It’s amazing how people can make news while we’re all cooped up in our homes (or most of us are, anyway). So, we thought we’d bring you summaries of several items we couldn’t get to in our regular coverage.
Professor fired for joking about “microaggressions.”
Nathaniel Hiers teaches mathematics at the University of North Texas. One day in the faculty lounge, he spied a stack of anonymous fliers on the subject of “microaggressions,” which are subtle comments that intentionally or unintentionally express bigotry toward a certain group. In other words, a microaggression is political correctness on steroids. After reading a flier, Hiers felt that a little gentle mocking was in order, so he wrote a message on a chalkboard next to the fliers which read: “Don’t leave garbage lying around.” Remember this was in the faculty lounge, a place where supposedly mature adults with lots of education hang out.
Hiers was fired for it. And for not expressing real regret for what he’d done. For the math professor, that just didn’t add up. He’s now suing the university, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
Chattanooga forbids church drive-in worship services.
Chattanooga, Tennessee’s mayor and city council decided to repeat the errors of their counterparts in Louisville, Kentucky and Greenville, Alabama by issuing orders forbidding churches in the city from holding drive-in church services. As in the other cases, the mayor and city created COVID-19-related rules that allow cars to gather at restaurant drive-ins and other public places but created a different rule for churches.
One Chattanooga house of worship, the Metropolitan Tabernacle Church, and its Pastor, William Steven Ball filed a lawsuit seeking to stop enforcement of the city’s unconstitutional mandate. ADF represents the church.
Kansas church services of 10-plus attendees forbidden while bars and restaurants allowed to remain open.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a shelter-in-place executive order related to the COVID-19 pandemic which prohibits gatherings of 10 or more, including churches, whether they practice social distancing guidelines or not. But then the governor erred by exempting several categories of establishments from the no-gathering rule, including bars, restaurants, libraries and shopping malls. That kind of unequal treatment is unconstitutional, and the state legislature attempted to overturn the governor’s executive order. When the state supreme court rejected the legislature’s solution, a couple of churches stepped up to file suit against the governor. Once again, ADF is representing the churches.
Kentucky legislature overrides governor’s veto of new voter ID law
This year, the Republican-dominated Kentucky state legislature passed a voter ID law, which is designed to protect against voter fraud by requiring those who vote to present a government photo ID at their polling place. Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, recently vetoed the law, claiming that with COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, this is not the time to enact new voting laws. Democrats generally oppose such laws, claiming that they suppress the vote. A Gallup poll from 2016 shows that 4 out of 5 voters favor voter ID laws.
The Kentucky legislature easily overrode the governor’s veto by votes of 27 to 6 in the Senate and 60 to 29 in the House, and the law will take effect in time for the general election in November.
Atheists awarded close to $500,000 in South Carolina lawsuit over graduation ceremony.
The Greenville County school system in South Carolina took a big hit this week when a federal district judge awarded an atheist group that sued the school system almost $500,000 in attorneys fees and other costs. The atheists challenged the school system’s use of prayers and hymns in its public school graduations and won a ruling last year. The school system has said it will probably appeal the decision and the recent award of attorney’s fees to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
That’s it for this Friday’s roundup. Have a great weekend and Lord’s Day.
Photo from AbsolutVision