Philadelphia is home to the National Constitution Center, and it’s clear that members of the Philadelphia City Council ought to hop on down there and give our nation’s governing document a close read.
By Nate Hennagin
Here is just a sampling of what has been going on in the states recently:
A few months ago, I blogged about a Colorado public school district that was considering a voucher scheme that would allow some students to attend religious and other private schools.
I explained then that vouchers are a bad idea all around. Tuition subsidies for religious schools undermine church-state separation, hurt the public schools and have not improved student performance in places where they’ve been tried.
We’ve criticized former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum on this blog before for his poor understanding of church-state separation.
Santorum believes President John F. Kennedy was wrong when, in a famous 1960 speech, Kennedy vowed to be the president of all people and make his policy decisions not on the basis of what his Roman Catholic faith demanded but on the grounds of what was good for the country.
The influx of “Tea Party” conservatives who flooded the U.S. Congress and many state legislatures earlier this year promised to focus on jobs and the economy. So why are getting a relentless barrage of bills on social issues?
Consider Missouri. The state House of Representatives there recently passed a so-called “Religious Freedom Amendment” that Religious Right groups think is wonderful. Everyone else ought to be terrified.
The Orange County AU chapter’s March event features Judge Jim Gray. He will be speaking on: "Separation of Church & State: The Most Important War and Peace Issue of the 21st Century." He has noted that some consider this a controversial topic because they see it as an attack on religion. In response he says: “I simply do not agree with that assessment. I view this separation as being one of the most important war-and-peace issues of the 21st century. Of course there will be some exceptions, but in general governments that maintain the separation of church and state will be far less likely to be involved in war than those that do not. For example, we all should be concerned today about the governments of Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and others where religion plays a large part in the affairs of government.” Given the events of recent weeks this will be very timely.
“As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in school.”
That’s an aphorism I’ve seen often on bumper stickers and t-shirts, but I never thought public school officials would adopt it as a matter of official policy.
The Baltimore Sun reported yesterday that Principal Jael Yon of Northeast Baltimore's Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School scheduled a special prayer service in preparation for state-mandated tests.
When it comes to school vouchers, Indiana State Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) seems to get it.
The Republican lawmaker doesn’t want to support an Indiana bill that would use public funds to send students to religious and other private schools. Steele is the first Republican legislator in the state to voice opposition to the proposal.
Every year, you can count on state legislators coming along with proposals for public schools to teach “about” the Bible and its influence on art and literature.
It sounds good in theory. After all, the Supreme Court has never said that objective study about religion is unconstitutional.
By Nate Hennagin
On Thursday, March 10, the Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, Representative Peter King (R-NY), will hold a hearing titled, "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response." AU has submitted testimony to oppose the structure and focus of this hearing, as we believe it presents a serious threat to religious liberty.