As 2015 winds down, you’ll encounter a lot of lists – best movies of the year, what’s hot and what’s not and so on. Well, here’s our version of that: a list of what we at “The Wall of Separation” consider to be the Top Ten church-state stories of 2015:
A new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll reports that Americans overwhelmingly prioritize the religious freedom rights of Christians over other faith groups.
The results, released early this morning, suggest that 82 percent of Americans believe that it’s important for the U.S. government to protect Christians. Seventy percent said the same for Jews.
The former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa have finally paid a state-mandated fine for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple – months after they were ordered to do so.
Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer in July, but in October, the Kleins announced that they would not comply with the order while it was on appeal.
Pope Francis’ reputation for being relatively liberal coupled with the fact that marriage equality is the law of the land in the United States has left many Americans hoping that the Roman Catholic Church is prepared to soften its stance on same-sex unions. But if recent events in Slovenia are any indication, the church has yet to change its mind.
People sometimes ask me why I got so interested in defending separation of church and state. The answer is simple: As a kid, I was sent to a Catholic school for eight years.
Don’t get me wrong. I had a lot of good teachers there and learned many things. But I found the school’s tendency to micro-manage prayer troubling. Three times a day, like clockwork, a nun, priest or lay teacher would order everyone to stand up and pray. In unison, we would chant one of two prayers – the “Our Father” or the “Hail Mary” – before sitting down for the lesson.
Every few days I can count on getting a press release from something called the American Pastors Network quoting a guy named Sam Rohrer. Rohrer is one of these far-right, fundamentalist characters who is always displeased about something.
Most often, Rohrer is unhappy because people aren’t doing what he thinks they ought to do. Take America’s pastors, for example. They aren’t beating on the gays enough.
A new study says that a single county policy spawned at least 65 bills to promote creationism in American public schools. Nicholas J. Matzke, a phylogeneticist based at the Australian National University, traced the bills back to a 2006 Ouachita Parish, La., curriculum policy that encouraged teachers “to help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories.”
Ten years ago, Americans United began looking into allegations of improper promotion of fundamentalist Christianity at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
A Virginia public school system is grappling with questions over the proper role of religion.