Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Informative follow-up Discussion About the Legislative Preview


The link above will play the audio of an informative discussion of the bills discussed during our 2012 Legislative Preview.   Going into more detail then we had the time for on Saturday, the discussion gives the viewpoints of three activists concerned about the encroachment on constitutional freedoms concerning the separation of church and state.

This discussion is NOT representing the viewpoints of either the Oklahoma City chapter specifically or the National office in Washington, DC, in general and is offered only for listeners as a supplement to use as they wish.

I have listened to the complete recording and find it useful for adult listeners.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Program and Bill numbers -- Protecting Religion from Itself

Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Oklahoma City Chapter

Third Annual Legislative Preview
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Senate Chamber, Oklahoma Capitol Building
2300 N. Lincoln
10:00am to 12:00pm

Protecting Religion From Itself

James Nimmo, communications chair
Overview of Thomas Jefferson's
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786

John Loghry, chapter president


Dr. Victor Hutchison
George Lynn Cross Research Professor, University of Oklahoma, retired
SB 1742, Oklahoma Science Education Act, Sen. Brecheen
HB 1001, Religious Viewpoints Anti-discrimination Act, Rep. Reynolds

Aimee Breeze, chapter secretary
additional comments on SB 1742 and HB 1001

Damion Reinhardt, chapter treasurer
SJR 23, Constitutional Amendment repealing Article II, sec. 5, relating to the use of public money or property for sectarian purposes, Sen. Anderson
HJR 1081, Constitutional Amendment repealing Article II, sec. 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution, Rep. Nelson
SB 1266, Income tax, providing deductions for certain full-time students, Sen. Sparks
explanation of Blaine Amendments

Mike Fuller, immediate past president
SB 1433, Unborn children, creating the Personhood Act, Sen. Crain and Billy
SB 1692, Prohibiting the State from funding or contracting with entities that perform abortions, Sen. Sykes
HJR 1067, Prohibiting intentional killing of any innocent person, Rep. Reynolds

Oklahoma City group wants state legislators to keep church, state matters separate


Measures that would grant “personhood” status to a human embryo, make it illegal for public money to go to Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups, and allow religion in public schools should be defeated or not even taken up, a group of concerned residents said Saturday.
“Our feeling is that the best way to maintain religious freedom for all persons is to maintain separation,” said John Loghry, chapter president. “A lot of this legislation introduces religious bias or otherwise imposes a specific religious viewpoint into our civil law.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

OKC chapter president on KTOK TALK RADIO

The Oklahoma City chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church & State has been invited to have its president, John Loghry,  be a guest on the "The Gwin Faulconer-Lippert Show" with Gwin Louise Faulconer-Lippert , on Oklahoma City station KTOK, AM1000.

Call 405-840-1000 or Star 1000 to join Gwin as she discusses with John the hot topic of separation of church and state plus some of the recently filed bills in the Oklahoma State Legislature that could impact the civil rights of everyone.

You can listen live at the website, http://www.ktok.com/main.html

Mr. Loghry's segment is scheduled from 8:05pm to 8:30pm, CST, Sunday, January 22, 2012.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Americans United Hails Supreme Court Refusal To Intervene In North Carolina Prayer Case

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Government Should Never Show Favoritism Toward One Religion

The U.S. Supreme Court today announced that it will not intervene in a controversy over sectarian prayer before meetings of the Forsyth County, N.C., Board of Commissioners.

The justices’ action leaves in place an appellate court decision barring the county from regularly opening its meetings with Christian invocations.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, one of the groups sponsoring the lawsuit, said the high court was right not to intervene.

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “When government meetings are opened regularly with Christian prayer, it sends the unmistakable message that non-Christians are second-class citizens in their own community. That’s unconstitutional, and it’s just plain wrong.

“All Americans ought to feel welcome at governmental meetings,” he continued. “The Constitution clearly forbids government to play favorites when it comes to religion.”

The record in the Joyner v. Forsyth County case indicates that 26 of the 33 invocations given from May 29, 2007, until Dec. 15, 2008, contained at least one reference to Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, Savior or the Trinity.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Janet Joyner and Constance Lynn Blackmon, two county residents and members of the Winston-Salem Chapter of Americans United. They are being represented by Americans United and the ACLU of North Carolina.

On July 29, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the county’s prayer practice is unconstitutional.
"Faith is as deeply important as it is deeply personal,” wrote Judge J. Harvey Wilkinson, “and the government should not appear to suggest that some faiths have it wrong and others got it right."

