New Year Remarks from Secular AZ’s Executive Director

As the year comes to an end, I have found myself feeling a mix of despair and optimism. A new year brings new beginnings, but also uncertainty. I remember last New Year’s Eve thinking “thank goodness 2020 is over!” and then, less than a week later watched as Christian nationalists violently staged an insurrection at our country’s Capitol. Continue reading

SB8 is a Gambit to Circumvent the Constitution

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote about a culture in which women who want to escape men’s violence flee into the country for women-only communes.  When they attempt to escape, they are chased by helicopters dropping nets from the sky and then men on the ground round them up like wild animals. Nothing Margaret Atwood wrote in The Handmaid’s Tale was fiction then or now. From the Taliban in Afghanistan to the Taliban in Texas, women’s freedom remains under severe attack. Continue reading

A Christian Nationalist Blitz is Still Assaulting Your Civil Liberties — Just Under a Low Profile

As U.S. Church membership falls, pushback is growing from traditionalists across the country. Christian nationalist groups remain at the forefront of this culture war. These coalitions dump massive amounts of money into state and local governments to influence power-hungry politicians. Their desired ends are the realization of America as a Christian nation; their means are dismantling civil rights. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Christian Nationalism

Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo.

Fulton v. Philadelphia.

Tandon v. Newsom.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson

Throughout the pandemic, the highest court of the land has favored religious adherents to the detriment of public health, LGBTQ+ people, and the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. I felt nauseous as I read majority opinions from the 2020-2021 term; arch-conservative Supreme Court Justices had institutionalized a complete disregard for the separation of state and church. Christian nationalism has taken hold of our democracy. Continue reading

Legislative Prayer in Arizona

by Beth Houck, Secular AZ Legal Committee volunteer attorney

This summer, Secular AZ’s Legal Committee has been reviewing the invocation policies and practices in every county’s board of supervisors’ meetings, and in the city council meetings of the cities that are county seats. It’s a big project, requiring many public records requests and listening to hundreds of hundreds of recordings going back to the beginning of 2020. Continue reading

Children cannot be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance

State lawmakers worked hard this session to figure out ways to impose groupthink on students. Representative Fillmore from the far east valley and Pinal county introduced HB2060, requiring school children in grades 1-4 to recite the Pledge every morning. Under current law, they may if they like; under Fillmore’s bill — which thankfully died in committee — they would have been required to do so unless their parents wrote an excuse. Continue reading

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a Gun

By Matthew Adler, Secular AZ legal intern

In a recent unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held that government officials may be sued in a personal capacity for money damages when they violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This decision was a step towards providing much needed justice to a group of Muslim men who had been victimized by the FBI following 9/11, but it also served to strengthen a highly dubious piece of legislation that is routinely used to circumvent the law. Continue reading