Archive for separation of church and state

"I don't recall 'if you're comfortable with it' qualifying any of Jesus Christ's commandments."

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Regular readers know that I'm a big Michael Hiltzik fan, and for good reason. He's good at spreading the-- What's it called again? Oh yeah-- truth. One of his latest columns dealt with the truths regarding the Supreme Court's wrongheaded Hobby Lobby ruling in favor of allowing bosses to make health decisions for women. The consequences of that one were fairly easy to predict. Not only are businesses trying to use their "religious beliefs" against access to contraception, but now the decision is oozing into other areas of discrimination, as in gay and transgender targets. But hey, it's all cool, because it's in the name of Religion, with a capital R. In short: Blame Jesus.

Where's an impartial Supreme Court when you need one?

Which brings us to today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Plaudits to Michael Hiltzik for highlighting how the U.S. Supreme Court's outrageous Hobby Lobby decision may abet religious zealots' discrimination against gays and transgenders in the business world. ("Hobby Lobby's harvest: A religious exemption for LGBT discrimination?," July 16)

Hiltzik's telling parallels with mid-20th century racism ring true. For pious segregationists, the 1896 decision Plessy vs. Ferguson served to keep public schools segregated until Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954.

That epic reversal set the stage for civil rights legislation enacted during the next decade, which served to counter persistent racism.

Hiltzik's apt insights suggest that the 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision won't, like the Plessy ruling, endure for decades. All that's needed is one more high court justice who favors equal rights over faith-based discrimination.

Devra Mindell, Santa Monica

..

On Monday, President Obama issued an executive order barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. To protect their organizations from feeling "very uncomfortable" and to perpetuate "diversity of opinion," Pastor Rick Warren and other religious leaders, in a July 1 letter to Obama, argue their right to discriminate against the LGBT community while still receiving federal (taxpayer) funding

There is a disgraceful hypocrisy lurking in a request by Christian church leaders for religious exemption from an anti-discrimination rule. I don't recall "if you're comfortable with it" qualifying any of Jesus Christ's commandments.

Ellen Chavez Kelley, Santa Barbara

..

Hiltzik's excellent column was deficient in only one respect. He failed to ask Warren or Father Larry Snyder where in the fundamental documents of their faith they find their God commanding them to discriminate against LGBT people in terms of employment. Are they discriminating on religious grounds, moral grounds, or do they want to discriminate because they're simply bigoted?

Additionally, if their consciences won't allow them to treat LGBT people equally, they're always free to say "no" to the taxpayers' money.

John Gibson, Los Angeles

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Power play: Hobby Lobby et al. "not happy until their faith has more influence."

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obama tweet birth control women hobby lobby

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My Twitter followers often ask me why religious-slash-conservative politicians do what they do despite the potential negative effect on so many Americans. Why, for example, do they persist with their War on Women? Why do they insist that a zygote is a child and force closures of women's health clinics, putting existing lives at risk? Why do they claim they are "pro-life" as they scream their heartless, vicious verbal attacks at-- and put the fear of their god into-- child refugees who are escaping from rape, violent abuse, and death? Why do right wing extremists allow these atrocities to continue? Why are they willing to potentially end lives in the name of their god? My answer is an abbreviated (it is Twitter, after all) one-size-fits-all reply: Power and money.

Power and money are strong motivators. Tossing red meat to rabidly hungry political donors and like-minded voters goes a long way to securing state and federal lawmakers' positions. And by keeping their jobs, they get to extend their influence. It's all about self-interest.

Hypocrisy is an ingredient of Theocratic Stew, too, but that doesn't answer the Why. Besides, some outwardly religious zealots may very well believe their own fevered, ill-conceived blather.

The Hobby Lobby case allows bosses to control and exert their influence over women, women who may hold different beliefs (or disbeliefs) than the corporate "person" that pays them. Rather, they claim it's about their beliefs. Some of us see it differently.

Today on her radio show, Nicole Sandler played an interview with David Silverman. Silverman is the president of AmericanAtheists.org. He was discussing conservatives and their heavy-handed religious policies, but made a very important distinction. To quote Silverman, "It's not conservative, it's theocratic." Bingo.

Which brings me to today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because, believe it or not, our voices matter:

That's rich, a Christian activist law firm calling itself the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom. Equally Orwellian phrasing titles the constitutionally dubious Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the Becket firm has cited to obtain ill-considered U.S. Supreme Court decisions favoring Christianity over sound public policy. ("Law firm in Hobby Lobby win is playing key role in religion cases," July 19)

For truth in advertising, how about "the Becket Fund for Denying Nonbelievers' Rights to Freedom from Religion"?

