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Martyr Complex: Florida School Officials Face Possible Penalties For Pushing Religion

No one is above the law.

That's a lesson that officials at a Florida public high school seem intent on learning the hard way.

Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and his athletic director, Robert Freeman, have been charged with criminal contempt for violating a federal court order that banned Santa Rosa County school officials from leading students in prayer during school events. Read more

First Test: Sotomayor Will Help Decide Fate Of Cross In California Park

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, the third woman and the first Latina to ever serve as a justice.

It's a historical milestone, and Americans United is looking forward to watching the new justice in action, particularly when it comes to church-state issues.

As we have mentioned before, we know very little about Sotomayor's views on our issues. That will change in upcoming months. Read more

Louie, Louie: Rep. Gohmert, You Need to Drop This Capitol Obsession

Prodded by the Religious Right, some members of Congress have developed an unhealthy obsession over the displays in the U.S. Capitol Building.

You might recall the recent flap over the new Capitol Visitor Center (CVC). The CVC is a $621 million, state-of-the-art facility that helps visitors to the U.S. Capitol understand the history of the structure and how the federal government works. Read more

No Credence: Carpetbagger Crank Klingenschmitt Shouldn't Get Stuck In Lodi

Lodi, Calif., is a city of about 62,000 residents between Sacramento and Stockton. I've never been there, but Wikipedia tells me the town is known for its wine production – it's the "Zinfandel Capital of the World." The band Creedence Clearwater Revival once penned a tune called "Stuck in Lodi."

But lately Lodi has been in the news for another reason: a nasty spat over prayers before city council meetings. Read more

Falwell Fast One?: Lynchburg Preacher's Sectarian House Prayer Doesn't Track Chaplain's Online Version

This weekend, for the first time since I have lived here, I found myself at a Washington-area Hindu temple.

That's because my parents were in town, and when my mom visits, it's on the top of her to-do list. So to satisfy my mother, and my religious quota for a while, I spent 10 to 15 minutes at a local temple.

I may not spend much time praying, but I still consider myself a Hindu and a follower of the faith. I don't need to listen to prayer all the time or have images of my faith displayed all around to know that. Read more

Building Dependency: An Overlooked Danger Of Tax Aid To Religion

When I was a kid, our church decided it would be nice to have a social hall.

It was a pretty ambitious goal. We were a medium-sized congregation serving mostly blue-collar families in an economically depressed area. But the people sitting in the pews believed in the project and gave extra to support it. Kids like me even chipped in nickels and dimes. Read more

Bypassing Booth: Minn. Pastor Dodges IRS Investigation – For Now

A couple months ago, I blogged about a lively debate I attended about politics and the pulpit.

It was an afternoon bringing together people from the entire political spectrum. Participants on a panel, including AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, discussed a provision in federal tax law that prohibits tax-exempt, non-profit organizations – including religious institutions – from endorsing or opposing candidates. Read more

Secular Salutation: Georgia County Survives Non-Religious Invocation

I've been online today scanning news sites to see if Cobb County, Ga., has been struck by an earthquake, a hurricane or perhaps a plague of frogs. Apparently, this has not happened.

I'm surprised. Last night, a guy named Ed Buckner gave a secular invocation at a meeting of the Cobb County Commission. To hear some followers of the Religious Right tell it, if you dare to give any invocation that fails to mention Jesus Christ, look out! Your community will feel divine wrath.

I doubt Ed's invocation mentioned Jesus. He is, after all, the president of American Atheists. Read more

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