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Something’s Rotten In The Big Apple: Politicians Seek To Fund Rabbinical School Tuition

New York taxpayers may soon be footing an $18 million annual bill to pay for rabbinical training.

Yes, you read that right.

According to the New York Post, elected officials in the Empire State have struck a backroom deal to expand the Tuition Assistance Program to pick up the tab for 3,660 students at a few dozen rabbinical schools in New York City and its suburbs.

Religious Schools And Bias: America Must Not Vouch For Parochial Discrimination

As if there aren’t already enough reasons why public funds should never support religious education – here are just a few more.

Reason No. 793: NBC’s Today Show recently interviewed a Florida teacher who said she was fired by a Christian school after school officials learned she became pregnant before her marriage.

Prayer Day Politics: In Louisiana, Religion And Government Mix Like Oil And Water

I understand why people living along the Gulf Coast are frustrated. The BP oil spill is an unmitigated environmental disaster, with as much as 2.5 million gallons of oil pouring into the region every day.

What’s especially frustrating is that, despite all of our modern technology and know-how, we don’t seem to be able to plug the well. The oil just keeps gushing forth.

At The Movies: New Documentary Examines Mormon Church Influence On Prop. 8 Vote

An interesting documentary is opening in some major cities this weekend, and if you get the chance, I’d suggest that you check it out.

Titled “8: The Mormon Proposition,” the film examines the role the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) played in helping pass Proposition 8 in California, which repealed marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Tax Dollars, Sectarian Bias: Publicly Funded Evangelical Agency Fights For Religious Discrimination

If Sylvia Spencer took a job at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, no one would ask her what her religious beliefs are. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of Americans would be horrified to think that such a consideration could affect her employment prospects for a position providing publicly funded social services.

HHS officials should ascertain her qualifications for the task at hand, and that would be it.

Truce Or Consequences: Religious Right Shoots Down Talk Of Cease-Fire In The ‘Culture Wars’

Is it time for a truce in the “culture wars”?

Indiana’s Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, thought so – for about five minutes. Under outraged pressure from the Religious Right, he quickly reversed himself.

The drama began last week when Daniels told the right-wing Weekly Standard that it is time for the country to put social issues aside and deal with pressing economic concerns.

Saving Souls Though School Supplies?: Fla. Church-School ‘Partnership’ Becomes Opportunity For Evangelism

Public school principal Steve Comparato in Polk County, Fla., said his prayers were answered when a local church agreed to “adopt” his school and pay for $5,000 worth of supplies.

“If they want to come in and help, who am I to say no?” he told the Wall Street Journal, which today details a new trend in public schools that could become a serious church-state concern.

AU Chapters Active as Summer Heats Up!

As summer temperatures rise, Americans United chapters are keeping busy!  From New York to California AU chapter members are hosting events and staffing tables at community gatherings.

Here are just a few activities that have, or will, take place soon:

South Dakota Scofflaw: Rapid City Pastor Tries To Backpedal On Candidate Endorsement

Yesterday Americans United asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a South Dakota church whose pastor openly admitted that he endorsed a gubernatorial candidate from the pulpit.

The Rev. H. Wayne Williams of Liberty Baptist Tabernacle in Rapid City hasn’t been shy about what he did. In fact, state Sen. Gordon Howie, the candidate Williams endorsed during a May 16 church service, sent out a press release bragging about it.

Howie had challenged churches to endorse him and was ecstatic when one did.