Why is This Mayor Writing About God in Her Monthly Newspaper Column?

The Hancock Clarion is the local newspaper for residents in Hawesville, Kentucky (part of Hancock County). Like many small-town newspapers, the mayor writes a monthly column talking about local government issues, but what makes Mayor Rita Stephens‘ columns stand out is that she sprinkles them with God and Jesus:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has compiled a short list (PDF) of her godly comments:

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How Justice Antonin Scalia Is Imposing Catholic Morality in the Supreme Court… and Getting Away With It

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is notorious for not-so-subtly making legal decisions based on his irrelevant personal and religious beliefs. This week, one LGBT-interest columnist says his twisted understanding of how the law works doesn’t just hurt American citizens — it also makes him look ignorant.

Bridgette P. LaVictoire, of the Vermont-based LGBTQ news site Lez Get Real, says the justice applies the Constitution based on its meaning at the time it was written — a legal principle known as “originalism” — to impose his personal standards of Catholic morality on the country. She writes:

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Pastor Cites ‘Majority Rule’ in Favor of ‘In God We Trust’ Sign at Anderson County Courthouse

Earlier this year, at the request of Mayor Terry Frank, officials in Anderson County, Tennessee voted to put up a sign on the front of the county courthouse reading “In God We Trust”:

The ACLU argued that this sign could violate church/state separation and it’s hard to argue with that since it seems so obvious in this case. That didn’t stop Frank’s husband, Lee, from telling the press, “We don’t need to deal with that ACLU crap here.”

I bring all of this up because, on Tuesday morning, the “In God We Trust” plaque was unveiled over one of the entrances to the courthouse (another three signs are expected to go up by the end of the week):

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Republican-Led House Approves Amendment Banning Non-Religious Military Chaplains

Last month, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) suggested an amendment (PDF) to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow Humanist, ethical culturist, or atheist chaplains in the Army Chaplains Corps:

The Secretary of Defense shall provide for the appointment, as officers in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces, of persons who are certified or ordained by non-theistic organizations and institutions, such as humanist, ethical culturalist, or atheist.

The amendment made so much sense that, of course, Republicans were quick to condemn it:

There’s some first class ignorance for you:

They don’t believe anything,” said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) “I can’t imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family’s home to let them have the worst news of their life and this guy says, ‘You know, that’s it — your son’s just worms, I mean, worm food.'”

“This I think would make a mockery of the chaplaincy,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.). “The last thing in the world we would want to see was a young soldier who may be dying and they’re at a field hospital and the chaplain is standing over that person saying to them, ‘If you die here, there is no hope for you in the future.'”

You can see the full debate on the issue in my previous post.

Needless to say, the amendment failed on a 43-18 vote.

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Would Anthony Weiner Have Gotten Away With It If He Were Gay?

The Internet is buzzing with news of another sex scandal involving Anthony Weiner (a.k.a. Carlos Danger), the former congressman who resigned in 2011 after reportedly exchanging lewd messages with women online. His web history has certainly been called into question as Weiner powers through the mayoral race in New York City, but one thing nobody’s addressing is his sexual orientation.

That’s a mistake, according to Michael Brown, a columnist for the Christian site Charisma News. In a column titled “The Most Selfish Thing In The World,” Brown compares the Weiner scandal and the fate of another sex-scandalized politician, Eliot Spitzer, to stories of powerful men who abandoned their families to start gay relationships. His hypothesis? Men who run away with other men are praised for their “honesty” and “boldness,” while men who have affairs with women are shunned. Effectively, he says Weiner is only being punished because he’s straight.

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