So what if this firm advocates a Muslim prison inmate's right to grow a beard. That ploy likely will prevail as a bone thrown to non-Christian detractors, but its narrow application betrays the firm's ulterior motive: to set up more far-reaching court rulings to favor the Christian majority.

Edward Alston, Santa Maria

..

The lawyers for Hobby Lobby don't seek religious freedom. As with the recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they seek the right to extend their religious beliefs to apply to everyone else.

All over the world, it's common for those who practice a particular religion not to be satisfied with their own personal religious freedom. They are not happy until their faith has more influence.

In Iraq, this conflict gets people killed. In the U.S., the Supreme Court allows businesses to force employees to comply with owners' religious beliefs.

The freedom of religion in the 1st Amendment prevents the government from establishing a religion. Once the immense power of government assists one religion, all others suffer.

Norwood Price, Burbank

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Your Weekly Upchucks: Shocking Religion News

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Please welcome back regular guest contributor, author of Being Christian -- a racy novel that explores the dark underbelly of the right-wing Christian world -- and the go-to blogger on shocking religion news, hypocrisy, and all things church v. state (weekly upchucks), K.C. Boyd. You might remember her from her earlier posts.

You can link over to her site here for the rest of this post. It’s well worth a look, because I left out a ton of great upchuckable stuff, including antidotes! These are but a few of her weekly "where religion meets your rights" collection:

Your Weekly Upchucks: The place where religion meets your rights

– by K. C. Boyd

Abortion, Contraception And Women

Education

  • Arizona Hurls Again: Mesa public charter school teaches religion.
  • Flinstonian Puke-Fest: GOP candidate for Minnesota House of Reps, wants public schools to teach that humans & dinos lived together.

Fifty Shades Of Hate, Lies And Propaganda

  • Perky Pukery: Primo hater and theocrat Tony Perkins asks: Is it Burger King or Burger Queen

If Media Is The Message

  • Projectile Lies: Bill O’Reilly Advances Extremist Personhood Argument Against Abortion

Politics Nation

  • Poopy On The Upchuck: The Tea Party Isn’t a Political Movement, It’s a Religious One. Obama is the Antichrist, Republicans are heretics, and compromise is unholy.

Religion Gone Mad

  • Capesce Chuck? An Outrage Beyond All Others: The Use Of Religion to Assault Democracy
  • Penis Licking Upchuck! Right-wing youth leader threatens his ‘gay’ dog on Facebook: ‘Don’t challenge my principles’

Sausage Makers And Their Sausage

  • Snausage Spew: Governor tells Iowans to ‘repent’ in official proclamation for Christian revival at Capitol

Scandal

  • The Drip, Drip, Drip Of Puke: Florida pastor accused of raping clients of homeless shelter

Supremes And Lower Courts

  • Scotal Oath-Chucking: Justice in the United States is for the rich, powerful, Christian male
  • Scrotal Puke-Chucking: The Hobby Lobby Stages of Grief: Stage 2, Anger
  • Regurgitating Racism:. Federal Appeals Court Orders Texas To Issue Confederate Flag License Plates

Theocracy Rising

  • Upchuck’s Family Values: Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, “The Family”
  • Myth Bustin Spit-Up: Who’s surprised here? Researchers: Children exposed to religion have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction
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Poll-itics: SCOTUS approvals near lowest "in 14-year trend"

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SCOTUS, SCOTUS, SCOTUS, what are we going to do with you? Well, here's an idea: Elect Progressive presidents who will replace right wing extremist Supreme Court justices (and other judges) who decide cases that are turning this country upside down.

This Supreme Court has:

  • ruled in favor of prayers in city council meetings (read: Christian prayers);
  • eliminated buffer zones around abortion and contraception medical centers in Massachusetts so that women can now be intimidated and threatened literally within an inch of their lives;
  • weakened unions by ruling that they could not force home-care workers to join them and pay dues;
  • and, of course, allowed Hobby Lobby and other family-owned businesses to decide what kind of birth control their employees could use based on their bosses' religious beliefs. Not the workers' beliefs, mind you, because apparently, corporate religion trumps that of the individual.

And don't get me started on Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions allowing corporate money to attempt to buy elections the way Willard "Mitt" Romney buys car elevators.

According to Gallup, this has affected the court's popularity. Democrats in particular are not too thrilled with this SCOTUS. If that's the case, you know what to do: Vote. In droves. Swarm the polls. Help to register other voters and get them to the ballot box, too.

gallup scotus

Gallup:

Americans remain divided in their assessments of the U.S. Supreme Court, with 47% approving of the job it is doing, and 46% disapproving. These ratings are consistent with approval last September, when 46% approved and 45% disapproved, and rank among the lowest approval ratings for the court in Gallup's 14-year trend. [...]

