On Tuesday Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on what has become to be known as "The Hobby Lobby" case. I may be accused of being too hyperbolic, but I believe this case has the potential to redefine the concept of religious freedom for years to come.
Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Arizona's "religious liberty" bill last evening, putting the brakes on what could have been one of the most discriminatory laws in the country had she given it her approval.
"They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed." And just like that, marriage equality is the law of the land.Today is a day millions of our citizens--both gay and straight--will never forget.
"After they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back. No! You can't drive. We don't want to have to go back into the ditch. We just got the car out." -- President Obama slamming Republicans on the campaign trail, May 2010.
When the Senate Intelligence Committee passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 14 to 1, committee chairman Senator Richard Burr argued that it successfully balanced security and privacy.
“We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.”This was just part of a collaborative response by French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo to then-French President Jacques Chirac back in 2006.
2014 was a great year for liberals. Marriage equality is sweeping across the nation, the federal courts now have a majority of liberal jurists, America's foreign policy is being reshaped in Obama's image, and both red and blue states voted to choose if they wanted to legalize a plant. Democrats may have lost the Senate, but their priorities surely won in 2014.
What should happen if someone threatens to kill you on social media? Are they protected by the First Amendment right guaranteeing the right to freedom of speech, or are they breaking the law? We will soon know now the answer after the Supreme Court rules on a case that may have far reaching ramifications well beyond the single case they are hearing.
Kim Davis, America’s most famous county clerk, returned to work in Kentucky Monday morning, and she announced—well, it wasn’t entirely clear what she was saying. Earlier this month, a federal judge had jailed her for contempt of court because she refused to provide marriage licenses for same-sex couples, who had the right to wed thanks to the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, in June. The judge released her after four days, on the understanding that she would no longer prevent certification of these marriages. On Monday, Davis said that she wouldn’t stop her deputies from granting licenses, but she also suggested that marriages certified by mere deputies might not be legally valid.
Has anyone noticed that the further right Republican conservatives move, the further left their rhetoric becomes? Consider the way current Republican contenders for president have reacted to the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who spent Labor Day weekend in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. “This,” Mike Huckabee told ABC’s “This Week,” “is what [President Thomas] Jefferson warned us about. That’s judicial tyranny.”
Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Ky., refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because she believes same-sex marriage is immoral. According to Davis, her religious convictions prevent her from issuing the license: “To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience.” In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear ordered all county clerks in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but Davis refused. A federal district court ordered her to comply and issue such licenses, and she still refused. She sought relief in federal court, and even sought relief from the Supreme Court, but to no avail.
Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dropped an astounding ruling: By a 3-2 vote, it concluded that “sexual orientation is inherently a ‘sex-based consideration,’ and an allegation of discrimination based on sexual orientation is necessarily an allegation of sex discrimination under Title VII.”
Former President George W. Bush defended religious freedom during his commencement address at Southern Methodist University Saturday-- his first commencement address since leaving office in 2009. "You can be hopeful because there is a loving God. Whether you agree with that statement or not is your choice. It is not your government's choice," Bush said to applause. "It is essential to this nation's future that we remember that the freedom to worship who we want and how we want, or not worship at all, is a core belief of our founding."
Religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas cause a “national uproar.” Supporters of gay rights say they “legislate hate.” The Pro-Life Susan B. Anthony List secures pledges from more than a dozen of the likely Republican presidential candidates to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Pro-choice advocates call the 20-week campaign “deceptive, irresponsible, and dangerous,” yet another provocation in the ongoing GOP “war against women.” A new curriculum framework for teaching Advanced Placement U.S. history becomes “the target of intense criticism around the country.” Conservative critics claim it presents “a radically revisionist view” of “America as a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
"In its everyday operation,” sociologist James Loewen wrote, “segregation consists of a pervasive system of etiquette.” That’s a counter-intuitive definition. Discrimination, especially the pervasive discrimination of the Jim Crow era, tends to be remembered as a matter of violence, not as a matter of manners. Jim Crow involved lynchings, beatings, and the KKK—politeness and etiquette seems like secondary matters at best. And yet politeness and violence are in fact intertwined and inseparable. Segregation was accomplished through an elaborate system of norms about when black and white people could meet, and how they could interact.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson was surely watching what happened over the last week in Indiana. And it looks like he didn't like it. Just like in Indiana, Arkansas legislators have passed a bill that they say is needed to protect the religious rights of their citizens. Just like in Indiana, its drafters have said the law is simply an echo of protections at the federal level and in other states, despite some notable differences in the legislative language. Just like in Indiana, the governor initially supported the bill. Just like in Indiana, the state's most powerful business interests spoke against it.
"Nazis don't have a right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum ... There's no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center. On the August 16 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich said that [p]eople have the right to free religion if they want it. I've said it openly, if they want to build this mosque in the South Bronx, I'm all for it. He later stated: Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washingt"
"Nobody argues that freedom of religion that the Muslims have to build that mosque somewhere. On the August 16 edition of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin claimed that [n]obody argues that freedom of religion that the Muslims have to build that mosque somewhere. Palin then argued that there are a hundred mosques already in New York and that to chose and be so adamant about this exact location, just a block or two away from 9-11, again, is that kn"
"President Obama is framing this as a freedom of religion deal, but that's not what this is about. On the August 16 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed that President Obama is framing this as a freedom of religion deal, but that's not what it's about. O'Reilly added, this is not about legalisms, it's about sensitivity towards thousands of Americans who lost loved ones in the 9-11 attack."
"There is no constitutional argument over whether Muslims have the right to practice their religion. On the August 16 edition of his Fox News show, Beck criticized President Obama's statement in favor of the right that people have to build a mosque where they choose, claiming that there is no constitutional argument over whether Muslims have the right to practice their religion. Beck continued: That's ridiculous. It's America. We all have a right to follow God and build our houses"
"In an August 16 editorial, National Review Online stated that no reasonable opponent of the project contests the right of Muslims to worship as they please in this country -- the First Amendment religious rights of Muslims never have been in question, at all. NRO further wrote: The critics insist only that this particular location for a project led by these particular people -- including an imam who cannot bring himself to condemn Hamas -- is unseemly and ill-considered. That position in no w"
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a vaguely worded 'religious liberty' bill which he says is meant to protect religious freedoms, but opponents claim is just another backdoor way to discriminate against gays and lesbians in the name of religious freedom. Right wing Christian organizations are cheering the move by saying the new law will 'prevent the Government from discriminating against religious exercise.'
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