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

Partisan Politics In The Pulpit: The LDS Church Says No

It’s not often AU can say this -- but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on to something.

The LDS church has made a point to remind its senior leaders to remain politically neutral in the upcoming elections.

“The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians,” church president Thomas S. Monson and his senior counselors said in a letter sent to top church leaders recently. The letter was also posted as a statement on the church’s website.

Faith, Freedom And Frankfurters: An Independence Day Reflection

Last week, I gave a talk about church-state history at my wife’s church. I called my speech “The ‘Christian Nation’ Myth.”

Although I’m not an attorney, I laid out the case against the idea that the United States is some sort of officially Christian nation as one would in a courtroom, by marshaling the evidence.  I put forth the following points:

The Fourth Of July And Freedom: Why Texas Gov. Perry Doesn’t Understand America

I will be celebrating this July 4th with my family in Michigan, where I’m about to head in a few hours.

I’ll be attending a parade on Monday and watching some fireworks with my niece and nephew, who are second-generation Americans. Since my niece was three, she’s boasted that she is an American. Now that she is a bit older (she turned five in June), she may finally start to understand what that really means.

Schools For Scandal: Fla. Voucher Program Proves A Boon To Con Artists

It’s an article of faith among school voucher proponents that if we move toward a privatized system of education, competition will spur the creation of excellent schools.

That’s the theory. How does it work out in real life?

Not so well. In Florida, which has been using students with physical and learning disabilities as subjects in a privatization experiment, parents are learning the hard way that many private schools don’t really care about educating children. Their owners are just interested in making a fast buck.

Divisive Game: North Carolina Town Residents Play Capture The Flag

Some of you might recall a bit of a fuss that erupted in the town of King, N.C., last year over the flying of a Christian flag in a public park that serves as a veterans’ memorial.

When Americans United protested on behalf of a local veteran, city officials at first agreed (reluctantly) that to remove the Christian symbol. AU and the vet argued that a sectarian symbol like the cross does not represent all war dead.

Faith-Based Frenzy: Kansas Governor Preaches Religion As Solution To Social Problems

Since Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s first day in office, he has made it clear that he no problems blurring the church-state line.

In January, he all but turned his swearing-in ceremony into a religious revival, and he noted his intention to use religion as a way to help the state face its economic and social problems. It now seems those plans are well on their way.

Advice To Giles County: Thou Shalt Not Gamble With Scarce Public School Funds

Across the country, cash-strapped public schools are scrambling to keep it together. In many districts, teacher salaries are stagnant, and class sizes are growing.

This would not seem to be a good time for any public school to risk losing scarce funds by going on a Ten Commandments crusade.

Yet that’s exactly what’s going on in Giles County, Va. The school board there voted 3-2 earlier this week to bring a display of the Commandments and nine other “historic documents” to the district’s schools.

Misguided Mission: Pa. Mayor Leads Prayer And Fasting To Balance The Budget

What’s the best way to solve a city’s piling debt? According to Harrisburg, Pa., Mayor Linda Thompson, it’s organizing a prayer and fasting campaign.

“Things that are above and beyond my control; I need God,” Thompson told WHTM TV, the region’s ABC affiliate. “I depend on Him for guidance. Spiritual guidance. That’s why it’s really no struggle for me to join this fast and prayer.”

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