Republican approval of the Supreme Court is up 21 percentage points since last September, from 30% in 2013 to 51%. Independents' approval shows little change, going from 47% to 46%. Support among Democrats, on the other hand, is down [...]

Americans' current views more closely reflect the court's own ideological divisions in these two recent decisions, rather than its bipartisan unanimity.

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Your Weekly Upchucks: Shocking Religion News

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Nauseous from shocking religion news

Please welcome back regular guest contributor, author of Being Christian -- a racy novel that explores the dark underbelly of the right-wing Christian world -- and the go-to blogger on shocking religion news, hypocrisy, and all things church v. state (weekly upchucks), K.C. Boyd. You might remember her from her earlier posts.

You can link over to her site here for the rest of this post. It’s well worth a look, because I left out a ton of great upchuckable stuff, including antidotes! These are but a few of her weekly "where religion meets your rights" collection:

Your Weekly Upchucks: The place where religion meets your rights

– by K. C. Boyd

This was the week when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are not only ‘people but that they’re people with a kind of ‘superior’ Christianity that all too closely represent the Taliban. Lady Liberty lost something dear this past week and our great American forefathers weep from their graves. More pointedly, We The People lost important liberties this week and we lost them because too many good people have stood out past elections – - elections that determined the make-up of this particular court.

My Upchucks are more abbreviated than usual – - not because there are fewer and certainly not because it was an insignificant week, but because I am away ‘celebrating’ the 4th. Watch for the next Upchuck on July 21st and in the meantime, train your eyes and ears on the theocrats that would have our souls and our country. If we let them.

It Can Happen Here

Abortion

Education

  • Don’t Let Creationism Hit You In The Arse, Ass: Ken Ham Says Secular Schools Are ‘Churches of Atheism’ After Homeschooled Grads Cant Get Jobs.

Elections

  • Sixteenth Upchuck? God Help Us:  Could he possibly represent America less?? Little Bobby Jindal Courts Religious Right with His Eye On ’16

Same Sex Issues

  • Spew Fit For A TheoracyGay Couples May Soon Have to Choose Between Getting Married and Not Getting Fired

Sausage Makers And Their Sausage

  • State Hate: Mike Lee (R-UT) Agrees With Scrotal Decision Because Women Use Birth Control ‘Largely For Recreational Behavior’
  • That’s Just This Week Chuck: While You Were Paying Attention To Hobby Lobby, Five States Made It Harder To Get An Abortion

Supremes And Lower Courts

  • Festering Ka-Ka: With Hobby Lobby behind us, here are four other festering church-state issues
  • Narrow Decision My BippySCOTUS has already expanded Hobby Lobby decision

Theocracy Rising

  • Dark Ages Drek: They’re coming for your contraception and that’s not hyperbole.
  • God’s Army Of Pukers: 82 Corporations Set To Drop Birth Control Coverage( fyi,#5 iis the company who engraved Scripture on all US rifle sights sent to the Middle East)
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Your Weekly Upchucks: Shocking Religion News

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Please welcome back regular guest contributor, author of Being Christian -- a racy novel that explores the dark underbelly of the right-wing Christian world -- and the go-to blogger on shocking religion news, hypocrisy, and all things church v. state (weekly upchucks), K.C. Boyd. You might remember her from her earlier posts.

You can link over to her site here for the rest of this post. It’s well worth a look, because I left out a ton of great upchuckable stuff, including antidotes! These are but a few of her weekly "where religion meets your rights" collection:

Your Weekly Upchucks: The place where religion meets your rights

– by K. C. Boyd

Abortion And Other Women’s Issues

Education

  • Upchucking Upstarts: Defended by Beckett Fund (of Hobby Lobby infamy,) Christian Preschool Ineligible For State Grant, Americans United Says
  • It’s 9 a.m. Chuck. Do You Know Where Your Children Are And What They’re Learning? The ascent of Glenn Beck’s favorite “historian” is terrifying.

Elections

  • My Country Tain’t Of Thee Hate Spew: Georgia GOP candidate Jody Hice:  Muslims not protected by the First Amendment

Fifty Shades Of Hate/Bring On The Revolution

  • Constitutionally Challenged Barf-Head: Southern GOPer Says Only Christians Should be Protected by Constitution

Fifty Shades Of Loony

  • Revolutionary Reflux: Oath Keeper tells Fox News radio that God gives Americans the right to disobey gun laws

If Media Is The Message

  • Dumbed Down, Puked Up: Watch This Fox Host Push Four Myths About Hobby Lobby In 17 Seconds

Lies, Propaganda And Similar Hoodwinking

Military

  • Crusading Christers v Constitutional Chuck: The fundamentalist American Family Association has gathered more than 100,000 signatures of those who think the military should be able to practice their religion on duty, or at least not be barred by an Air Force Instruction from declaring their beliefs to anyone and everyone in their military workplaces.

