What Do You Miss (and Not Miss) About Religion?

Secular AZ Board member and activist Sami Al-Asady was recently featured in Secular Symphony, a series in which secular voices spark discussion around intriguing questions. 

This week’s question: What do you miss – and not – about religion?

“I do not wish to suggest that living a life without faith is unchallenging—of course it is. I would be dishonest if I wondered, despite my atheism, how I would find absolute meaning in religion out of simplicity and convenience. If nature is indifferent to humanity’s suffering, then life would be meaningless, yet I created my own meaning by liberating myself from the allegorical cave and leading a life of reason.”

Read  Sami’s entire essay here 

Let the Flags of Intolerance Fly

Secular AZ Legal Director Dianne PostShurtleff v. City of Boston is the flag case recently decided by the “Supreme Court” (I put it in parenthesis because it’s no longer supreme or an impartial body as a court is required to be). The city has three poles: one for the American flag, one for the flag of Massachusetts, and one for the city flag. Often, the city pole was used by groups having events in the City Plaza, a “public forum.” The city had no rules about the flags and had never rejected an application for a group to fly its flag before — including a Pride flag and a cooperative bank – until a Christian group asked to fly a Christian flag. Continue reading

Women’s Bodies, Ducey’s Choice

By Sami Al Asady | March 30th 2022

Governor Doug Ducey just signed three bills violating constitutional principles: SB1164, banning abortion after 15 weeks; SB1165, prohibiting trans girls from sports; and SB1138, restricting gender transitions. Each is a reminder that there are lawmakers who pay no regard to the constitutional separation of church and state, the Establishment Clause, nor our founding principles. Prejudicing marginalized communities and perverting scientific findings to accord with religious beliefs is dangerous to the security of Arizona. Continue reading

HB2507 Puts “Religious Freedom” on Steroids

HB2507, titled “religious services; essential services,” goes way beyond declaring religion an essential service in a pandemic (see the previous article in this series). It makes the practice of one’s religion an allowable defense in any civil or criminal case.[1]

We already have a law that does this, ARS 41-1493 through ARS 41-1494 (FERA)[2].  The existing law prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion unless there is a compelling government interest and the restriction is as narrow as possible. “Person” is defined to include organizations, so FERA already protects religious organizations as well. Continue reading