Category Archives: First Amendment

Tennessee schools required to display “In God We Trust” motto

You may have heard that, back in March, the Tennessee legislature passed a bill (vote 81-8!) requiring the U.S. National Motto, which happens to be “In God We Trust”, to be displayed on the walls of all public schools. (The legislature is Republican, but not 91% Republican.) As WATE in Knoxville reports, this blatantly unconstitutional […]

The New Yorker tones down its advocacy of free speech

It was inevitable: the New Yorker, a liberal organ, has, like the liberal American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), started waffling on free speech because it may be offensive and damaging to some groups. In other words, because the First Amendment conflicts with “social justice”, says the magazine, we must temper our advocacy of free speech. This […]

NYT legal columnist: Let’s rethink the First Amendment now that it’s being used by conservatives

My title may be exaggerated a tad, but not that much, for the point of Adam Liptak’s article (click on screenshot below) is that conservatives are starting to use the First Amendment to defend or buttress legal decisions that liberals don’t like, and therefore the First Amendment is outdated or should be reexamined. The title […]

FFRF once again fights government over unconstitutional housing allowance for ministers

For years the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) has been fighting a no-brainer legal battle against the U.S. government, which by law makes all ministers’ housing allowances completely tax-exempt. This means that if a minister is given, say, $10,000 per year by his church to subsidize housing, that money is completely tax free. It is, […]

“In God We Trust” signs become mandatory in Louisiana schools

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) has its work cut out for it, as there is never an end to the Christian, conservative, and Republican efforts to push God, Jesus, and faith into the public schools, despite its violation of the First Amendment. When they lose a case, they simply grow a new head, like […]

Movie: McCollum v. Board of Education

Heather Hastie called my attention to the existence of a movie, McCollum v. Board of Education, that exists in its entirety on YouTube. This case, which was argued before the Supreme Court in late 1947 and decided in 1948, decided the issue of whether public schools could support religious education by setting aside class time […]

Campus disinvitations: where do they come from?

The Heterodox Academy (HA) has two posts (here and here) analyzing speaker disinvitations (attempted vs. successful), as well as mild versus substantial attempts to disrupt the speaker (the former allows the speaker to give the talk, though interrupting it; the latter brings the talk to a premature close). The analysis, based on FIRE’s disinvitation database […]

Free speech: what we’re up against

This comment appeared in the remarks following my letter to the Chicago Maroon (our student newspaper) asking the paper to take a stand on free speech. Nearly all of the comments were pro-free speech, which is good, but this one stood out in contrast: Becker’s link at the end is to the faculty letter opposing Bannon’s […]

Michigan town will sell houses only to good churchgoing Christians

The Guardian recently had a piece on the extraordinary town of Bay View, Michigan, which is located here: It’s a lovely, leafy town, full of big and expensive houses that look like this: The bizarre aspect of this town, unique in America so far as I know, is that only Christians who have a certificate […]

Louisiana public school sued for extreme and repeated Christian proselytizing of students

When I travel and talk about evolution, say in India, I’m sometimes asked about the teaching of creationism in American public schools. When I reply that it’s illegal, but some schools do it anyway, people are incredulous. In India, for example, I’ve never heard of public schools dragging creationism into a science class. When I’m […]