By Nate Hennagin
Is being a foe of church-state separation a prerequisite to being elected in Kentucky? How else can you explain all the work Kentucky government officials have done in the past two months to chip away at the church-state wall?
Yesterday, in the latest anti-separation move, the Kentucky Senate passed a measure that would mandate creation of an official Bible curriculum for Kentucky’s public schools.
On Tuesday I flew to New England to speak to a humanist group in Worcester, Mass. It was a great event, and I pleased to see so many people venture out on a cold night to hear what I had to say.
As I surveyed the crowd from the podium, I spotted an old friend in the third row: Ellery Schempp.
Back in 1984, Religious Right groups lobbied Congress in full force to pass a bill ensuring that Christian student clubs and organizations would be free to meet on public school campuses.
They succeeded in making the Equal Access Act the law of the land. The act states that under most circumstances, public schools must allow a wide range of student-run clubs to meet during “non-instructional” time. This opened the door for public schools to allow student religious clubs, including Bible study groups, to meet freely.
With Darwin Day (Feb. 12) just around the corner, scientists, educators and citizens across the world are gearing up to celebrate the birth of Charles Darwin and his contributions to science.
As Bill Nye “The Science Guy” recently put it, teachers’ reluctance to teach Darwin’s theory of evolution is “horrible.” Scientific advances that benefit everyone could be at risk if students don’t learn sound science.
Whenever I hear religious conservatives assert that religious freedom is under attack in the United States, I can only shake my head.
Do they know nothing about history or even the world today? Consider what happened in Soviet Russia under Josef Stalin, where houses of worship were bulldozed and clergy tossed into gulags. Think about China and North Korea, where freedom of worship still remains a dream. Consider even one of our allies – Saudi Arabia – where it’s illegal to build a Christian church.
President Barack Obama gave his personal testimony yesterday at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Did you see it? What did you think?
I watched the address on a live stream from the White House website. It’s still there if you want to take it in for yourself.
Obama’s message was deeply personal and overtly Christian. I guess he’s been falsely accused of being a Muslim so much that he feels obligated to make that point pretty bluntly one more time.
Yesterday a federal appeals court in Ohio ruled against a state judge in Richland County who had erected a religious display in his courtroom.
James DeWeese, a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, had put up a display entitled “Philosophies of Law in Conflict” that contrasted the “Moral Absolutes” of the Ten Commandments with the “Moral Relatives” of humanism.
If Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were around today, they would be extremely disappointed in their home state of Virginia.
The Virginia House of Delegates voted yesterday to approve two constitutional amendments that threaten church-state separation: one that promotes prayer in public places, including public schools, and another that permits taxpayer money to fund the religious training and theological education of certain students.