Overheard (Jan/Feb 2022)

Those who have accused right-wing justices of seeking to impose one strain of Christian doctrine on the rest of the country sadly have been proved correct.

Jennifer Rubin, in her column “The Supreme Court faces an existential crisis of legitimacy” following the oral arguments regarding Mississippi’s abortion law.

Washington Post, 12-3-21

We believe in the separation of church and state because it requires religions to obey laws enacted by the state instead of allowing religions to hold everyone to their own religious laws.

. . . Whether it leads to theocracy or balkanization, the creeping fusion of church and state is disastrous for the public good.

Attorney Marci A. Hamilton, author of God vs. the Gavel, and law professor Leslie C. Griffin, in their op-ed “Why we still like separation of church and state.”

Verdict.com, 12-13-21

I believe the church is actively and currently doing harm in the world. The church leadership is not honest about its history, its finances, and its advocacy. I believe the Mormon church has hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights.

Billionaire Jeff T. Green, the wealthiest person in Utah, in his resignation letter from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  

Salt Lake Tribune, 12-20-21

I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control.

Anne Rice, who died Dec. 11, 2021, writing in 2010 when she announced she was no longer a Christian.

Associated Press, 12-13-21

Call me one of the intolerant. That’s what I am. I will not coddle willful ignorance anymore. I will not indulge the fool’s errand of ‘I’m still doing my own research’ anymore, either. . . . I am furious at the unvaccinated, and I am not ashamed of disclosing that. I am no longer trying to understand them or educate them.

Charles Blow, in his op-ed, “I’m furious at the unvaccinated.” 

The New York Times, 12-8-21

Even if courts were to interpret that law as being enforceable, as attorney general, I would not use the resources of the Wisconsin Department of Justice either to investigate alleged violations of that abortion ban or to prosecute alleged violations of it.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, on Wisconsin’s ban on abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Wisconsin State Journal, 12-15-21

If the unaffiliated were a religion, they’d be the largest religious group in the United States.

Elizabeth Drescher, an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University, who wrote the book, Choosing our Religion, about the spiritual lives of the Nones.

Associated Press, 12-14-21

There’s less stigma attached to being an atheist. It’s revealing of what’s been there for a long time, rather than a big shift. People may not have answered honestly 20, 30 years ago.

Ryan Burge, assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University, on the results of the latest Pew Research Center showing fewer people are religious than ever before.

Religion News Service. 12-14-21

[Rep. Kat] Cammack, [Rep. Madison] Cawthorn and others who believe in the beforelife seem to think of embryos with the potential to become people as beings (“eternal souls,” “little girls”) who should have choice and do have feelings. They — and indeed everyone who asks how abortion advocates would feel if they had been aborted, as if unborn people hover about ruing their nonexistence — remind us that religion is driving our abortion debate. Religion — not reason and not compassion for people who already exist in this earthly realm.

Kate Cohen, in her op-ed, “‘How would you feel if your mother had aborted you?’ Easy. I’d feel nothing.”

Washington Post, 12-16-21

Until now, when Americans have found themselves wrestling with questions about church-and-state matters, the Supreme Court usually, but not always, was the guardian of separation. Today’s conservative justices, however, appear likely to trash that noble heritage of the court.

Editorial, “Supreme Court poised to trample the separation of church and state.”

Las Vegas Sun, 12-17-21

Some of the anti-vaxxers here in this chamber remind me of what happened 400 years ago when people were clinging to the fact that the sun revolved around the Earth. They just didn’t believe science. Or 500 years ago when they were sure the Earth was flat.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, castigating those in the Senate who narrowly voted for a resolution against the Biden administration’s requirement that business with 100 or more workers mandate vaccinations.

Los Angeles Times, 12/8/21