The western slope’s nonprofit watchdog organization Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) encourages people to report violations of separation of church and state in places like public schools and at local government meetings, so they can address the violations.
Past violations reported to WCAF have included a Mesa County Commissioner praying to Jesus Christ at the start of public hearings, a Delta county middle school student being forced to watch a nativity play after asking to opt out, a Delta County middle school teacher hosting weekly Bible study classes in his own classroom immediately before school and handing out free doughnuts to students who attended, Fellowship Church promoting its youth indoctrination center in a Mesa County middle school by showing a video about it during gym period and handing students admission slips to the facility afterward, a Mesa County elementary school student being told by a lunch aide in the cafeteria in front of her friends that she MUST believe in God “because God created everything,” a Delta County high school student having her grades slashed and college grant applications sabotaged for reporting Christian proselytizing going on within the school system, Colorado Mesa University students having Gideon Bibles foisted on them as they stepped off the dais at their graduation ceremony, a Delta County Middle School teacher telling her class that “non-Christians are bad people” and “the bombers aren’t Christians,” quoting the Bible in class, and much more.
About 35 people turned out in 27 degree weather to protest a visit from Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) William Perry Pendley, a right wing anti-government zealot who was appointed to head the BLM without Senate approval.
Pendley was scheduled to visit the new Grand Junction BLM office on the morning of its first opening day.
The protest was at the BLM’s new offices at 760 Horizon Drive, which is also the same building that houses the corporate offices of oil and gas purveyor Chevron.
Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) is running it’s annual wintertime billboard celebrating the solstice on the digital billboard facing west on I-70 Business Loop in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A at Rimrock Marketplace. At a recent meeting, WCAF members estimated that approximately 15-20% of western Colorado residents are non-religious and identify as atheists, agnostics, humanists or freethinkers.
A woman was pushed to the ground by a Trump supporter at the pro-impeachment rally Tuesday evening in front of the federal building on Rood Ave. at 4th Street in Grand Junction. The woman hit her head on the concrete and was injured. She recognized Congressman Scott Tipton’s Constituent Services Representative Brandon Bainer standing nearby and asked him to call 911 for her. She says he didn’t help her but instead said “I am on my own time and after 5:00.” The woman recognized Mr. Bainer because she goes to Congressman Tipton and Senator Cory Gardner’s offices frequently and has met him there many times.
The Colorado Reproductive Health Rights and Justice Coalition will be putting on a Reproductive Rights Roadshow at Colorado Mesa University on Friday, October 4 from 12 noon – 1:30 p.m. in Room 221 of the University Center building, on the 2nd floor attached to the parking garage. Appetizers will be served!
The Roadshow is traveling around the state to inform Colorado citizens about what is happening in the legislature and what’s being done in our community to preserve and strengthen reproductive rights and access to abortion care. The Coalition also wants to listen to you and find out what issues are of greatest concern to people here in our community.
The Coalition is an umbrella group comprised of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU-CO), New Era Colorado, ProgressNow Colorado and Soul2Soul Sisters.
Full disclosure: I was the plaintiff in the lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado brought against State Senator Ray Scott for blocking constituents from his official social media accounts.
On August 31, 2019 the Daily Sentinel printed an article about the settlement we reached in the case.
Had the Sentinel contacted me for this article, I would have let them know that Ray Scott lied to them about several specific pieces of information regarding the case.
Ray Scott’s first lie:
Scott told the Sentinel that he blocked people from his social media accounts “only if someone posted a profane or inappropriate comment.”
That is absolutely false.
Every elected official in Colorado is now on notice: you cannot block constituents from your official social media accounts because they don’t agree with your point of view. If you do, you’re breaking the law.
ACLU of Colorado announced a settlement (pdf) today on behalf of Anne Landman, a constituent who State Senator Ray Scott blocked from his official social media accounts in 2017 after she was publicly critical of several of his policy positions. As a result of the lawsuit, Scott has now unblocked Landman and must refrain from censoring anyone else with critical viewpoints from his social media accounts as a Senator, or in any future elected position.
“The overwhelming majority of cases has made very clear that the official social media pages of public officials, like Senator Scott’s, are public forums where individual’s speech is constitutionally protected,” said ACLU Staff Attorney Sara Neel. “Recognizing this, Senator Scott has agreed to unblock all users from his social media pages and will not block anyone else in the future based on viewpoint.”
