Yesterday, Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman stood before her colleagues and offered an invocation. At first, it appeared to be just like any other day in the statehouse, where the House always opens its session with a prayer. But then Rep. Mark Finchem stood up, alleged that the prayer violated House rules and asked to give a substitute prayer. Finchem’s objection: Salman is an atheist and her prayer did not speak to what he understood to be a higher power.
President-elect Donald Trump has picked Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Education Department. DeVos is infamous for leading the crusade to create private school vouchers, but she’s also known for her Wild West approach to charter schools – and that should worry religious-liberty watchdogs.
Students attending Heritage Academy, a string of charter schools in three Arizona cities, are learning some unusual things.
In an American Government class and other courses, students are taught that non-believers are mentally unfit, the Constitution was inspired by the Bible and evolution is an unsound theory.
The American Government course looks to be drenched in religion. It’s based on 28 principles that supposedly are required for sound government. Many of them are religious in nature.
“All things were created by God, therefore upon Him all mankind are equally dependent, and to Him they are equally responsible.”
That sentence appears in a required textbook used in the American Government class at Heritage Academy, a public charter school for seventh through twelfth graders with three campusus near Phoenix, Ariz.
A public charter school in Arizona is violating the U.S. Constitution and Arizona Constitution by pushing religion on students in its classes, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
Eleven scientists have produced a new book titled The Grand Canyon: Monument To An Ancient Earth that debunks the claims of biblical creationists concerning the age and formation of Arizona’s famed Grand Canyon.
The book includes 255 photographs (most in color), 17 photographs of artwork and 104 diagrams or sketches. It is available at Amazon.com and other online sellers and is being sold at all eight bookstores operating within Grand Canyon National Park.
Officials in an Arizona town have decided to change the community’s invocation policy after Americans United raised the possibility of a lawsuit.
Members of the Chino Valley Town Council had been in the habit of reciting mostly Christian prayers out loud before meetings. The new policy, approved unanimously, calls for them to pray together before meetings out of public view after some members of the community complained.
The Phoenix City Council has decided to once again begin its meetings with official prayers after a brief flirtation with an opening moment of silence lead to community backlash.
The city council voted 6-2 March 23 to bring back spoken prayers to its meetings. The invocations may only be made by chaplains for the local police and fire departments.
Arizona State Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake), a creationist, has been named chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. Senate President Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) appointed her late last December.
According to the Arizona Republic, Allen is a controversial figure in the legislature. The senator, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said in 2009 that she believes God created the world 6,000 years prior.
In 2013, she used her public Facebook page to posit that the government had released poisonous chemtrails over her constituency.