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The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Speaking Truth To Power: Martin Luther King On Church And State

Note: Today is the federal observance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. This blog post is a re-publication on an item that originally appeared on Jan. 13, 2006.

Today marks the federal observance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. Since his tragic assassination on April 4, 1968, King’s memory has been pressed into service in highly unusual ways that King himself would not have supported.

Superb Statute: Celebrate Religious Liberty January 16

Jan. 16 is National Religious Freedom Day.

The day was created by Congress in 1993, and every year the president issues a proclamation. (The 2011 proclamation hasn’t been released yet, but you can read the 2010 one here.) The day is designed to commemorate the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on Jan. 16, 1786.

A Tale Of Two States: Kansas Opts For Government-Sponsored Religion, While Hawaii Respects Diversity

This month, new officials across the country are taking office and getting ready for their chance to govern.

How they start off their term often sends a strong message about their respect for church-state separation and religious diversity. Unfortunately, some officials don’t bother to follow the constitutional principle at all.

Freshwater Fired: Ohio Teacher’s Classroom Crusade – Finally – Comes To An End

We’ve written several times about the antics of John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio, who was accused of teaching creationism and promoting religion in class.

It took a while, but there is good news to report: Freshwater has been fired.

Chafee Chafes Cleric: New Rhode Island Governor Opts Out Of Government-Sponsored Prayer

Lincoln D. Chafee may be new to the Rhode Island governor’s office, but he certainly isn’t new to the Constitution.

According to a report in the Providence Journal, Chafee did not follow in his predecessors’ footsteps by intermingling religion and government in his inaugural activities. Instead, the new governor chose not to hold an inaugural public prayer service on the morning of his swearing-in.

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.

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