Blog of Rights

No Playing Favorites with Prayer

No Playing Favorites with Prayer

By Aleksandr Sverdlik, Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief at 12:24pm
“We can’t be defeated, we can’t be destroyed, and we can’t be denied because we are going to live forever with you through the salvation of Jesus Christ.” Usually, these are the words a churchgoer might hear on a Sunday morning. Instead, Robert Voelker was astonished to hear them delivered by an elected official as part of the opening invocation at a meeting of his County Board of Commissioners in Rowan County, North Carolina.
Oklahoma Can't "Save" Itself from the U.S. Constitution

Oklahoma Can't "Save" Itself from the U.S. Constitution

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program & Daniel Mach at 11:53am

No state should deny its residents the essential right to exercise their religion. No state should target or disfavor any faith. No state should engage in actions that contravene the requirements of the U.S. Constitution, and no state should seek to…

Protecting and Serving All, Regardless of Faith

Protecting and Serving All, Regardless of Faith

By Edward L. Smith, Former Chief of Police at 4:47pm

As a former police chief of numerous Oklahoma towns, including Seminole, Clinton, Blackwell, Owasso, Bethany, and Chickasha, I have seen officers disciplined for a variety of insubordinate acts. During my 35 years in law enforcement, however, I have…

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Remarkably, there are only 16 states that currently have workplace non-discrimination laws that are fully inclusive of LGBT people. This leaves LGBT people vulnerable to workplace discrimination in well over half of the country–an unacceptable situation…

Protect Access to Birth Control

Wait, Did An Oklahoma Hospital Try to Ban Birth Control Prescriptions For An Entire Town?

By Kelsey Townsend, Reproductive Freedom Project, ACLU at 2:06pm

Last week, women in Bartlesville, Oklahoma faced a terrifying possibility. According to a new religiously based directive from the town's main health care system, only one OB-GYN in the entire town would have been allowed to prescribe birth control.…

Taking a Stand Against a 21st Century Scarlet Letter

Taking a Stand Against a 21st Century Scarlet Letter

By Mie Lewis, Women's Rights Project at 10:49am

Today, we filed suit in federal court on behalf of Jennifer Maudlin, a single mother who was fired when her employer learned that she was pregnant. Jennifer's employer – a religiously-affiliated community organization called Inside Out – says that…

The Supreme Court Revisits Official Government Prayer

The Supreme Court Revisits Official Government Prayer

By Heather L. Weaver, ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief at 4:52pm

It's hard to believe that, in 2013, any question remains regarding the constitutionality of official government prayers, but the Supreme Court will revisit the issue for the first time in more than a decade when it hears oral arguments this November…

My Life Under NYPD Surveillance: A Brooklyn Student and Charity Leader on Fear and Mistrust

My Life Under NYPD Surveillance: A Brooklyn Student and Charity Leader on Fear and Mistrust

By Asad Dandia, Activist at 10:18am

My name is Asad Dandia although friends know me as Ace. I am an American citizen, born in Brooklyn, where I have lived my whole life...

A Victory for Workers, a Victory for Families

A Victory for Workers, a Victory for Families

By Mie Lewis, Women's Rights Project at 11:42am

This week, an Ohio federal jury awarded Christa Dias $171,000 after she was fired from her part-time teaching jobs at two religious schools. Dias had alleged that she was fired for becoming pregnant while unmarried. In response, the schools and the…

Why So Few Female Firefighters, NYC?

Why So Few Female Firefighters, NYC?

By Mie Lewis, Women's Rights Project at 1:15pm

Last Friday, a committee of the New York City Council attempted to answer a simple question: Why is it that in the year 2013, only 37 of 10,500 firefighters in New York City are women? Why is it that only a fraction of one percent of New York City's…