By Nate Hennagin
There is good news and bad news from the state of South Carolina today.
Let’s start with the good news: Members of the Florence School District 1 School Board have agreed to stop sending sectarian email messages to staff after Americans United advised against the practice.
It’s a gorgeous spring day in Washington today. Sadly, it’s likely to be an ugly day for church-state separation.
This afternoon, both houses of Congress are expected to vote on a budget deal that includes federal taxpayer funding to reauthorize and expand the Washington, D.C., school voucher program.
Today is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, and my modest gift to him is to debunk the latest David Barton nonsense about our third president.
Barton, a Religious Right historical revisionist who promotes discredited “Christian nation” propaganda, has lately taken aim at one of Jefferson’s most famous projects: The so-called “Jefferson Bible.” As usual, Barton’s version has only a passing relationship with the truth.
Americans United often points out the church-state separation is not only good for government, it’s also good for religion.
Yesterday, three members of the clergy – a Baptist minister, a Presbyterian minister and a rabbi – made that clear in a letter to Florida legislators. They wrote to oppose SJR 1218, a measure that tears down the church-state wall erected by the state constitution.
The Orange County chapter’s April 16th event features Professor Wendy Gonaver. She will be speaking on: "Freedom of Religion vs. the State Loyalty Oath: A Quaker Pacifist’s Story.” In 2007 Wendy Gonaver was fired from California State University, Fullerton when she asked to submit an addendum to the state loyalty oath. Her objection: As a Quaker Pacifist she wanted to be clear that the obligation to “defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic” did not include taking up arms.
The 11th-hour budget deal that averted a shutdown of the federal government has been the talk of the nation. Pundits are going over the agreement with a microscope, listing the winners and losers.
We already know one loser: religious liberty.
Some people just have to learn everything the hard way.
According to a Louisiana newspaper, the Rapides Parish Police Jury has voted 8-1 to put the Ten Commandments on courtroom walls. (A police jury is what the people in some parts of Louisiana call their county council; its members are elected by the voters.)
The jury approved a motion to display the Decalogue, despite a strong warning from jury legal counsel.
The state of New York faces a daunting budget shortfall of $10 billion. The state’s public schools and universities have been told to expect a 10 percent across-the-board funding cut.
So naturally it’s time for state legislators to approve an $18 million appropriation for Orthodox Jewish seminary students.