Roy Moore won the Republican nomination for Senate in Alabama, defeating a candidate backed by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. Moore is famous for having twice been removed as a justice of the Alabama Supreme Court over his defiance of federal decisions – one to remove a large granite monument of the Ten Commandments, and the other to recognize gay marriage.
In this campaign, Moore doubled down on his conservative Christian credentials. He said that homosexuality should be illegal, suggested that school shootings and terrorist attacks were the result of secularization and called for the recognition and reintroduction of the religious underpinnings of American law.
Moore also said that Muslims should not serve in public office, going further than Trump, Carson or other Republican politicians in his criticism of Islam. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the administration does not agree with Moore’s comments on Muslims or gay people.
The Trump Administration issued a new travel ban, nullifying the previous ban that was pending before the Supreme Court. The updated executive order includes countries without a Muslim majority – Venezuela and North Korea – which may allow it to withstand legal challenges based on religious discrimination.
Donald Trump nominated Kyle Duncan, a conservative lawyer and law professor specializing in church-state relations, to the 5th Circuit. Duncan has an extensive public record of statements about religious freedom, and served as lead counsel on the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case.
Another judicial nominee, Jeff Mateer, faced opposition after CNN published video of him defending gay conversion therapy and saying that gay marriage will lead to other, “disgusting” forms of marriage like polygamy.
A prison chaplain refusing to carry pepper spray for religious reasons has not been allowed to visit inmates. The Marshall Project published a thorough profile.
A district court ruled that a Pennsylvania County’s use of a cross in its official seal violates the separation of church and state, according to precedent.
Get Religion published an interesting compendium of Hugh Hefner obituaries focused on his religious background. It makes that case that his Playboy persona may have been his reaction to a “Puritan” Methodist upbringing after he discovered that while he had saved himself for marriage his fiancée was unfaithful.