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

Marriage In Maryland: Senators Resist Lobbying Campaign By Church Hierarchy

Last night, when the Maryland Senate passed a marriage equality bill by 25-21, a win was scored for equal protection -- and for church-state separation.

The measure, if approved by the House and signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, will allow same-sex couples to marry in the state.  It’s legislation that isn’t sitting well with the Catholic hierarchy, especially considering the large number of Catholics who hold public office in the state.

Constitutional Commandment: Virginia School Board Obeys First Amendment – At Least For Now

Good news from Giles County, Va.! It looks as though local school board members may have decided not to waste precious financial resources on a church-state lawsuit they were almost certain to lose.

On Tuesday, Ten Commandments posters in all local schools came down.

That may mean the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Virginia ACLU will not be taking this constitutional violation into court.

Kern Spurned: Oklahoma Legislator’s Backdoor Creationism Bill Bounced

Oklahoma is one of the most religiously conservative states in the country. Fundamentalists have a strong political presence there, and “culture war” battles are common. This is the state, you’ll recall, that recently tried to ban Sharia law – even though no Muslims are attempting to impose it there.

It’s always a pleasant surprise, then, when Oklahoma legislators resist Religious Right pressure and do the right thing. And yesterday they did.

Bad Conscience: Obama Administration Rejects Oppressive Bush Medical Regulations

Last week, the Obama administration did something that didn’t capture much media attention but should have: It officially overturned a bad policy from the Bush years and issued a series of final regulations dealing with health care and the right of “conscience.”

Commandments Clash: Va. County Has One Last Chance To Avoid A Lawsuit – And Should Take It

Public education officials in Giles County, Va., can’t say they weren’t warned.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote to school officials recently telling them to remove Ten Commandments displays from the schools. The officials were also advised by their own attorney to take down the religious posters.

At first, they did. But when members of the community complained, the school board voted to put the Ten Commandments back into the schools.

Slow Learners: Conservative Think Tank Flunks Texas Social Studies Standards

Texas should have seen this coming.

The Lone Star State has received a “D” for the bogus public school social studies curriculum that its State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted last year.

The icing on the cake is that this letter grade comes from a report issued by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank.

General Insanity: Former Army Officer Launches Salvo Against Islam And First Amendment

Longtime readers of “The Wall of Separation” might remember William “Jerry” Boykin, an Army general who in 2003 sparked controversy for giving speeches to fundamentalist Christian audiences during which he asserted, among other things, that Muslims worship idols and that the real enemy of America is not Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein but Satan.

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