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

Questionable Quiz: Why The Military’s ‘Spiritual Fitness’ Test Flunks

Let’s say you’re applying for a job. You would expect to be rated on your skills, work experience and abilities, education level and even your attitude.

What about your “spiritual fitness”?

Unless you’re applying to be the minister of a local church, it shouldn’t matter, right? What you believe (or don’t believe) about God would seem to have little bearing on your ability to work at a widget factory, do office work or sell cars.

Congress And Religion: Who Prays Where – And Why It Doesn’t Much Matter

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life just released some interesting information about the 112th Congress.

Despite being vastly different politically from the 111th Congress, it’s not all that different religiously, according to Pew’s analysis. Nor are members’ religious affiliations much different than the general public.

Cross Clarification: Appeals Court Rules That Central Symbol Of Christianity Does Not Represent All War Dead

A federal appeals court yesterday ruled that a 43-foot cross atop Mt. Soledad near San Diego is an example of government favoritism toward one religion and is thus unconstitutional.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but, incredibly, this case has been knocking around in the courts for two decades. More remarkably, a lower court ruled in 2008 that the cross is a secular symbol that memorializes all war dead.

Founded On Freedom: Treaty With Tripoli Reminds U.S. Of Our Origins

A new year is just getting started and Religious Right activists are already agitating for a government based on their fundamentalist Christian beliefs.

Blogger Shane Vander Hart discusses a new book by Dr. Wayne Grudem, professor of systematic theology at Phoenix Seminary, called Politics According to the Bible. In Grudem’s tome, he claims that anyone who thinks the government should exclude religion is plain wrong.

‘Equal Access’ In Utah: Gay-Straight Alliances At Public Schools Have The Religious Right To Thank

Back in the 1980s, a number of Religious Right groups got a bright idea: Since public schools can’t legally sponsor prayer and other religious activities, perhaps it would be better to foster the creation of student-run clubs in high schools that would meet during non-instructional time to pray, read the Bible and talk about religion. A draft bill was proposed in Congress.

New Poll says 4 in 10 Americans Believe in Strict Creationism

By Nate Hennagin

A new Gallup Poll released last week says that 40% of Americans believe in a strict creationist view of the world in which evolution did not take place and God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago. Among those who did not fall into that category, 38% believe that evolution did take place, but was guided by a higher power and 16% believe human life evolved without the involvement of any kind of deity.

Dear Friends Of Religious Freedom: A Timely Letter From Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson and the Baptists didn’t have much in common when it came to theology.

Jefferson, a deist, thought the moral teachings of Jesus were sublime, but he didn’t believe in the virgin birth, the divinity of Jesus or the inerrancy of the Bible. He thought the miracles reported in the New Testament were myths, and he considered the Christian doctrine of the Trinity incomprehensible.

Needless to say, his founding-era Baptist compatriots disagreed – to put it mildly.

Pulpit Politicking Panned: Once Again, Americans Say No To Church Electioneering

In the run-up to last month’s elections, Americans United had to work overtime to combat church-based electioneering.

The Alliance Defense Fund and its allies in the Religious Right were working to persuade pastors to endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit during Sunday services. AU repeatedly reminded pastors and congregants that such actions are a violation of federal law. Under the Internal Revenue Code, all 501(c)(3) non-profit groups are barred from intervening in campaigns by endorsing or opposing candidates.

Happy Holidays, Mr. French!: Why The Religious Right Wants To Control Christmas

Last night, my wife and I attended the annual winter concert at my son’s middle school. Paul plays a mean clarinet, and I was proud to see him on stage with the advanced band tooting away on a variety of songs.

The pieces were drawn from various cultures. We heard an old Russian song called “Minka’s Sleigh Ride,” a Japanese folk tune titled “Sakura, Sakura” and my personal favorite – “The Three-Minute Nutcracker,” all of your favorite numbers from the Nutcracker ballet condensed into 180 seconds.

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