Taking god off US currency

Michael Newdow is the atheist who at one time argued before the US Supreme Court that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance that school children say in school violated the Establishment Clause and was thus unconstitutional. The court ruled against him on a technicality that he was at the time not the legal custodian of his daughter, the one in whose name the suit was brought, and thus lacked standing. His later attempts to rectify that issue by representing other children did not succeed at the Appeals Court level and he gave up on it.
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School tries to punish off-campus student speech

Growing up in Sri Lanka, I went to a private school that had rules for how one should behave and what one could do even outside of school hours and off school property. For example, one could not go to see films on weekdays because one was supposed to be studying and not indulging in such frivolous behavior. My parents ignored this rule because I was doing well in school anyway.
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Same sex marriage is not legal everywhere in the US

After the US Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, I assumed that it was now legal everywhere within the US. But it turns out that I was wrong because I had not realized that since the tribal lands are sovereign, the US constitution does not apply within their boundaries and eleven of them continue to outlaw such unions
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Two welcome decisions by the US Supreme Court

The foes of the right to abortions have used the heavily and misleadingly edited videos produced by a group called the Center for Medical Progress to fuel anger at Planned Parenthood and other women’s health groups that conduct abortions as part of their services. Carly Fiorina was one of those who further embellished what she had purportedly seen on the videos, claiming to have seen things that were not there. These actions have led to a spike in threats of violent actions against abortion providers.
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The heckler’s veto

As the election season gets into full gear, we are seeing more and more hecklers at rallies and meetings. How to deal with hecklers poses a tricky issue for democracies that value free speech and the right to demonstrate. If a person is speaking at a public event, to what extent does that person have a right to be allowed to speak undisturbed? To what extent do those who disagree with the speaker have the right to make their protest heard?
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Religious demands for special treatment get even more extreme

It looks like the publicity surrounding Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis’s claims that her private religious beliefs should allow her to disobey any law she thinks is wrong has encouraged other crazies to adopt her attitude and demand that their ‘freedom of religion’ means that their religious practices and privileges take precedence over everything else and everybody else’s rights.
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Big Mountain Jesus can stay

I came across this interesting story about a lawsuit against a statue of Jesus on a ski slope on a mountain in Montana, a statue that has come to be known as Big Mountain Jesus. Back in 1953, the US Forest Service issued a permit to the Catholic group Knights of Columbus to construct a 6 foot statue of Jesus on a 6 foot high base (now known as Big Mountain Jesus) on federal land that had been leased to a private ski resort. During winter, the base is usually covered in snow, with just the statue sticking up.
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Get rid of the monument already!

It turns out that despite repeated defeats in the courts, Oklahoma has still not removed the Ten Commandments from the grounds of its capital building. The appeal by the state’s governor Mary Fallin to the state Supreme Court was rejected on July 27. Fallin then said that she had not received a direct order (from her god perhaps?) to remove the statue, clearly a stalling tactic to avoid taking any action.
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