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Pomp And Circumvention: Graduating Senior Had No Right To Substitute Sermon For Speech, Says Court

Students break the rules and schools discipline them.

It's not a revolutionary concept, yet the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was forced to issue a ruling Friday that said just that.

The decision stemmed from a controversy over a graduation speech at a Colorado public high school, and the opinion reaffirms that school officials have every right to maintain religious neutrality at commencements. Read more

A Bridge Too Far: Vatican Ambassador Nominee Builds Wrong Edifice

President Barack Obama has named his new ambassador to the Holy See, and nominee Miguel H. Diaz has already announced his understanding of the job.

"If confirmed by the U.S. Senate," said Diaz in a statement. "I will continue the work of my predecessors and build upon 25 years of formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See. I wish to be a bridge between our nation and the Holy See."

A bridge between our nation and the Holy See. Read more

Falwell Falsehoods: Liberty U. Chancellor Lies About Americans United

A propensity toward prevarication seems to run in the Falwell family.

Americans United staffers used to repeatedly note that the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. once preached a sermon in which he said, "I hope to live to see the day, when, as in the early days of our country, there won't be any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" Read more

School For Scandal: Liberty University's Latest Venture Into Partisanship

Many young people these days tend to look at college in a utilitarian light: They ask, "What can I study that will land me a good job and lead to a comfortable life?"

I understand that impulse. But I'd also like to think there are other reasons for going to college – say, to expand your horizons. A good university education should expose you to new ideas and challenge your way of thinking, not just reinforce your pre-existing biases. Read more

Survey Says: Mainline Clergy Like Church-State Separation

An interesting survey was issued recently, indicating that many members of the clergy remain strong supporters of church-state separation.

The 2009 Clergy Voices Survey, issued May 20, sampled mainline clergy on their views regarding the separation of church and state.   The findings were really rather encouraging. Read more

Partisan Politicking Pugilists: Debate Brings Together Opponents And Proponents Of Church Electioneering

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="247" caption="The Rev. Barry W. Lynn"][/caption]

Sometimes, a good, old-fashioned debate is the best way to hash out a contentious public issue.

I attended an event like this yesterday at the National Press Club here in Washington, where Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn participated in spirited (but polite) verbal bout over pulpit politicking. Read more

Delaware Discord: Sussex Council's Recitation Of Lord's Prayer Sparks Conflict

Rehoboth Beach, Del., is sometimes called "the nation's summer capital." Folks from the Washington, D.C., area flock there when the August swelter descends upon us. The resort town is known for its great restaurants, interesting shops, a fun boardwalk and generally progressive viewpoint.

Surrounding Sussex County, however, has a different reputation. The largest county in little Delaware is known for its conservative approach to both religion and politics. Critics sometimes call it "Dela-bama" and that comparison to Alabama is not meant as a compliment. Read more

Demonizing For Dollars: Religious Right Ready To Attack Supreme Court Nominee

Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter's decision to retire and return to his farm in New Hampshire has really got the Religious Right's knickers in knots – but also has given movement leaders an opportunity.

President Barack Obama is expected to name Souter's replacement soon, and chances are the Religious Right isn't going to like that person's record.

What to do?

Answer: Go negative. Read more