ACLU to Represent Mayfield, KY Muslims

In Mayfield, Ky a local group of Muslims was recently denied a zoning permit for them to use a spot in a strip mall as a mosque.  Originally the zoning board approved the permit but after public outcry, the decision was revoked.  Another meeting was arranged so the public could comment on record,however when a representative from the Muslim community arrived to make the Muslim community’s case , he was turned away at the door because the room was full of all other locals, many if not all of them opposed to the plan. The permit was denied due to “inadequate parking”, the allocated space for the rented section of the strip mall only had 6 spaces. You can read more about the decision via the local NPR station.

Thankfully the ACLU has taken up the case:

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Kentucky have agreed to represent Khadar Ahmed, a resident of Mayfield, Kentucky, who was denied a permit last month by the Mayfield Board of Zoning Adjustment to operate a Muslim worship center in the town’s central business district.

Michael Aldridge, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kentucky [said,] “The fact that Mr. Ahmed was initially granted a permit and then had it taken away without there being any change in circumstances is troubling.”

“Preventing any group from freely practicing their faith is unlawful and contrary to core American values,” said Daniel Mach, Director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “While we remain open to alternative avenues of resolution, governmental actions that have the effect of denying individuals the right to practice their religion must be challenged.”

Hopefully the local Mayfield Government will realize that they made a huge mistake and will do the right thing before they cost themselves and the citizens of Mayfield lots of money in a legal battle.

President Obama goes after the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill

At the National Prayer breakfast this morning President Obama made some comments on The Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill.

“We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are — whether it’s here in the United States or … more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda,”

This was in response to the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill that would put punishments on gays, lesbians, and  transgendered people.  The punishments range from life imprisonment to death for those that practice that kind of lifestyle. This bill which was being pushed by  The Family.  The Family aka The Fellowship aka The Foundation is a secretive group for politicians and other high-ranking officials to go around and practice their Bible studies and general god talk.  They’re members include,Rep. John Ensign and former Gov. Mark  Sanford.

The best part of this however is that President Obama made these remarks at The Family’s sponsored event, The National Prayer Breakfast.  I really was disappointed that the President was actually going to attend the event, however this makes it a little better.  I still think that him going constitutes a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  How is going to a Christian Prayer service, while bringing other heads of state, not saying that “Hey yeah the government likes this religion”?

Hopefully next year will be different and Mr. Obama will stay back and start to distance himself from events like these, or at least maybe attend a Secular Humanist Breakfast?

Help Recognize Darwin Day

The American Humanist Association is running a Darwin Day campaign,

We need our elected leaders to speak out about the importance of scientific knowledge and its contribution to the advancement of humanity, and send a signal that religious infiltration into our science classrooms will not be tolerated. That’s why we’re asking you to sign our petition urging President Obama to recognize Darwin Day.

To sign the petition go here

Getting recognition like this is one of the many steps President Obama can make to promote science, something his budget and initiatives have said , lets hope this is another.