Americans United Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan said the appeals court came to the correct conclusion.
“America is extremely diverse when it comes to religious opinion and government must respect that diversity,” Khan said. “Government preference for one faith over others is a recipe for social discord.”
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.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom

“[T]hat no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief: but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

— Thomas Jefferson, The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, enacted on January 16, 1786

Courtesy of Freedom from Religion Foundation, http://www.ffrf.org/

Friday, January 13, 2012

Romney's careful - and lengthy - response to the question never mentioned Mormonism.


clip  Mitt Romney, one of two Mormon candidates in the Republican presidential field, was pressed about his faith by a woman who attended his veteran's event here.

He was asked to expand on his faith by a woman who asked him: "Do you believe in the divine saving grace of Jesus Christ?"

"Yes, I do," Romney responded.  "I would hope that there are people in our nation that have different beliefs.  There are people of the Jewish faith and the Islamic faith and other faiths who believe other things, and our president will be president of the people of all faiths," he said.

"We welcome people of other faiths. I happen to believe that Jesus Christ is the sone of God and my savior, but I know other people have differing views and I respect those views,and I don't believe those qualify or disqualify people for leadership in our nation," he said.

Romney's careful - and lengthy - response to the question never mentioned Mormonism.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Americans United Expresses Disappointment Over Supreme Court Ruling Granting Religious Groups Broad Right To Discriminate


Church-State Watchdog Says ‘Ministerial Exception’ Has Been Taken Too Far

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today expressed disappointment over a Supreme Court decision that affirms the right of religious groups to ignore anti-discrimination laws in some cases.

The high court today handed down a ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case dealt with a Michigan religious school that fired a teacher because of a medical condition.

“Blatant discrimination is a social evil we have worked hard to eradicate in the United States,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “I’m afraid the court’s ruling today will make it harder to combat.” 

Americans United had filed a friend-of-the-court brief noting that religious organizations have long had the right to limit employment to people who share their theology when those employees have clear religious duties – a concept known as the “ministerial exception.” But, AU asserted, some courts have taken this concept too far.

Today’s decision, AU says, reinforces that unfortunate trend. Under the ruling, AU says, a house of worship would have the right to fire a minister for reasons completely unrelated to religion. A pastor who objected to being sexually harassed, for example, could be fired for raising that issue and have no recourse in the courts.

“Clergy who are fired for reasons unrelated to matters of theology – no matter how capricious or venal those reasons may be – have just had the courthouse door slammed in their faces,” Lynn said.

The AU brief urged the Supreme Court not to deny judicial access to Americans who face discrimination by religious groups for reasons unrelated to theology. (Other organizations signing the brief are the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, the ACLU of Michigan, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Sikh Council on Religion and Education and the Unitarian Universalist Association.)
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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Americans United Welcomes Appeals Court Decision Blocking Oklahoma Anti-Sharia Amendment

Americans United Welcomes Appeals Court Decision Blocking Oklahoma Anti-Sharia Amendment

Church-State Watchdog Group Says First Amendment Is All We Need To Protect Against Religious Law


Americans United for Separation of Church and State today hailed a federal appellate court ruling against an Oklahoma constitutional amendment that bars Islamic law in the state.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling issuing an injunction blocking implementation of the so-called “Save Our State” amendment. The amendment was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters in 2010, even though there is no drive to impose sharia in the state.
“This amendment is divisive, unnecessary and dangerous,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. “I’m glad to see it go.”

A lawsuit against the amendment was filed by Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma Council for American-Islamic Relations, along with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Americans United signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief, drafted by the American Jewish Committee, arguing that the amendment is unconstitutional because it singles out Muslims for derogatory treatment. The Anti-Defamation League, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, the Center for Islamic Pluralism, the Interfaith Alliance and the Union for Reform Judaism joined AU on the brief.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled unanimously against the amendment.

“Appellants do not identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve,” wrote Judge Scott M. Matheson for the unanimous court. “Indeed, they admitted at the preliminary injunction hearing that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.”
AU’s Lynn said the court made the right call in the Awad v. Ziriax case.

“The First Amendment protects Americans from government imposition of religious law, whether it be Islamic, Christian or something else,” Lynn said. “This amendment is simply an excuse for Islam bashing, and it’s an embarrassment to the state.”
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, January 4, 2012

Institute of Interfaith Dialog Lunch Invitation

From all of us at the Institute of Interfaith Dialog, best wishes of this joyous season! May health, happiness and prosperity be yours in bountiful measure in the New Year. 

The Institute of Interfaith Dialog Oklahoma Chapter is delighted to inform you that reputable writer Charles Kimball will be our guest speaker at 11:45am to 1:00pm on Wednesday, January 25th at Raindrop Turkish House. 

