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

Thomas Jefferson, A ‘Mammoth Cheese’ And The Church-State Wall: A New Year’s Day Tale

Yesterday, the country marked an important anniversary dealing with religious freedom that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Jan. 1, 1802, was a busy day at the White House for President Thomas Jefferson, who had a special visitor. His friend John Leland arrived from Massachusetts with a gift: a 1,200-pound wheel of cheese.

Known as the “mammoth cheese,” the wheel was a present from Jefferson’s Baptist admirers in New England. It was accompanied by a card reading, “The Greatest Cheese in America for the Greatest Man in America!”

Here Are The Top Ten Church-State Stories From 2016

In late December, you start seeing “Top Ten” lists for the year that was. So without further ado, here are the Top Ten Church-State Stories from 2016 (in my humble opinion, at least):

A Maine Pagan Priest Can Wear Horns In An Official Photo

A Maine pagan has won the right to wear goat horns in a state-issued identification card. This is an example of the government treating all religions equally, and that’s a good thing.

Phelan Moonsong, 56, is a Pagan minister and a devotee of Pan. He has been wearing the goat horns since 2009, when he picked them up at a gathering of Pagan men.

To Moonsong, the horns are important religious attire.

AU Files Supreme Court Brief Denouncing U.S. Detention And Torture Of Muslims

Top U.S. Department of Justice and immigration officials should face legal scrutiny for the unconstitutional detention and torture of Muslims living peacefully in the U.S. in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Americans United told the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday.

Here We Go Again: Trump May Still Believe in Muslim Ban

A few days ago, a reporter asked President-elect Donald J. Trump about whether recent attacks in Berlin and Turkey had caused him to rethink or reevaluate his plans for a Muslim ban or Muslim registry. He responded, “You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right.”

Will Donald Trump Give Some Late Gifts To The Religious Right?

It hasn’t been a secret what members of the Religious Right sought under their Christmas trees this year, and voters playing the role of Santa Claus delivered: Donald Trump for president.

Roy Moore In The U.S. Senate? Yes, It Could Happen.

If U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is confirmed as U.S. attorney general, his seat in the Senate will be open. The governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley (R), will have to a name a replacement to fill out the rest of Sessions’ term, which expires in 2020. 

Bentley is getting a head start on things by interviewing potential replacements. One of the names on his short list may surprise you: It’s Roy Moore.

Betsy DeVos Is Known For Promoting Vouchers, But Her Take On Charter Schools Also Raises Religious-Liberty Concerns

President-elect Donald Trump has picked Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Education Department. DeVos is infamous for leading the crusade to create private school vouchers, but she’s also known for her Wild West approach to charter schools – and that should worry religious-liberty watchdogs. 

I’m Excited To Join The Americans United Team!

Editor’s Note: Liz Hayes is Americans United’s new assistant director of communications. In this blog post, she explains what motivated her to want to work for Americans United.

I was born, raised and worked as a journalist for nearly 15 years in western Pennsylvania in the suburbs of Pittsburgh – the politically purple borderlands where liberalism drains into the conservative rural vastness that smears the center of the state red.

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