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

Playing With Fire: Politics, Religion And Holy War

Tom Ehrich is fed up with the Religious Right's assault on American freedom. Ehrich, an Episcopal priest and columnist for the Religion News Service, tackled that topic in a July 6 RNS essay.

"In the 150 years preceding America's independence," writes Ehrich, "the religious did their best to carry on Europe's faith wars. Tensions within Protestantism and between Protestants and Roman Catholics did much to undermine American Colonial life.

'Faith-Based' Stumbling Block

Although the White House scheme to dole out tax dollars to religious ministries never passed Congress, the executive branch nonetheless has been cutting checks to advance President George W. Bush's "faith-based" initiative. A new federal court ruling published this week dealt this backdoor scheme a significant blow.

Senate Confirms Holmes For Federal Bench

Despite strong reservations among civil liberties activists, the Senate yesterday voted 51-46 to confirm the Bush administration's nomination of James Leon Holmes to a federal court in Arkansas, reports The New York Times. The extreme positions taken by Holmes in a number of strongly worded articles raised red flags for defenders of church-state separation about his willingness to uphold the Constitution.

Memo To Jerry Falwell: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

On CNBC's "Capital Report" July 2, Americans United's Barry Lynn and Religious Right warhorse Jerry Falwell had a lively conversation about the role of religion in the presidential campaign. Lynn expressed grave concern about a Bush-Cheney campaign memo that urged church volunteers to enlist their congregations in electioneering activity. He noted that churches could get into trouble with the Internal Revenue Service if they violate the federal tax law ban on partisan activities.

Who Got The Room For Moon?: The Plot Thickens

It has become the story that will not die: Why was the Rev. Sun Myung Moon given a robe and crown in a U.S. Senate office building March 23, and why did several members of Congress attend? This morning, a Moon front group, the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, held a press conference in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club to explain what the coronation was all about.

Kansas Preacher Gets Political

The Rev. Jerry Johnston of Oakland Park, Kan., recently organized a group of local clergy to argue that churches must get more involved in politics. Upset about the Kansas legislature's defeat of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Johnston began distributing a pamphlet containing background information on incumbent state legislators from the area. If they supported the amendment against gay marriage, the word YES appears by their picture.

Ralph Reed: Ramblin, 'Gamblin' Man?

An upcoming issue of The Nation (July 12) will carry a terrific piece about former Christian Coalition Executive Director Ralph Reed's recent work on behalf of legalized gambling.

When Reed ran the hyper-moralistic Coalition in the 1990s, he denounced state-sponsored gambling as anti-family. As Jack Newfield points out in The Nation, Reed once called the spread of gambling "a cancer on the American body politic" that was "stealing food from the mouths of children."

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