BACK IN 1943, during the patriotic fervor of World War II, a personal liberty landmark involved West Virginia. Some Jehovah's Witness children had been expelled from Mountain State schools because their faith forbids them to recite the Pledge of Allegiance - but their parents won a U.S. Supreme Court decree saying beliefs cannot be forced onto free people. Ever since, the pledge has been voluntary. Now a Boston family has sued, claiming that school recitation of "under God" is an unlawful government endorsement of religion, regardless of whether children are forced to say it. Keep reading the news to see how this battle goes.
The New York Times scoffed because Missouri Republicans are trying to pass an idiotic bill "that would pronounce all federal gun safety laws null and void in the state and allow the arrest of federal agents who try to enforce them." Well, that's exactly the same bill sponsored in West Virginia by Delegates Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, and Harry Keith White, D-Mingo. No wonder both lost in the race for House speaker.
Marijuana is no more harmful than beer or whisky - and is less harmful than tobacco - so it should be as legal as those stimulants. But, so far, only one West Virginia legislator, Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, shows an inclination to decriminalize pot.
Oddball Republican Michele Bachmann and her husband operated a religious clinic that claimed to "cure" homosexuality. But now Republican Gov. Chris Christie has signed a law banning Bachmann-type attempts to change gay teens in New Jersey. The GOP governor said homosexuality is not a sin, and declared: "The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts." Political observers say Christie's act may cost him the GOP nomination for president, because gay-hating fundamentalists partly rule his party.