By James Haught
James Haught is editor of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette, and a senior editor of Free Inquiry. He is 87-years-old and would like to help secular causes more. This series is a way of giving back.
(July 13, 2020 – Daylight Atheism)
Just when a glimmer of hope emerges from Republican-dominated Washington, it’s followed by dismal setbacks.
On June 15, the Supreme Court decreed that gays can’t be fired from jobs simply because they have a different sexual orientation. It was another breakthrough for human rights, and a blow against gay-hating white evangelicals, the heart of the Republican Party. Progressives cheered – and hoped that decent values finally may have a chance in the capital.
But two weeks later, on June 30, conservatives on the high court trampled the First Amendment and the separation of church and state. Right-wing justices ruled that tax money may be funneled into church schools via tax writeoffs. Although Montana’s constitution flatly forbids tax funding of religion, the justices killed that ban and opened public floodgates everywhere.
And a week later, on July 8, conservative justices gave hidebound employers more freedom to halt free birth control for female employees. Bosses were granted “religious freedom” to block birth control – but women workers have no such freedom to choose contraception. The Washington Post calculated that up to 126,000 women may lose coverage as a result.
Both of the latter rulings serve the “religious right” and the GOP. For liberals, the monthly scorecard was one step ahead and two back. This shows the crucial need for progressive Americans to win more elections and reduce conservative control in Washington.
Personally, I have a blind hope – almost a religious faith – that the “moral arc of the universe” will continue bending toward justice. Ever since the Enlightenment, progressives have won victory after victory to advance personal liberties and decency. In many long battles, they defeated conservatives, time after time. Here’s a record I sometimes cite:
Conservatives tried to retain slavery, but they lost.
They tried to block voting by women, but lost.
They tried to prevent couples from using birth control, but lost.
They tried to obstruct Social Security pensions for oldsters, but lost.
They tried to outlaw labor unions, but lost.
They tried to prevent unemployment compensation for the jobless, but lost.
They tried to keep stores closed on the Sabbath, but lost.
They banned alcohol during Prohibition, but eventually lost.
They tried to sustain racial segregation, but lost.
They supported government-mandated prayer in school, but lost.
They tried to continue throwing gays in prison, but lost.
They tried to defeat Medicare and Medicaid, but lost.
They opposed food stamps for the poor, but lost.
They banned mixed-race marriage, but lost.
They forbade teaching of evolution in schools, but lost.
They fought against equal human rights laws, but lost.
They tried to censor sexy magazines, books and movies, but lost.
They sought to jail girls and doctors who end pregnancies, but lost.
They tried to block liquor clubs and lotteries, but lost.
They fought to block sex education in schools, but lost.
They tried to prevent more health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, but lost.
They tried to halt same-sex marriage, but lost.
And now they’ve lost their effort to fire gays from jobs.
However, the two recent Supreme Court victories by the Religious Right show that the tide of western civilization doesn’t always flow left. Progressives cannot relax. They must keep struggling forever for human betterment.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
*Associates and resources listing last updated May 31, 2020.*
Canadian Atheist Associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular Alliance, Centre for Inquiry Canada, Kelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.
Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du Québec, Atheist Freethinkers, Central Ontario Humanist Association, Comox Valley Humanists, Grey Bruce Humanists, Halton-Peel Humanist Community, Hamilton Humanists, Humanist Association of London, Humanist Association of Ottawa, Humanist Association of Toronto, Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics of Manitoba, Ontario Humanist Society, Secular Connextions Seculaire, Secular Humanists in Calgary, Society of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph), Thunder Bay Humanists, Toronto Oasis, Victoria Secular Humanist Association.
Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an Agnostiker, American Atheists, American Humanist Association, Associação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics, Atheist Alliance International, Atheist Alliance of America, Atheist Centre, Atheist Foundation of Australia, The Brights Movement, Center for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist Ireland, Camp Quest, Inc., Council for Secular Humanism, De Vrije Gedachte, European Humanist Federation, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Foundation Beyond Belief, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist International, Humanist Association of Germany, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist Society of Scotland, Humanists UK, Humanisterna/Humanists Sweden, Internet Infidels, International League of Non-Religious and Atheists, James Randi Educational Foundation, League of Militant Atheists, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, National Secular Society, Rationalist International, Recovering From Religion, Religion News Service, Secular Coalition for America, Secular Student Alliance, The Clergy Project, The Rational Response Squad, The Satanic Temple, The Sunday Assembly, United Coalition of Reason, Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.
About Canadian Atheist
Canadian Atheist is an independent blog with multiple contributors providing articles of interest to Canadian atheists, secularists, humanists, and freethinkers.
Canadian Atheist is not an organization – there is no membership and nothing to join – and we offer no professional services or products. It is a privately-owned publishing platform shared with our contributors, with a focus on topics relevant to Canadian atheists.
Canadian Atheist is not affiliated with any other organization or group. While our contributors may be individually be members of other organizations or groups, and may even speak in an official capacity for them, CA itself is independent.
For more information about Canadian Atheist, or to contact us for any other reason, see our contact page.
About Canadian Atheist Contributors
Canadian Atheist contributors are volunteers who provide content for CA. They receive no payment for their contributions from CA, though they may be sponsored by other means.
Our contributors are people who have both a passion for issues of interest to Canadian atheists, secularists, humanists, and freethinkers, and a demonstrated ability to communicate content and ideas of interest on those topics to our readers. Some are members of Canadian secularist, humanist, atheist, or freethought organizations, either at the national, provincial, regional, or local level. They come from all walks of life, and offer a diversity of perspectives and presentation styles.
CA merely provides our contributors with a platform with almost complete editorial freedom. Their opinions are their own, expressed as they see fit; they do not speak for Canadian Atheist, and Canadian Atheist does not speak for them.
For more information about Canadian Atheist’s contribors, or to get in contact with any of them, or if you are interested in becoming a contributor, see our contact page.
Image Credit: James Haught.