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Doubting Thomas: Cranky Columnist Cal Slanders America's Public School System

A few years ago, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas began rebuking the Religious Right. In a remarkable turn-around, the former Moral Majority official argued that conservative Christians would do better to persuade people that their theology is correct, not use the power of government to force it.

That was a welcome point of view. But it was apparently a rare bout with common sense for Thomas. He's still cranking out some rather extreme columns. One from this week, for example, is a real doozy. Read more

Land Mine: Southern Baptist Lobbyist's Yiddish Slur Against Jewish Senator Detonates Controversy

Speaking at the Criswell Theological Seminary in Dallas in late January, Southern Baptist Convention lobbyist Richard Land called U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) that "schmuck from New York."

Land was worked into a lather recalling the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice John Roberts, in which Schumer pressed the judicial nominee on important questions about individual rights.

In Yiddish, "schmuck" literally means – how can I put this on a family-friendly site? – "male genitalia." Read more

Hypocrisy Alert!: Religious Right White House Liaison Resigns Over Plagiarism

Religious Right activists are quick to tell us all how we should live our lives. Essentially, they think they are good, decent and righteous, and the rest of us aren't. They want legislation to impose their set of values on everyone, based on their reading of certain Bible passages.

But isn't it funny, though, how often the Religious Right folks want us to do as they say, not as they do? Read more

Prayer Brawl: California Chaplain Sparks Religious Spat In Legislature

California lawmakers may really be pressed with tough issues facing their constituencies, ranging from educational to environmental concerns. But some of them find themselves distracted by a religious brouhaha that has erupted in the Capitol in Sacramento.

This week, quasi-official Chaplain Ralph Drollinger ignited a religious tit-for-tat, when he touted his Bible study and disparaged a more religiously inclusive group of lawmakers as "disgusting to our Lord." Read more

Delaware Disgrace: Family Settles Religion-In-Schools Lawsuit After Despicable Treatment

Every once in a while I run into someone at a social function who seems puzzled about the work I do.

"Separation of church and state?" they say. "That was all taken care of years ago. It's in the Constitution; we don't have to worry about it any more."

I think I'll carry around an article that ran in today's New York Times to hand to the next person who says that. Read more

School Vouchers Flunk Again: Milwaukee Study Shows 'Choice' Scheme Doesn't Work

A new study of the Milwaukee school voucher program shows that children receiving publicly financed tuition at religious and other private schools perform no better academically than their peers in public schools.

The results are surely disappointing for voucher supporters. Their premise rests on the assumption that children removed from "failing" public schools will fulfill their academic potential at private schools. Read more

Trading Faiths: Pew Survey Underscores The Power Of The Right To Choose Religion

I grew up in a large Irish Catholic family with eight brothers and sisters. Some of my siblings remain in the Catholic Church, but over the years, others have gone elsewhere. My oldest sister is a Mormon, and my youngest attends Unitarian services. One brother is a Lutheran; another has no affiliation at all.

I used to think my family was a little unusual – so much spiritual seeking and so much church hopping. Read more

Shutting InnerChange's Doors: Iowa Corrections Officials Cut Ties To Prison Ministry Program

There are constitutionally sound ways to ensure that prisoners have the ability to nurture their religious sides. But turning over an entire wing of a state correctional facility to a religious group bent on converting prisoners is never the way to go.

It took a lawsuit and years of costly litigation, but state officials in Iowa have finally severed close ties with the InnerChange program, an around-the-clock fundamentalist Christian ministry run by Prison Fellowship Ministries. Read more

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