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Good News on State/Church Separation

Posted by libhom Friday, December 04, 2009

sign that says: Equal Rights for All. Keep your church out of my state.
Photo: carbonnyc

Today's press release from Americans United for Separation of Church and State brings welcome news.

A federal appeals court made the right call today by striking down religious presentations given at mandatory meetings at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. ran afoul of the law by inviting the Fellowship of the Christian Centurions, a group that seeks to evangelize law-enforcement officers in its religious doctrines, to give proselytizing talks at meetings that deputy sheriffs were required to attend.

Americans United Executive Director the Rev. Barry W. Lynn welcomed the decision, which he called “a strong reaffirmation of religious liberty.”

Said Lynn, “Sheriff Clarke is free to engage in whatever religious activities he wants in his personal time, but he has no right to use official channels to impose religion on his staff.”

Americans United filed an amicus brief in the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriff’s Association v. Clarke case, siding with two deputies who objected to the religious presentations.

It seems like an distant ideal to live in a country where people aren't always trying to shove their religion down the throats of people who don't want it.

Also, the issue of separation of church and state isn't getting anywhere near the attention it deserves. This is primarily due to the corporate media's methodical pandering to militant, Christian fundamentalists. That's why people who support the First Amendment need to be the media.

So far, President Obama has had a mixed record on state/church separation. In his speeches, Obama brings religion into politics in wildly inappropriate ways that remind me of Bush. Obama also has expanded Bush's hate based initiatives to shift federal funding away from inclusive charities and give it to religious charities instead. It also is important to remember that the whole Rick Warren debacle was truly shameful.

While his rhetoric and his policy positions have violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (and the civil rights of atheists in the process), his judicial appointments seem better. From what I've managed to read so far, it looks like the judges President Obama appoints will be more inclined to uphold and defend the First Amendment than Obama or most politicians in either party.


1 Responses to Good News on State/Church Separation

  1. Mike Says:
  2. This really is a no-brainer for people in government: Pray all you want outside outside government institutions, but keep your religion out of your public life.

    No one should have to go to court to get judges to tell a sheriff that.



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