Dr. Charles Kimball will sign his new book, WHEN RELIGION BECOMES LETHAL. He is Presidential Professor and Director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. Between 1996 and 2008, he served as Chair of the Department of Religion and the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.   We kindly request that you to return RSVP due to the limited number of seats available, if you would like to participate the event. 
Yours sincerely,
Orhan Kucukosman
The Institute of Interfaith Dialog

An example of defying the IRS 501(c)3 guidelines?

From: juicerlady@hotmail.com
Sent: 1/3/2012 12:14:54 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Frontier Country aka Liberty Republican Women meet Mon., Jan. 9
*****Frontier Country Republican Women voted December 12, AD 2011 to change our name.*****
LIBERTY REPUBLICAN WOMEN (awaiting approval) 
INVITE YOU (monthly, 2nd Monday) 


(this will be a vacant seat by term limited Rep. Purcy Walker (D)) 
Dan Fisher has spoken at many events.  Example, Dan delivered an energetic address, “Silencing Christianity in America” that described how Christians had become politically incorrect and, in some instances, Christians were declared a potential terrorist threat. Fisher gave example after example of Christians being persecuted in America. The pastor described how some are fighting back by showing that the First Amendment has been so twisted to exclude God from government, and along with that, morality of the populace. Pastor Fisher discussed the need for pastors to once again lead their flocks into the heat of battle to help right this wrong.

  • We welcome our new Liberty RW 2012 officers: 
Mitzi Smith is secretary (executive recorder), Jan Collins is treasurer (financial executive), Connie Maxwell is 2nd vice president (club growth and door prize), Rep. Sally Kern is 1st vice president (procurement of speakers) and Judy Wesselhoft is president (custodian/overseer).  Mega-dittos, Sally, on the procurement your first speaker of 2012 for Liberty RW.

  • Liberty Republican Women seek to recruit others to our club.  Please forward this invitationWe must remove Obama from office!!! 

  • OFRW (OK Federation of Republican Women) have the quarterly board meeting in OKC at the Embassy Suites on S. Meridian, 8 am-3 pm, January 21, AD 2012.   Registration by January 14 of $25 (includes lunch) to Alice Boydston, 14915 W. 56th, Mulhall, OK 73063, 405-649-2566, 405-747-6370 (cell), brshpile@gmail.com.

  • Dates for the Calendar:  
OK Presidential Preferential Primary, March 6, AD 2012
Candidate Filing, W, TH, F April 11-13, AD 2012
Primary Election, June 26, AD 2012
Runoff Primary Election, August 28, AD 2012
General Election, November 6, AD 2012
www.ok.gov/elections/  for additional information

  • Oklahoma GOP State Convention, May 12, AD 2012   Place: Norman, OK Embassy Suites (East of I-35 ~Robinson exit?)

  • 2011 Liberty RW president, Meredith Dake is on the job with Andrew Breitbart organization (www.breitbart.com) at the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primaries.   Come, hear the interesting updates from Susie Dake of Meredith's assignments.

For more information contact:
Judy Wesselhoft, president Liberty Republican Women

On Guard In Oklahoma: When Defending Church-State Separation In A Challenging Area, Diversity Is A Plus


EXCERPTS:  When it comes to separation of church and state, some states present more of a challenge than others.
Oklahoma is one of the more challenging states.
Oklahoma is not easy. That’s all the more reason for Americans United and its allies to keep working there. The good people I met on Thursday night are leading the way.

They’ve already seen some victories. The creationism bill that was introduced earlier this year did not pass. The American Civil Liberties Union went to court and won a judgment against a Ten Commandments display in Haskell County. A federal court invalidated the anti-shariah amendment to the state constitution.

The Religious Right is dogged and determined. So are we who defend the separation of church and state – and we’ve got something they don’t: religious and philosophical diversity. It’s our not-so-secret weapon that will help us win.
I know that Oklahomans will face many more challenges when it comes to separation of church and state. I also know that the people I met there will rise up to meet them. And I know, even though it will take some time, the ultimate victory will be theirs.

Rob Boston is senior policy analyst at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Rob, who has worked at Americans United since 1987, also serves as assistant editor of AU's "Church & State" magazine. Rob is the author of three books: "Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics" (Prometheus Books, 2000); "The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition" (Prometheus Books, 1996) and "Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State" (Prometheus Books, 1993; second edition, 2003).

Read the rest at:  http://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/on-guard-in-oklahoma-when-defending-church-state-separation-in-a