Religion Gone Bad

  • Freaking Fat Puke: Religious freedom has turned into conservative code for imposing Christianity.

Same Sex Issues

  • So Porn-Free He Makes His Wife Watch For Him. For Real, Chuck: Former (ahem?) porn addict Phil Burress up in arms over Macy’s Pride support

Sausage Makers And Their Sausage

  • Tasting Vomit: What Christer Congress(men) Think :Tim Huelskamp Predicts Marriage Equality Will ‘Destroy’ Marriage And The Family
  • Can’t Make It Up-Chuck: Big tent-ing it in NC: NC GOP lawmaker tells gay colleague that he’s like a pedophile or animal rapist

Scandalous

  • Are. You. Even Kidding My Chuck? While church volunteer was molesting girl, TN pastor diverted cops, lawsuit claims

Supremes And Lower Courts

  • Supremely Vomitous: SCOTUS Just Made It Harder For Women To Exercise Their Right To Choose

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Your Weekly Upchucks: Shocking Religion News

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nauseous woman weekly upchucks

Please welcome back regular guest contributor, author of Being Christian -- a racy novel that explores the dark underbelly of the right-wing Christian world -- and the go-to blogger on shocking religion news, hypocrisy, and all things church v. state (weekly upchucks), K.C. Boyd. You might remember her from her earlier posts.

You can link over to her site here for the rest of this post. It’s well worth a look, because I left out a ton of great upchuckable stuff, including antidotes! These are but a few of her weekly "where religion meets your rights" collection:

Your Weekly Upchucks: The place where religion meets your rights

– by K. C. Boyd

Abortion

  • Hurling Holy Toledo: In a “regulatory witch hunt” Gov Kasich & OH legislature move closer to closing Toledo’s last abortion clinic

Creationism

  • Dino Ka-Ka: Creationist museum opens in southwest Idaho to teach “science that’s being censored”

Education

  • Pukey La Puke: Atheist teacher claims Indiana school fired him for refusal to pray to ‘mystical sky daddy’

Elections

  • The Perks Of Puke: Greg Abbott Uses Private Plane Owned By ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ Funders

Fifty Shades Of Hate

Fifty Shades Of Hypocrisy

  • Holding Their Hypocritically Christly Noses: Hobby Lobby has no moral qualms doing business with China, a country that forces people to abort their children, flouts basic standards of workplace dignity, and denies more than a billion people the right to worship. After all, it’s cheaper.

Fifty Shades Of Loony

  • Major Hurl, Aka, Surrender Dorothy! Oklahoma GOP Call Plan for School Tornado Shelters ‘Interfering with God’s Will’

If The Media Is The Message

  • Smushy, Smashy Ka-Ka: Pat Robertson Warns Courts Are Ushering In Homosexuality While “Smashing” Churches
  • Don’t Step In It Chuck – It’s Orwellian: ‘Fetal Personhood’ Is Religious Right’s New Dangerous Word Trap in Abortion Debate

Israel And End Times

  • Prophetic Puke: IS PROPHECY BEING FULFILLED NOW IN IRAQ AND IRAN?

Military

  • Projectile Purge: Navy Chaplains Obstruct Religious Liberty Turning Their Backs On Atheists. (Atheists & agnostics to outnumber Christians in armed forces by 2032  )

Religion Gone Bad

  • Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road? To Puke On The Other Side: Just shy of ‘Lock & Load, Rick Warren:,”Pastors May Have to Go to Jail in Defense of Religious Liberty”
  • Religion Gone Criminal Chuck: Bob Jones University told rape victims to repent & look for ‘root sin’ that caused their attack
  • Lock, Load And Vomit: Missouri Church Gives Away Two Semi-Automatic Rifles To Entice ‘More People To Follow Jesus’

Same Sex Issues

  • Scott-ish Spit-Up: Florida Governor Signs Bill Further Restricting Later Abortions. Time For Floridians To Restrict His Re-election.

Sausage Makers And Their Sausage

  • Buckeye Barf: Want To Understand Why Abortion Clinics Are Disappearing? Look No Further Than Ohio.

Scandal

  • Upchucking On The Eighth Commandment :Christian’ ex-realtor charged with stealing homes from clients: ‘He spoke of God a lot’

Supremes And Lower Courts

  • Have No Illusions Chuckers: Hobby Lobby aims for Obamacare win, Christian nation
  • Here Pukes Da Judge: Antonin Scalia’s “The First Amendment explicitly favors religion” Except that it doesn’t.
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