I recently heard some interesting news from my hometown in suburban Pittsburgh: A Ten Commandments monument that was the subject of a federal court battle has been removed from the grounds of a public high school.
Editor’s Note: Liz Hayes is Americans United’s new assistant director of communications. In this blog post, she explains what motivated her to want to work for Americans United.
I was born, raised and worked as a journalist for nearly 15 years in western Pennsylvania in the suburbs of Pittsburgh – the politically purple borderlands where liberalism drains into the conservative rural vastness that smears the center of the state red.
President-elect Donald Trump on Friday nominated U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general. The attorney general serves as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, responsible for upholding our nation’s laws. Many view Sen. Sessions as a troubling choice, including those of us who fight for religious freedom.
In addition to voting for the next leader of our country, Oklahomans will be casting their vote on a number of state ballot measures in November. As the president of AU’s Oklahoma Chapter, I hope we vote down State Question 790.
Good news from Alabama: Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended from the court without pay for the remainder of his term.
Technically, Moore has not been removed from office, but today’s decision by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary has that effect. He has been suspended for the rest of his term, and he can’t run again because Alabama law prohibits anyone older than 70 from being appointed to or elected to the bench. (Moore will turn 70 in February.)
Donald Trump has announced that he plans to put Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on his ticket. This selection signals that Trump, a controversial real estate mogul and reality TV star, is continuing his aggressive courting of the Religious Right, in the hopes of achieving victory this fall.
Whether it will work remains to be seen. In the meantime, here are some things to keep in mind about Pence:
Oklahoma voters in November will face a radical ballot initiative that could, if passed, alter the state’s constitution to allow taxpayer money to flow directly into the coffers of sectarian institutions.
Last week, Oklahoma lawmakers approved SJR 72, which has been advertised as an amendment that would allow government-sponsored religious displays on public land. But the change might do much more than that if it is approved by voters this fall.
Legislators in Arkansas voted earlier this year to erect the Ten Commandments at the state capitol in Little Rock. This would seem to be a clear example of government showing favoritism to a religious code. But for now, other faiths shouldn’t assume they’ll get the same treatment.
A federal judge recently ruled that it’s perfectly fine for a Ten Commandments monument to remain on government property because the people who complained about the display couldn’t prove that they were sufficiently offended by it.