Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015 Legislative Preview in Review

State Senator Anastasia Pittman and AUOK VP Aimee Breeze


The Oklahoma Chapter of Americans United met this morning to discuss the bills we will be tracking this year. Here is the current list:

  • Bill of Rights Monument Display Act - SB14
  • Marriage licensing bills - HB1125, HB1007
  • Anti-equality bills: HB1597HB1598HB1599
  • Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act - SB21
  • Oklahoma Science Education Act - SB665

As of right now, all of these bill are in the earliest stages, but we will keep you updated as they progress through the legislative process.



Monday, October 6, 2014

SCOTUS Made Right Call on Same-Gender Marriage

clip “Opponents of same-sex marriage have no arguments other than appeals to books they deem sacred or the pronouncements of religious authorities,” Lynn added. “That’s not good enough in a nation based on the separation of church and state.”


 https://au.org/media/press-releases/supreme-court-made-the-right-call-on-marriage-cases-says-americans-united

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jim Huff's Mustang School Bible Course Power-point Slides

Below are the slides of Jim Huff's power-point presentation regarding the Mustang Public School's proposed bible study class developed and paid for by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby.

Clicking inside each photo will enlarge them.


























Monday, September 8, 2014

Listen to an interview with our annual meeting guest, Rob Boston




This audio interview is but a sample. It was conducted by our AU chapter treasurer, Damion 

Reinhart,  and secretary, Chas Stewart.  


Rob will be in person to discuss the hot-button issues  and  to answer your questions. 

 Copies of his book will be available for sale and autographing.

Membership is not required.  This is open to the public.


The 2014 Annual Membership meeting of the Oklahoma City chapter of Americans United 

for Separation of Church & State will be held on Wednesday, September 17, featuring 

National Americans United Communications Director, Rob Boston.

The event will be held at Belle Isle Library from 7 - 9 p.m.

5501 N. Villa Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73112. at the corner of N. Villa and NW Highway, one-half mile west of Penn Square Mall.

In his new book, Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do, Boston says, “it’s time to restore the real meaning of religious freedom: It means you get to make decisions for yourself, not anyone else.”

Covering issues like same-sex marriage, access to contraceptives, religion in public education and censorship, Taking Liberties is a much-needed broadside against the Religious Right's reckless attempt to meddle in our personal lives.

Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public. For more information visit www.robertboston.com orwww.okau.org,

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/oklahoma-atheists-godcast

#106 - Rob Boston

2 days ago56 minutes

Chas and Damion in conversation with Rob Boston, author of several books about the efforts of the Religious Right to roll back religious freedom for others while writing their own doctrines into law. Rob will be visiting OKC on Sep 17th to talk about his new book, Taking Liberties. For more information visit

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Monument Moving...at least in Court

The author standing beside the contested monument pointing out areas of  corrected spelling
Photo courtesy of David Glover


Dr. Bruce Prescott, along with Jim Huff, was a founding member of the Oklahoma City chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church & State (www.au.org).  Both men are among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Oklahoma affiliate to challenge the placement of the alleged privately-funded Ten Commandments monument on the north side of the Capitol Building.

Here is a link posted by Bruce on his blog containing a portion of his affidavit filed this week in Oklahoma County District Court.

http://okfaith.blogspot.com/2014/08/oklahoma-ten-commandments-monument.html

Though atheist myself I can sympathize with the diminution of religious belief conveyed by secular courts as outlined in paragraph 7 of the affidavit:

7.      Many Baptists, as well as many other people of faith -- Jewish, Christian and Muslim -- continue to affirm that the Ten Commandments are properly understood to be the terms of a religious covenant between God and people of faith.   Among them some, like myself, are horrified when attempts are made to have secular courts of law rule that the terms of this sacred and holy covenant no longer have any religious significance and meaning.   In the long run, I believe the effect of such rulings serves to undermine sincere faith by trivializing the value of religious covenants.

This additional link from the ACLU of Oklahoma frames the argument being made for removing the monument from public property:

http://acluok.org/2013/08/aclu-of-oklahoma-challenges-state-capitol-ten-commandments-monument/

“The monument’s placement at the Capitol has created a more divisive and hostile state for many Oklahomans,” said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma’s Executive Director. “When the government literally puts one faith on a pedestal, it sends a strong message to Oklahomans of other faiths that they are less than equal.” 

The lawsuit, filed in Oklahoma County District Court, seeks to have the religious monument removed, citing the constitutional prohibition on using state property to support particular religions or sects.
Author's note:  All comments and excerpts are chosen by me and should  be read as reflecting my views.

Friday, August 22, 2014

AU Welcomes Obama Administration’s Fix On Birth Control Access


Americans United Welcomes Obama Administration’s Fix On Birth Control Access

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Latest Effort At Accommodation May Not Resolve Controversy


“At some point,” Lynn said, “we must face that fact that this debate is not about ‘religious liberty.’ It is about certain religious groups trying to impose their out-of-touch theology on unwilling American workers and students.”
 
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today expressed support for new regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that are intended to ensure workers’ access to birth control.
 
