Part of my job involves reading Religious Right fund-raising mail and newsletters. It's like stepping into some Bizarro World where up is down, black is white, and truth is determined not by factual evidence but by whatever the Maximum Leader says.
The Family Research Council's Washington Watch is a good example of this. It's always entertaining.
"How FRC Is Fighting Tax-Funded Atheism in Schools," blared the envelope of a recent mailing. As I opened it, I thought to myself, "I'll bet this is about evolution." Read more
Do you have your free tickets to the national simulcast of "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Separation of Church and State...but Were Afraid to Ask!" yet?
If not, you better hurry! The event is just two days away and tickets are going fast. Thirty-seven theaters (up from the original 25) nationwide will run the simulcast this Wednesday evening.
Did I mention that's just two days from today? Read more
It's a fairly tired truism that when government gets involved in the business of prayer, bad things are bound to happen.
Yet government meddling in religion never seems to be a thing of the past. Over and over again, we witness legislatures interfering in what ought to be private matters about prayer. At some point in time, sooner, rather than later I would hope, it would be a great relief if lawmakers at every level from coast to coast were to get a clue and quit playing the religion card. Read more
Last year Americans United sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Senate, asking the leadership to revise that body's prayer policy. Like a lot of government bodies, the state Senate opens with a prayer, often one delivered by a guest minister.
AU had received complaints from Keystone State residents who noticed that the prayers were almost always Christian. We asked the members of the Senate to use non-sectarian prayers instead, noting that the Supreme Court has allowed these types of prayers before meetings of government bodies but not sectarian ones. Read more
The other day, Americans United received an e-mail complaining that "in California schools classrooms, 7th graders are being told by their teachers/school board/etc. to emulate Islam for a week....They're told to dress like Muslims... pray like Muslims... memorize parts of the Koran... and perform a jihad like them.... etc." (sic)
That's odd, I thought. I knew the situation the writer was referring to, but it happened over five years ago – and the facts weren't straight. Why was I getting this e-mail now? Read more
In 2001, a young man in Michigan named Joseph R. Hanas was arrested for possession of marijuana. He pleaded guilty and was told he could avoid prison by entering a drug rehabilitation program.
The program Hanas ended up in is called Inner City Christian Outreach. It is sponsored by a Pentecostal church. Hanas is Catholic, and upon his arrival at the program, his rosary and prayer book were confiscated. He was told Catholicism is a form of witchcraft and that he would not be allowed to see a priest. Read more
The Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI remain miffed with a number of American Catholic universities and colleges that they perceive as not effectively toeing church doctrine.
It is expected that during his April visit to Washington, D.C., Benedict will lash out at allegedly wayward universities. Read more
There are certain things you can count on. The sun will rise in the east and set in the west. Old Faithful will erupt. And, every few years, the American Civil Liberties Union will sue the Tangipahoa Parish School Board in Louisiana.
The members of this board seem to be having difficulty grasping the concept of separation of church and state. It's a long-running problem. For some reason, school board members don't seem to understand that their job is to oversee the education of young people, not meddle in their religious lives. Read more
It has been a rough couple of months for advocates of private and religious school vouchers.
First, voters in Utah – the reddest red state in the nation – went to the polls and trounced a voucher scheme that misguided legislators had tried to foist on them. Read more