Overheard (June/July 2019)

In this country, citing religious or spiritual convictions is often a surefire way to get out of doing something you’re required by law to do. . . . It’s time to stop giving believers a pass just because their beliefs happen to run counter to the laws of the nation they live in.

Margaret Renkl, op-ed contributor, in her column, “We are taking religious freedom too far.”

The New York Times, 5-6-19


Bring it, Bible Bullies! You are bigots, sexists, and misogynists and I see right through your fake morals and your broken values.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims, in a tweet, after confronting protesters outside Planned Parenthood.

Twitter, 5-5-19


It’s a uniquely American problem. No other country has this kind of carnage. We are not going to give thoughts and prayers, which to me is just bullshit.

Sen. Cory Booker, to David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” saying that gun reform needs to be taken seriously.

CNN, 5-12-19


I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque — but not in Congress. What Republicans are doing is using God.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, chair of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, after the House removed the phrase “So help me God” from oaths.

The New York Times, 5-11-19


Session after session, we end up entertaining legislation that sends a message to my LGBT staff members. . . .They feel they’re coming under attack for who they are. So, the question I have is: What do you say to them? Do you think Chick-fil-A needs more protection from us than our constituents who have a history of being discriminated against?

Texas state Sen. José Menéndez, during discussion of a religious liberty bill that would outlaw government retaliation against someone based on his or her association with or support of a religious organization. Proponents labeled the proposal the “Save Chick-fil-A Bill,” in reference to a provision that would allow the Texas attorney general to sue San Antonio for excluding the Christian-owned chicken franchise from its airport. The bill passed 19-12.

Texas Tribune, 5-15-19


The very fact that the Treasury Department and religious organizations claimed in their amicus briefs that “the survival of many congregations hangs in the balance” of the validity of the parsonage exemption is further proof that §107 functions as an active subsidy of religion.

Professors Bridget J. Crawford and Emily Gold Waldman of the Pace University School of Law, in a paper for the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law Online, on why the 7th Circuit’s unanimous judgment against FFRF was wrong.

The Friendly Atheist, 5-16-19


Clericalism, with its cult of secrecy, its theological misogyny, its sexual repressiveness, and its hierarchical power based on threats of a doom-laden afterlife, is at the root of Roman Catholic dysfunction. . . . Clericalism is both the underlying cause and the ongoing enabler of the present Catholic catastrophe.

James Carroll, a former Catholic priest, in his story “Abolish the Priesthood.”

The Atlantic, June issue


If we don’t want religious people on the right employing explicitly religious arguments for wielding power because of the separation of church and state, then why should we want someone on the left doing the same thing?

Justin DaMetz, graduate in theology and ethics from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, in an op-ed on Pete Buttigieg’s faith and how it has taken center stage in his presidential run.

Washington Post, 5-20-19