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

The Italian Job: Religious Right Lawyers Sell Out Minority Evangelicals In Crucifix Case

Religious Right legal groups are all excited over a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights dealing with crucifix displays in public schools in Italy.

The European high court, ruling 15-2, overturned a lower court decision and declared that the crucifixes can stay. They don’t oppress anyone’s rights, the court said, and European nations are entitled to some latitude in dealing with topics such as this.

Army Of Clones: Religious Right Leader Colson Commissions ‘Centurions’ For The Culture War

The Washington Post featured a scary article today about Charles Colson, the Nixon-era hatchet-man turned Religious Right commanding general.

Colson, the newspaper says, is quietly training a cadre of fundamentalist true believers who will take their “biblical worldview” into every area of life, including American politics.

Forgive Us Our Debts?: Political Church In Iowa Faces Bankruptcy

Politicizing churches is a bad idea for lots of reasons. Not only it is illegal for non-profit organizations to endorse or oppose candidates, it also can divide congregations and lead to other types of problems.

Exhibit A is Cornerstone World Outreach, a church in Sioux City, Iowa. Last year, Cornerstone Pastor Cary K. Gordon decided to use his house of worship to launch an effort to recall three Iowa Supreme Court justices. Gordon was angry that the three, who faced retention elections, had voted to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

Voucher Blunder: Colorado School District Approves ‘School Choice’ Scheme

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.

Slander From Santorum: Former Senator Once Again Proves That He’s No Jack Kennedy

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.

Alarming Amendment: Missouri Legislators Are Placing Religious Liberty In Jeopardy

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.

Orange County (CA) AU Hosts Judge Jim Gray

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.

Inappropriate Test Prep: Baltimore Principal Leads Students In Prayer

“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.

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