The Obama administration issued the regulations in response to ongoing legal action by for-profit corporations and religious non-profit groups arguing that they have religiously based objections to contraceptives.
 
Under the new rules, groups that wish to opt-out of providing birth control to their employees must notify HHS via a letter stating their objection. The federal government will then arrange for a third-party insurer to provide birth control coverage at no cost to the employer.
 
The administration is also soliciting comments on how best to deal with ensuring birth control access for people who work at closely-held corporations, such as Hobby Lobby stores.
 
“Americans rely on access to safe and affordable forms of birth control,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “It’s unfortunate that the administration has had to jump through so many hoops to meet the demands of ultra-conservative religious groups that refuse to accept cultural realities.”
 
Lynn said the latest accommodation, while well-intentioned, may not resolve the matter. Some fundamentalist Christian groups and the Roman Catholic bishops, he asserted, are determined to deny access to birth control to as many Americans as possible.
 
“At some point,” Lynn said, “we must face that fact that this debate is not about ‘religious liberty.’ It is about certain religious groups trying to impose their out-of-touch theology on unwilling American workers and students.”
 
Americans United is currently representing three graduate students at the University of Notre Dame whose access to birth control has been threatened because of university policies opposing contraceptives.

https://au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-welcomes-obama-administration-s-fix-on-birth-control-access

  
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rob Boston of National AU Will be Guest Speaker for OKC Annual Meeting


Monday, July 21, 2014

Separating Mustang from the Maverick: Religious Education or Proselyting?


Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustang_horse

 Religious Education or Proselyting?


Readers,

I'm sure many of you have been following the rise of Hobby Lobby and its owners, the Green family.  The recent Supreme Court decision that allows corporations to discriminate against women  based on the religious viewpoints of the owners has made and will continue to make headlines for at least a generation.

In addition to its corporate actions, the Green family is also moving into the public schools with plans for bible classes to teach as they say, the history of the bible.

There are many people who see this plan as a smokescreen for advancing a particular religious viewpoint rather than teaching a generalized history of religion.   

The Mustang public school system adopted a bible class developed by the Green Family Scholars into its curriculum this year.

This adoption has been approved under some doubt as to whether the school board met legally in accordance with Oklahoma's open meeting law.

Jim Huff, one of the co-founders of the OKC chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church & State (okau.org, au.org), has a well-developed radar for spotting shady deals that threaten the respect for religion in a public tax-payer supported school that must accommodate a variety of religious backgrounds.

Mr Huff will be presenting a public discussion this coming Tuesday, July 22, 6:00 pm at the Mustang Public Library that will investigate.what is legal and illegal regarding the teaching  of religion in public schools.   

With his life-long study of religious history from around the world Mr. Huff's presentation will answer many of the questions you might have as well as opening new threads of conversation about the always hot topic of religious observance in America.

These links will give additional information about the developing controversy in Mustang, Oklahoma.


Did the Mustang School Board meet outside the legal guidelines of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Law:

Washington Post story:
http://tinyurl.com/nmn2byo
clip  "...when the Mustang school board made 220 pages of the book public, church-state experts suggested that its claims and assumptions amounted to teaching the Bible from a particular religious perspective, which the Supreme Court has banned in public schools."
Directions to Mustang Public Library:
map link---  http://tinyurl.com/lan4syj

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Okie Senate candidate wants return to "biblical principles"



Playing to his audience recently in Tulsa, U.S. Senate candidate T. W. Shannon told a Christian business group that  he thinks “God is raising up ... a new generation of leaders to return to biblical principles.”  Modestly, he did not say explicitly that this generation includes him.  Maybe God will send YOU a whisper in your ear late at night letting you know if you're in the included or excluded generation. Lay flat on our back so both ears will be available.

"Biblical principles" mean multiple wives at the SAME TIME, right? Just like Solomon. And think of all the money that will be saved on medical costs when doctors use spit and dirt to heal disease. Just like Jesus did. And who's going to work out the crop rotation in the farm bills because farmers will be required to let their fields lie fallow every seventh year. Red Lobster restaurants will have to close because all that shell fish will be forbidden. Banks will be forbidden to charge interest on loans. How's that going to work out? Tattoo parlors will be put out of business as tattoos are forbidden under "biblical principle".

The stone suppliers and wall building businesses should see a rise in sales as those items will become the capitol punishment replacement for lethal injection and firing squad.

The sabbath day will be moved from the daylight hours of Sunday to sunset Friday to sunset Saturday just like in "biblical principle" times.

How will flat-earth Okies who crave a return to "biblical principles" with the same desire  they crave regularity in their digestive elimination justify any votes for T. W. Shannon since this man is of even more mixed race heritage than President Obama who is at least half-white?  Shannon is some white, some black, AND some native American via the Chickasaw tribe.
Shall I go on?

http://tinyurl.com/n6qfrju

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/2014_elections/shannon-advocates-eliminating-minimum-wage/article_81693c70-d509-5b7c-8dba-636e059c870e.html?utm_content=buffer6351f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer