“What to the slave is the Fourth of July?’ (cont’d.)

Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852: The church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines. who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of … [Read more...]

‘What to the slave is the Fourth of July?’

Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852: Fellow-citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in wit … [Read more...]

Why the perversion of ‘religious liberty’ and RFRA ticks me off


Alfred Smith got fired from his job as a counselor in an alcohol rehab clinic because he went to church on Sunday and drank wine during communion.That's not exactly what happened. But it is exactly parallel to what happened.Smith, who is Native American, got fired from his job as a counselor at a drug rehab clinic because he participated in Native American religious rituals involving peyote. Then he got turned down for unemployment benefits because peyote is an illegal substance in … [Read more...]

John Courtney Murray is still dead

And buried.

In the past couple of posts we've discussed, among other things, the potential hazards when courts are asked to rule about either the factual validity or the sincerity of religious beliefs. Here's Carmen Green on the very real hazard of the courts failing to consider those factors when a case requires them to: The majority says that the birth control mandate does place a “substantial burden” on Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs. And this sentence is crucial: “The owners of the businesses have reli … [Read more...]

Pope Bobby I of the Church of a Beer and a Bump


As a general rule, the courts do not want to get entangled in questions of religious sincerity. That is neither their area of expertise nor an area -- usually -- in which they have any jurisdiction. Judges will go to great lengths to avoid any argument that requires them to evaluate the measure of religious devotion held by those making free exercise claims.We saw this in the Supreme Court's 2012 decision in Hosanna Tabor, which had to do with the application of the "ministerial exception" … [Read more...]

Hobby Lobby reaction round-up

This item, I think, should put to rest any questions about Hobby Lobby's profoundly reverential religious devotion or its attitude toward women.

I'm reading a bunch of stuff so that I can think about a bunch of stuff before writing a bunch of stuff.Here's what I've been reading today about the Hobby Lobby ruling by the Supreme Court, from Kimberly Winston, Sahil Kapur, Kalli Joy Gray, Dave Lartigue, Martin Longman, Maya Dusenberg, Mark Silk, Michelle Krabill, Miranda Blue, Chauncey DeVega and many others.Kimberly Winston, "The 'Splainer: RFRA and the Hobby Lobby Case" That’s the question at the heart of this case: Can a c … [Read more...]

A case of the collywobbles

Officials from the Massachusetts Bay Colony lead Mary Dyer to a public "prayer opportunity" on Boston Common.

Thanks to Blake Kirk of Huntsville, Alabama, I have learned a new word."I guess somebody got the collywobbles," Kirk said on Thursday, in one of those glorious moments when someone deploys just exactly the perfect word for the occasion.The occasion, in this case, was the abrupt cancellation of Kirk's invitation to open a meeting of the Huntsville City Council in prayer. Huntsville is, somewhat fitfully, trying to comply with the new rules for public prayer -- or, rather, for what the … [Read more...]

Coercion and conscience: Why apostasy laws, like all religious privileges, are a Bad Thing

Meriam Ibrahim with her son, husband Daniel Wani (right), lawyer Mohanad Mustafa (left). Getty Images photo via The Guardian article at link.

This is good news: "Sudanese woman Meriam Ibrahim 'safe and well' in US embassy." The Guardian reports: The husband of a Sudanese Christian woman facing threats after her apostasy death sentence was overturned has expressed relief that the family has been given refuge at the US embassy in Khartoum."Really, it's good," Daniel Wani, the American husband of Meriam Ibrahim, told Agence France-Presse by telephone on Friday, adding that embassy staff had been "very helpful and very nice".He … [Read more...]