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Freedom Of Conscience: The Greatest Gift Of All

People sometimes ask me why I got so interested in defending separation of church and state. The answer is simple: As a kid, I was sent to a Catholic school for eight years.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a lot of good teachers there and learned many things. But I found the school’s tendency to micro-manage prayer troubling. Three times a day, like clockwork, a nun, priest or lay teacher would order everyone to stand up and pray. In unison, we would chant one of two prayers – the “Our Father” or the “Hail Mary” – before sitting down for the lesson.

Unmighty Rohrer: Fundamentalist Can’t Understand Why Some Churches Don’t Want To Fight The ‘Culture War’

Every few days I can count on getting a press release from something called the American Pastors Network quoting a guy named Sam Rohrer. Rohrer is one of these far-right, fundamentalist characters who is always displeased about something.

Most often, Rohrer is unhappy because people aren’t doing what he thinks they ought to do. Take America’s pastors, for example. They aren’t beating on the gays enough.

Growth Industry: New Study Illustrates How Creationist Tactics Keep Evolving

A new study says that a single county policy spawned at least 65 bills to promote creationism in American public schools. Nicholas J. Matzke, a phylogeneticist based at the Australian National University, traced the bills back to a 2006 Ouachita Parish, La., curriculum policy that encouraged teachers “to help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories.”

Courtroom Drama: N.Y. Judge Swears Oath On Quran, Sparks Immediate Backlash

New York City’s newest judge has caused a bit of a stir, and it’s not for her approach to jurisprudence. Carolyn Walker-Diallo, who is Muslim, swore on a copy of the Quran to take a seat on Brooklyn’s 7th Municipal District Court. The New York Daily News reports that the backlash is so fierce that Diallo’s supporters now fear for her safety.

‘War’ Correspondence: Almost Half Of Americans Say They Prefer Secular Greetings Rather Than ‘Merry Christmas’

A new poll reveals that the Religious Right was correct all along about the “war on Christmas.”

Just kidding.

The far right invented the “war” years ago out of fears that the holiday was supposedly too secular or commercialized. And while larger numbers of Americans are celebrating Christmas without overt religious components, the vast majority still partake in some sort of sectarian activity as part of the holiday.

A Plethora Of Pulpit Politicking Problems?: Far-Right Pastors Prepare For Electoral Bids

The state of Tennessee used to have a law that banned members of the clergy from running for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 rightfully declared this provision unconstitutional.

In the United States, pretty much all adults, with very few exceptions, have the right to run for public office. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If democracy means anything, it means the right to choose our own leaders. Disqualifying people from the ballot because of their race, gender or religious beliefs is un-American.

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