The Tea Party and other far-right groups speak often of their love for the Constitution. But for all their talk about America’s foundational document, many of these zealots understand our laws about as well as an average kindergartner. That is why it’s always a pleasure when a political leader rejects these stilted views. Read more
Last week I taped an interview with Sister Maureen Fielder, host of “Interfaith Voices,” a popular radio program exploring religious issues that is carried by many NPR stations.
The topic of the show was Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law, and appearing with me was Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, a libertarian journal. We had a spirited but thoughtful discussion. Read more
Legislators in Indiana have proposed a fix to their controversial “religious freedom” bill (RFRA), and it’s certainly a step forward for LGBT rights. The amendment, which still awaits approval from Governor Mike Pence, would prevent small businesses from using the RFRA to discriminate in many ways. Read more
The Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese in Indiana has refused to appear in court to answer a lawsuit from a former employee, arguing that it is beyond the reach of the legal system in this case.
“[If] the diocese is required to go through a trial,” the diocese’s religious freedom would be “irrevocably” harmed, church attorneys argued. Read more
An Indiana woman alleges that a police officer interrogated her about her religious views after pulling her over for a traffic violation. Ellen Bogan says Trooper Brian Hamilton of the State Police used the stop as an opportunity to ask her if she’d accepted Jesus Christ as her personal savior. Read more
As the debate over same-sex marriage moves through the courts, a quieter legal challenge is also under way: Who should have the legal right to perform marriage ceremonies?
In some states, it can be difficult to legally get a wholly secular official to perform your marriage ceremony. Judges are often available, but they may be able to officiate at marriages only during limited hours. For people who want to celebrate with their family and friends on a weekend, a judge may not be an option. Read more
I spent the weekend in Indianapolis, where I took part in “Civic Day,” an annual event co-sponsored by Americans United’s Indiana Chapter and the Center for Inquiry-Indiana.
One of the topics discussed was vouchers. I gave an overview of the sectarian and secular groups that promote taxpayer aid for religious education and discussed what motivates them. Read more