphomet, a bearded, goat-headed, winged hominid with horns seated on a throne beneath a pentagram with two smiling children to either side.

December 5, 2013 / Entanglement
image of actual text of the Bill of Rights

This week House Bill 376 was introduced in the Ohio legislature. I call it the ‘Jesus Painting Protection Act’ but the formal name is ‘Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act’. It creates special rights for the ‘religious’ to avoid any law or act by the state or local governments if it is a ‘burden’ on a person’s religious beliefs. This dangerous law could leave children unprotected from abuse, allow discrimination in areas way beyond just same sex marriage, and allow Sharia Law.

One reason given for the introduction of the bill was the recent removal of Jesus paintings from two public schools here in Ohio.

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.

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.