As annual chapter meetings go, this is one not to be missed! James T. McCollum, the student at the center of the landmark "McCollum Decision" by the US Supreme Court in 1948 (33 US 203), is the featured speaker. A new book recalling events surrounding this historic event was recently published by Jim's brother, Dannel McCollum, titled "The Lord Was Not on Trial."
I was up bright and early Saturday morning to appear on Fox News Channel. Our topic was a perennial Fox favorite: prayers before government meetings.
It seems the borough council of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., has been opening its meetings with the Our Father, the Roman Catholic version of the Lord’s Prayer, since the 1990s. A lawsuit was filed, and the council agreed to stop.
Yesterday was the last Sunday before Election Day, and as usual, candidates in many communities flocked to the pews in hope of getting parishioners’ votes. That’s not a violation of federal tax law, as long as churches welcome all candidates and don’t endorse one candidate over another.
In fact, many of the news media reports we’ve seen from around the country suggest that most houses of worship played by the rules.
For example, several clergy urged congregants to go out and vote, but they didn’t tell them who to vote for.
This weekend, I’ll be joining the large crowds taking over Washington for Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity.”
I don’t really know what to expect of the event, or if it will actually “restore sanity.” But I do know Stewart’s title choice couldn’t be more perfect, especially when I consider the many people in this country who have taken to saying and doing really idiotic things lately.
A long-running legal battle over religion in an Ohio public school appears to be drawing to a close.
The case involves a former eighth-grade science teacher named John Freshwater at Mount Vernon Middle School, who was accused of teaching creationism, posting religious signs in his classroom and engaging in other legally dubious activities.
Ironically, none of that stuff, as bad as it is, brought Freshwater under scrutiny. His downfall began after he used an electronic device called a Tesla coil to burn a small cross on a student’s arm.
In just six days, Oklahoma voters will decide whether they want to write religious intolerance into their state’s constitution.
That’s what they will be doing if they vote “yes” for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit courts from considering “sharia” – Islamic law – when deciding cases. Since our Constitution already separates religion and government, this proposal has no legitimate purpose.
Supporters are simply fanning the flames of religious discrimination and intolerance. I hope Oklahomans see that.
The Alliance Defense Fund and other reckless Religious Right groups have relentlessly pushed evangelical churches to go political, but they don’t seem to be having much luck.
What would theocracy look like if it ever came to America?
Perhaps it would involve government agents working on behalf of a preferred religious group and ferreting out religious dissenters. It’s a scary thought, but what’s scarier is that this already has happened in Jacksonville, Fla., according to a report by the Associated Baptist Press.
The theocrats who yearn to take away our freedoms and run our lives according to their strict fundamentalist dogma are nothing if not resourceful. They’re always thinking up new strategies.
Case in point is a group called Personhood USA, a new entry in the world of the Religious Right. The organization’s theory is that it can ban legal abortion by passing state constitutional amendments declaring that a fertilized egg is legally a person.
A Tennessee public school has done the right thing and agreed to stop broadcasting Christian prayers over the loudspeaker at football games and graduation ceremonies.
After students complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the group sent a letter to school officials asking them to discontinue the unconstitutional practice.
Hamilton County Schools Superintendent issued an order to halt the prayers, and yesterday Soddy-Daisy High School Principal John Maynard promised that he would.