On Tuesday I had the opportunity to take my cousin Sam, visiting from London, to a luncheon at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. A political studies student at Leeds University, he was interested to learn about the impact of religion on our national politics. Read more
Last month I wrote a story for Church & State speculating about possible new leaders for the Religious Right. I focused on Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Warren and others.
One person I did not think to include was Ralph Reed, the one-time wunderkind who served as executive director of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition from 1989 to 1997. Read more
Americans United reacted quickly when word spread recently that officials at Liberty University had revoked university recognition of a student Democratic Party club.
AU, noting that recognition and funding were still being extended to a Republican club on campus, asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the matter. Liberty University, as a tax-exempt institution, could not lawfully favor one party over another, Americans United asserted. Read more
With public schools facing budget cuts, most school officials are looking for ways to spread each dollar as far as it can go.
One would think that means the school would us that money to pay teachers, improve the curriculum, maintain the building and buy school supplies. That's probably what Santa Rosa County School District would prefer to do as well, except, they failed to follow sound constitutional advice and now must use precious public funds on attorneys' fees. Read more
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is known for lots of things – "Sesame Street," Barney the purple dinosaur, "The Newshour," insightful documentaries, etc.
One thing PBS has not been associated with is promoting religion. PBS, of course, can air documentaries and other programs about religion, its history and its effect on culture. But proselytization and indoctrination should be verboten in a publicly funded institution that aspires to serve the public interest. Read more
I grew up in Ohio in late '80s through the '90s. My parents, sisters and I were one of the few South Asian families in town, and I was one of only two Hindu students in my graduating class of nearly 350 students.
Fortunately for me, it mattered little that I was Hindu and most of my classmates were Christian. I can't really remember any time the school brought in religion -- a rarity I appreciated living so close to the Bible belt.
But had I been in sixth grade in 1962 rather than 1992, things might have been different. Read more
Yesterday, I took the day off to attend a special end-of-the-year event at my son's school: He and other members of his fifth-grade class wrote and illustrated stories, which they bound in books and read aloud to visiting parents.
As I surveyed the classroom full of eager students and proud parents, I couldn't help but be struck by the diversity. All races were represented, and several kids mentioned being born in other countries. Read more
A public school in Washington state has decided to stop school volunteers from proselytizing while on campus.
It's an overdue policy -- and the subject of one of my blogs from months ago. We'd like to commend officials at the Marysville School District for responding to complaints from concerned parents and taking this step in the right direction. Read more
Imagine this: You've been having a really rough day at work, finding it hard to focus on anything other than your impending doctor's appointment. When 5:00 rolls around, you take a deep breath, hop in your car and start towards his office while futzing with your iPod looking for your favorite Springsteen song. Sweaty palms, you can't stop thinking about how apprehensive you are -- you've never been one for needles.