Blog & Op-Eds, Blog, Religious Liberty

Celebrating Five Amazing Women and Their Right to Love as We Close Women’s History Month

(03/27/2014) Virginia is for lovers, or so they say. Yet, for many Virginians this motto couldn’t be further from the truth. As Women’s History Month comes to an end, we honor five Virginia women who have stood up for their right to love the people they love – thus paving the way for a Virginia that is truly for ALL lovers. read more »

Legalized Discrimination Stops Here!

(03/10/2014) It was all over the news. Just a few weeks ago, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed legislation that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. The legislation rightly received national attention – it conjured up memories of a time when people were refused service at hotels and lunch counters because of the color of their skin or the God they worship. read more »

Protecting the Religious Liberty of Virginia’s Public School Students

(02/25/2014) In recent years, we have seen repeated efforts to pass legislation that purports to protect individual religious expression, but instead diminishes religious freedom by allowing government to force religion on unwilling listeners. The latest such effort is Senate Bill 236. While its supporters tout the bill as protecting public school students’ freedom of expression, its actual effect will be to require students to submit to coercive prayer and proselytizing at school events. read more »

The “Rights” of Corporations: First Speech, Now Worship?

(01/13/2014) Lord Coke famously observed that a corporation does not have a soul. The Supreme Court is not so sure. On November 26, the Court granted review in two cases challenging the requirement of the Affordable Care Act that certain employer-provided insurance must cover contraceptives. The owners of the corporations sued, saying the mandate burdens their religious beliefs. read more »

No Laughing Matter: Government Prayer and Second-Class Citizenship

(11/07/2013) This morning, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a First Amendment challenge to a New York town's practice of solemnizing its local board meetings with Christian prayer. read more »

Fleisher: Don’t Knock Down the Church-State Wall

(08/22/2013) First grade. The first day of public school. The very first memory I can locate specifically in time and place. Our teacher leads a recitation of words I’ve never heard before. Yet somehow all the other students already have the words memorized, and join in. I don’t understand. Why do all the other kids know this while I don’t? (As originally published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch on August 20, 2013; 12:00am) read more »

Announcing the Jules Cohen Funds for Religious Liberty

(05/31/13) The ACLU Foundation of Virginia is pleased to announce acceptance of a major gift in honor of former ACLU of Virginia Board Member Jules Cohen that will endow the Jules Cohen Funds for Religious Liberty in Virginia and at the National ACLU. read more »

General Assembly 2013: Cross Over Report

(2/7/2013) The 2013 General Assembly session is well underway and important things are happening at the Capitol even if Virginia is not the butt of jokes nightly on the Colbert Report and the Daily Show. Cross over was on February 5, and while some bills -- good and bad-- were killed, others survived. We need all our supporters' help to kill the remaining bad bills that are a threat to civil liberties and to pass the good ones that advance our freedoms. read more »

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

(01/23/2013) For years, representatives of Virginia religious organizations and faith-based groups have sought passage of legislation of varying sorts explicitly acknowledging that such legislation is intended to enact their religious beliefs and values into law and override the beliefs of others. That strategy has been largely unsuccessful in the court of public opinion and in the courts of law. So, now similar initiatives are being dressed up as laws needed to protect religious liberty or free speech. read more »

Missing the Point: Contraception Debate is about Control of Women’s Health Decisions

(03/02/2012) The turmoil over access to birth control these past few weeks could result in disturbing scenarios for access to health care. If some lawmakers and religious groups, like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have their way, you may be denied critical health care services simply because of your employer’s religious or moral beliefs. read more »

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