Blog posts tagged in Religious Liberty
GREENSBORO – Today the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a preliminary injunction in Lund, et al. v. Rowan County, ordering the Rowan County Board of Commissioners to immediately cease its practice of opening government meetings with unconstitutional prayers specific to one religion.
In its ruling, the Court prohibited the County from “knowingly and/or intentionally delivering or allowing to be delivered sectarian prayers” at official Board meetings.
The injunction comes four months after the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Rowan County residents demanding that the Rowan County Board of Commissioners stop its unconstitutional practice of opening government meetings with prayers that are specific to one religion.
RALEIGH – The North Carolina House of Representatives today approved a sweeping bill that would restrict access to abortion care for many women in North Carolina. H.B. 730 would allow public hospital employees to refuse to participate in abortion care if they object to such practices on religious or moral grounds, prohibit local governments from offering health plans that include abortion coverage to employees, and prohibit health care plans offered through the exchange under the Affordable Care Act from offering coverage for elective abortion procedures. The bill now heads to the Senate.
In response, the ACLU of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) released the following statement:
“This bill is just the latest example of politicians trying to take away women’s ability to make their own personal medical decisions,” said Sarah Preston, ACLU-NC Policy Director. “The provisions dealing with so-called ‘conscious’ protections turn the entire definition of religious liberty on its head. True religious liberty means that every individual has the right to make deeply personal decisions – including medical decisions – for themselves, based on their own beliefs. It does not mean that politicians or hospital workers get to force their own views on women by restricting their options on matters as personal and critical as reproductive health care. We urge the Senate to reject H.B. 730.”
RALEIGH – A bill that would allow public hospital employees to refuse to participate in abortion care and private employers to deny contraception coverage to women because of their personal religious beliefs was approved by North Carolina House Judiciary Committee A today.
House Bill 730 now heads to the full House for a vote. In response, the ACLU of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) released the following statement:
“This bill would undermine a woman’s ability to make personal medical decisions and is the opposite of religious liberty,” said Sarah Preston, ACLU-NC Policy Director. “Politicians, employers, and hospital workers should not be allowed to force their personal religious views on women of different beliefs by making it harder for them to receive comprehensive and sometimes life-saving health care. We urge lawmakers to stand up for women and their right to make their own personal medical decisions by opposing House Bill 730.”
Should local officials be able to start their meetings with prayers that endorse a particular faith? North Carolina State Rep. Michele Presnell thinks so, with one tiny caveat: the faith endorsed must be her own. When asked by one of her constituents whether she would be comfortable with a prayer to Allah before a public meeting, Presnell responded, "No, I do not condone terrorism."
Despite the disturbing anti-Islamic bigotry in her statement, this illustrates the problem with these religion-specific prayers: someone is always going to be excluded or offended by them, and they can't possibly account for everyone's beliefs.
No one should be made to feel like a second-class citizen by his or her own local government, but for the past six years the Rowan County Board of Commissioners have sidelined and excluded Americans of other faiths through the systematic use of prayers specific to only one religion – Christianity.