The Supreme Court — sequestered in its shadow docket after midnight on Sept. 1st — made several things clear with Whole Women’s Health v. Austin Reeve Jackson.
First: the court has zero credibility. They no longer decide legal cases based on the Constitution, the law, precedent, science, or facts. They decide solely on politics. Continue reading
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
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
Secular AZ is seeking candidates for an Executive Director position.
Since 2010, Secular AZ has been working to ensure that Arizonans have a secular state government by educating lawmakers and the public about the importance of secular issues. We advocate on behalf of all individuals, including the nontheistic community, who believe that public policy free of religious preference is the best way to ensure freedom of conscience for Arizonans of all faiths and of none. Continue reading
After each legislative session, Secular AZ publishes a Legislative Wrap-Up and Scorecard to highlight state legislators’ actions on issues of religious extremism and government. Our goal is to give you a valuable tool to analyze lawmakers’ actions ahead of election season, as well as a complete picture of where we currently stand legislatively. We also wish to illustrate our work so you may see how your support is continuing to grow the secular movement in Arizona, and how it influences what legislation gets passed. Continue reading
By Adriana Lujan-Flores, Secular AZ Legal Intern
On January 31, 2019, British-Iraqi journalist Salam Sarhan wrote an opinion piece for The Independent calling for a new, international approach to prevent countries from using religion for political purposes. According to Sarhan, previous attempts to combat the political use of religion were too divisive and confrontational, enabling religious extremists to rally support by claiming their faith was being attacked. The article received significant support, leading to the launch of the International Treaty to Ban the Political Use of Religion, or BPUR for short. Continue reading
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
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
On short notice, religious exemptions bill HB2648 has been fast-tracked for final votes at the State Legislature today.
Proponents of HB2648 claim that the bill merely protects the right to worship during public emergencies. But the bill is much more extreme.
As written, HB2648 would essentially give any self-proclaimed religious organization — including extremist and fringe organizations — a “get out of jail free” card for nearly any violation of any law at any time. This would particularly jeopardize children, as it would diminish Arizona’s ability to enforce laws shielding them from abuse and other harms within the walls of such organizations.
HB2648 is not only dangerous. It is unnecessary. Current Arizona law already protects religious freedom, even in times of crisis.
The bill could receive final votes in the Senate any minute. From there, it would go to quickly to the House and then the Governor.
Please join us in contacting our State Senators (again) ASAP.
We believe that Pride — observed this month to mark the Stonewall Uprising of June 28th, 1969 — is both a celebration and a call to action. We delight in the size and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community while coalescing around the struggle for justice.
52 years ago, this meant rapidly organizing to protect LGBTQ+ communities against violence at the hands of authorities. Continue reading
Voting resumed at the State Capitol this week after a long deadlock over the state budget.
This was an intense week. The majority party pushed through a budget that was neither discussed with nor vetted with the rest of the Legislature. This included several pieces of contentious Christian nationalist legislation that had previously failed as individual bills. Continue reading
Last week, the US Supreme Court once again ruled in favor of forcing Americans to fund religious organizations — and handed those organizations another special license to discriminate. Continue reading