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All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

Equality Act: Equality The Right Way

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) today introduced the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. It builds on our nation’s tradition of expanding civil-rights protections to ensure that more of our neighbors are protected from discrimination based on who they are.

Spending Bill Renews Federal Voucher Program Despite New Study Showing It Harms Student Achievement

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education released a study showing that students in the Washington, D.C., private school voucher program perform worse academically than students who are not in the program. Yet, just four days later, Congress released its budget deal, which includes language to renew the program through 2019.

100 Days In, Trump’s Chipping Away At Religious Freedom

Tomorrow is President Donald J. Trump’s 100th day in office. Although he campaigned on his 100-day “Contract with the American Voter,” he no longer seems enthusiastic about the milestone. Perhaps that’s because he is facing criticism for failing to achieve any major legislative victories. One thing he has accomplished: He has caused real harm to religious freedom and has made promises to do even more.

Latest D.C. Voucher Study: Program Harms Students’ Academic Achievement

The Department of Education just released a new study of the Washington, D.C., school voucher program. And the findings confirm what we’ve known for years: The program doesn’t improve students’ academic achievement. In fact, it has resulted in statistically significant negative impacts on student test scores.

The Military Maneuvers Its Way Toward More Respect For Religious Diversity

My late father was drafted into the Army at the tail end of World War II. With action in Europe and the Pacific winding down, he was shipped to the emerging hotspot of Korea. He once told me a story about how chaplains on the transport ship would announce religious services: Catholics were told to go to one side of the boat and Protestants to the other.

“What about the soldiers who were neither?” I asked.

My dad shrugged. “I guess nobody thought about them.”

San Antonio Mayor Blames Poverty On People ‘Not Being In A Relationship With Their Creator’

San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Ivy Taylor recently shared some disturbing views – blaming systematic poverty on people’s lack of religiosity. 

At an April 3 mayoral candidate forum, Megan Legacy, the director of SA Christian Resource Center, asked Taylor “What do you see as the deepest, systemic causes of generational poverty in San Antonio?”

‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ Attorney Clarence Darrow Continues To Face Opposition In Dayton, Tenn.

One Tennessee woman has all but thrown down a gauntlet and demanded a duel in opposition to a proposed statue of Clarence Darrow, the attorney who defended teacher John T. Scopes when he taught evolution in a Dayton public school.

Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis is creating the statue, which is scheduled to be dedicated in July at the Rhea County Courthouse – the site of the infamous “Scopes Monkey Trial.”

AU And Allies: Michigan Funeral Home Can’t Use Religion To Justify Discrimination Against Transgender Employee

Aimee Stephens worked for six years at a Detroit funeral home. Then, she came out as transgender and announced that she would begin to live publicly as a woman, which would include dressing consistent with her gender identity.

Two weeks later, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes fired her. Why? The funeral-home owner said Aimee’s behavior contradicted his religious beliefs.

A Broad Ruling In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer Could Pave The Way For Private School Voucher Programs

Nearly 20 years ago, Betsy DeVos and her husband were the primary funders of an effort to strip the Michigan Constitution’s no-aid clause – the provision that ensures the government doesn’t funnel taxpayer dollars to religious institutions, including private religious schools. Their goal: remove the constitutional barrier to implementation of a private school voucher program.

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