Three Stooges Skit or DVUSD Study Session: Why Pick Just One?

Black and white image of Curley of the Three Stooges

Happy September, Secular Fam! We are one month into the school year here in Arizona, and the school board meetings for this 2023-2024 school year have thus far consisted of conspiracy theories, racism, bad boardsmanship, and bigotry.

Today, I’m offering up a recap of a study session in Deer Valley (DVUSD). For those who may not be up to snuff on all things School Board, a study session is a public meeting where school boards and staff can discuss issues happening in their district to learn more about them (hence the word “study”).

During my time on a local school board, we had study sessions about school safety, strategic planning, and board member behaviors. I’m a big fan of study sessions, and always welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with fellow board members.

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



Secular Activist Lady Goes to the Peoria City Council Meeting

You know, I have friends who basically only focus on national and international politics, and sometimes when they share the latest headlines with me, they’re surprised at my ignorance of whatever said headline was.

But that’s because I’m HYPER focused on what happens in my own backyard.

I believe we all should be.

So that’s why, this week, I decided to take a detour off the beaten path of school board meeting monitoring to talk about what’s going on with the Peoria City Council. Anyone who reads this Substack knows how deeply I care about public education. I care so deeply, I subject myself to board meetings all across Arizona.

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



Law, God & Attacks on Women

The state of women’s rights today is pretty grim. One woman in Nebraska has gone to jail for self-aborting. Nineteen Republican attorneys general are seeking women’s medical records to ascertain if they sneaked out of state to have an abortion.

But this isn’t exactly new: Treating women badly has a long legacy.

In her book, The Burning Time, Robin Morgan outlines just one case from the Inquisition, an era in which the Catholic Church attacked women with a vengeance.

For 300 years, from the 16th into the 18th centuries, women were accused as witches and put on “trial” – a no-win situation where if you were innocent, you died and if you were guilty, you were murdered.

Click here to read this post on Secular AZ’s Substack. 


Supreme Court (Cult?) Opinions 2023

The Supreme Cult has continued its attack on the underpinnings of democracy in this just finished session. We dodged a fatal bullet in the “independent legislature” nonsense and got unexpected positive rulings in the Indian Child Welfare Act and gerrymandering cases.

But we got the expected negative rulings on affirmative action and student debt. Two religious privilege cases were on the agenda, and both gave special privileges to those who claim religion as an excuse to harm other people.

In Groff v. DeJoy a rural postal carrier argued that he should be able to take all Sundays off because of his religious practice as an evangelical. To allow him to do so meant that other employees would be forced to take Sunday shifts to cover for him.

A written agreement outlined how employees are chosen to work on Sunday to deliver Amazon packages. He fell into the third category of employees compelled to work on a rotating basis.

To accommodate him, others — including the postmaster who normally did not deliver mail — did the work or it was assigned to the regional hub for other carriers. Several grumbled; one filed a written complaint. Groff received progressive discipline for failing to work and then in 2019 he resigned.

Read the rest of this article on Secular AZ’s Substack

The Startling Truth About Religious Refusals: What Your Healthcare Providers Aren’t Telling You

The intersection of law, medicine and so-called “morality” in the U.S. healthcare system poses a serious threat to patients’ access to healthcare and information. That’s the overarching message sent by a panel of experts in medicine and law we convened in December of 2021. As part of our annual Secular Summit event, Secular AZ organized a discussion on refusals of service based on religious beliefs, featuring the following experts and moderated by Secular AZ Legal Director Dianne Post:

  • Atsuko Koyama, MD, MPH, Clinical Asst Professor University of AZ, COM, Creighton University; Dpt of Child Health and Emergency Medicine, Valleywise Health Medical Center
  • Professor Elizabeth Sepper, Professor of Law at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. DeShawn Taylor, MD, MSc, FACOG, board-certified OB/GYN, clinical professor, and owner of Desert Star Family Planning in Phoenix

You can see the full video here. Let’s summarize what these experts working in the fields of medicine and law have to say about how refusals of service based on religious beliefs affect patients.

Continue reading

On Pride

Intersectionality is at the heart of activism.

That’s why we’re taking this month to commemorate June 28, 1969 — the day police raided the Stonewall Inn, a New York meeting place for LGBTQ+ people. When police demanded to do “sex verification” checks on trans women, a spontaneous protest erupted — led by trans women of color like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. Continue reading