Upset citizens have been contacting the City of Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department and the Mesa County Elections Bureau left and right to complain about the “Recall Polis” campaign violating laws by putting up tables and signage in places that require permitting or where it is prohibited by law.
In the photo above, the Recall Polis people had set up their operation at Spring Valley Park on Patterson Road, a public park. A reader sent the above photo and complained to the City about it, upon which G.J. Parks and Rec Department responded:
Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) has a message for Grand Valley residents this spring: Atheism is “a personal relationship with reality.”
WCAF is the area’s longest-serving secular group, and their billboard is to help encourage people come to logical conclusions based on verifiable facts rather than basing conclusions on dogma, fables, mythology, superstition or sheer faith. That’s the message of the group’s spring, 2019 billboard, which went up today on I-70B by Rimrock Marketplace in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A. The board is west-facing and visible to traffic coming into town. It will be up for one week. Take photos with it while you can.
Watch out, local gun nuts. President Donald Trump is coming for your guns.
Last December, President Trump issued an executive order banning bump stocks (pdf), devices that use the recoil energy generated from each shot of a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firearms’ rate of fire. The new rule amended the definition of “machine gun” to include bump stocks.
The ban went into effect three days ago, on March 26, 2019, exactly 90 days after it was published in the Federal Register.
On March 28, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court refused an effort by gun nuts to block the ban, so Trump’s new rule is currently in full force, making anyone who owns a bump stock a felon.
In a reaction to a letter the Mesa County Commissioners sent to the state legislature opposing SB19-181(pdf), Mesa County residents can now easily add their names to a letter that urges state legislators to PASS Senate Bill 19-181, a landmark bill to refocus the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission away from fostering oil and gas development to instead protecting public health, safety and welfare and the environment when considering new applications for drilling.
The bill was crafted with input from Erin Martinez, who lost her husband and brother in the explosion of a hidden gas flowline under their house in Firestone, Colorado in April of 2017. The bill will require public disclosure of flowline information.
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled February 15, 2019 that a Fort Collins, Colorado city ordinance prohibiting women from baring their breasts in public and punishes them for doing so while putting no similar restrictions on men violates the U.S. Constitution.
Two female plaintiffs and an unincorporated group called “Free the Nipple” sued Ft. Collins over an ordinance the city enacted in 2015 that made it a misdemeanor for a woman to bare her breasts in public for anything other than breastfeeding. Violations were punishable by a fine of up to $2,650 or up to 180 days in jail. The ordinance did not specify the same for men.
The third annual Women’s March in Grand Junction on Saturday, January 19th, drew an enthusiastic crowd of about 2,000 liberal and progressive western slope residents who came out to support women’s rights, equality for women and gay, lesbian and transgender people, people of color and immigrant communities.
On December 12 the Ridgway Town Council passed an ordinance (pdf) banning single-use plastic bags and urging residents to curtail their use of other single-use plastics like straws, single-use food take-out containers, coffee stirrers, soda bottles, disposable water bottles, eating utensils and food packaging.
The ordinance states single-use plastics have “severe negative impacts on the environment” on both a local and global scale, that they “contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, litter, atmospheric acidification,” and cause problems with water sources and harm wildlife. Ridgway’s Town Council also passed the ordinance to help reduce the amount of waste going into the town’s landfill.
The non-profit group Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) has a digital billboard up on I-70 Business Loop in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A for Christmas that says “Make Christmas great again. Skip church!”
The sign is a reminder that the holiday focus should be more on kindness, humanity and ethical treatment of others than on organized religion, which has been proving problematic lately, and to a horrific degree.
A billboard on I-70 B takes aim at the Republican Party (also known as the “Grand Old Party” or GOP) which is quickly becoming “the party of Trump.”
The billboard is in front of Rimrock Marketplace on I-70 B and draws attention to Republicans’ alarming acceptance of President Trump cozying up to authoritarian dictators who disregard human rights.
The billboard will soon be moving to an even higher spot where it will be displayed to passers-by 100 percent of the time, instead of in 8-second increments rotating with 5-6 other ads. Stay tuned!
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits government from “abridging the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” but this isn’t stopping the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and area oil and gas apologist Keira Bresnahan from trying to talk Mesa County residents into voluntarily giving up their right to even sign petitions to get issues on the ballot, where everyone can have a chance to consider them.