An Islamic school in Virginia has made some changes to its textbooks in an effort to tamp down criticism, the Associated Press has reported.
The Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria has been under fire for years because some of the books used at the private school promote extremely strict interpretations of Islam and are highly critical of other faiths. Read more
Does the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty need updating?
As many of you probably know, the Virginia Statute, approved by the state legislature in 1786, ended the Anglican Established Church and guaranteed broad freedom of religion in the commonwealth for the first time.
In ringing language written by Thomas Jefferson, the Statute proclaimed that "no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever." Read more
Today, the Roman Catholic bishops sponsored a rally at the Connecticut Capitol building in support of church-state separation. They didn't exactly bill it that way, but that's what it was.
Considering this is the same church hierarchy that speaks so adamantly against same-sex marriage and reproductive rights -- and believes that our country's laws should reflect the church's doctrines on these issues -- a rally to support the church-state wall seems rather ironic. Read more
Few national politicians have been a better friend to the Religious Right than U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Over the years, I've attended several Religious Right meetings where Brownback spoke. He always received a hero's welcome before adoring crowds. Read more
I've been to Oklahoma to speak on several occasions and know that there are lots of strong advocates of church-state separation there. AU has chapters in Oklahoma City and Norman, and Bruce Prescott, a member of the Americans United Board of Trustees, runs Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists. Journalist Frosty Troy's Oklahoma Observer frequently slams the Religious Right. Read more
Let's pretend it's the middle of October, and John Doe and Jane Smith are both seeking the same U.S. Senate seat. Doe, who is down a few points in the polls, hears a rumor that Smith attended a fund-raiser sponsored by a Jewish group at the home of a couple who happen to be Jewish.
Doe's campaign runs a television ad, replete with scary music, that says: "Jewish Americans and Jane Smith. She hid from cameras. Took 'Jewish' money. What did Jane Smith promise in return?" Read more
It's the age of MySpace and Facebook, text messages and e-mail, and for some fundamentalist evangelists, maybe even e-proselytizing.
According to reports from two Washington state newspapers, a local middle school student recently received this MySpace message from a 19-year-old church youth leader:
"Hey, 628 tonight! 6 o clock, free espresso for visitors. Super rad games and activities. Hang out with cool people. Plus you are really cool so it would just make it that much cooler. Are you going to be there? If you need a ride, I can hook it up:)" Read more
The government cannot build or maintain houses of worship. If your church needs a new roof or furnace, the congregation will have to raise the funds to pay for that, or take out a loan. That's so obvious it should be a no-brainer. Read more