It’s National Religious Freedom (For Me, Not for Thee) Day!

Question: how did everyone celebrate National Religious Freedom Day on 1.16.2024?

Me? I went down to the Arizona Capitol because lawmakers reached out to let me know that a bunch of festivities were planned, and Rep. Teresa Martinez (R-LD16) wanted to celebrate religious overreach freedom:

“January 16th is National Religious Freedom Day. 

To celebrate that day we are asking each member to bring their person of faith, clergy, spiritual advisor, priest, pastor, cleric, chaplain, rabbi and bishop to shadow you for the day and be your guest in the Gallery.

 We will be holding a press conference at 11:00am in the Rose Garden to talk about the importance of Religious Freedom and all members are welcome to come.

Please let me know if you have any questions.”

Well, I hate to miss a celebration, and since I AM an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church (ULC), there was no WAY I was going to miss this party.

So buckle up (again), Secular Fam, because as you’ve likely guessed, the elected evangelical extremists in the AZ House and Senate have some WILD ideas about religious freedom, the founding fathers, and what their jobs are.

I got to the Bad Place Capitol just a tad late to the Joint Legislative Appropriations Committee where they were discussing the budget presented by Governor Hobbs’ staffer, Marge Zylla. The Arizona Agenda did a fabulous job breaking down that discussion, and I highly recommend this publication for consistent, reliable coverage of Arizona current events.

National Religious Freedom Day kicked off with a press conference in the Rose Garden. There was one camera there (not sure who they were repping), a bunch of religious leaders (mostly Christian/Jewish from what I could tell), and about a dozen or so legislators from the House and Senate (all of them were members of the Republican party except for two: Reps Alma {D-LD20} and Consuelo {D-LD21} Hernandez).

Click here to read the rest of this article on Secular AZ’s Substack. 

Jeanne Casteen, Secular AZ Executive Director

JEANNE CASTEEN has a bachelor’s degree in human communication and history from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at ASU and a master’s in education, also from ASU. Jeanne has over 11 years of experience teaching in Maricopa County’s public schools. In 2011, Jeanne completed the Emerge Arizona program and in 2012 became a school board member of the Creighton School District. She served as Board President from 2016 through 2020. In 2020, Ms. Casteen ran for Maricopa County School Superintendent, and came within 12,000 votes of winning. She has been awarded the Arizona School Public Relations Association Award for Excellence in Advocacy and Political Contributions to Education as well as the Arizona School Board Association’s All-Arizona School Board Member Award.

Author: Jeanne Casteen, Secular AZ Executive Director

JEANNE CASTEEN has a bachelor’s degree in human communication and history from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at ASU and a master’s in education, also from ASU. Jeanne has over 11 years of experience teaching in Maricopa County’s public schools. In 2011, Jeanne completed the Emerge Arizona program and in 2012 became a school board member of the Creighton School District. She served as Board President from 2016 through 2020. In 2020, Ms. Casteen ran for Maricopa County School Superintendent, and came within 12,000 votes of winning. She has been awarded the Arizona School Public Relations Association Award for Excellence in Advocacy and Political Contributions to Education as well as the Arizona School Board Association’s All-Arizona School Board Member Award.