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Grouchy Over Graduation: Some Wisconsinites Say AU Is 'Just Evil'

This morning, I started off my work day by taking a call from a "concerned citizen."

Her "concern" was that Americans United was "just evil." She wanted me to know how awful AU was for sending letters yesterday to three public school districts and a community college, asking them to stop using Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisc., as the venue for graduation ceremonies. Read more

Origin Of The Specious: AU Attorney Comments On The Evolution Of Creationism

Tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. There has been a lot of interest in this important anniversary among the media, and some editors and reporters are using the occasion to re-examine the issue of teaching evolution in the public schools.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Americans United Assistant Legal Director Richard B. Katskee"][/caption] Read more

Parental Rights, Constitutional Wrongs: Religious Right Pushes New Constitutional Amendment

Some ideas don't improve well with age. Consider the Parental Rights Amendment (PRA).

Back in the mid-1990s, some Religious Right activists got the idea to add an amendment to the Constitution protecting "parental rights." I'm sure they thought it would take off – after all, who could be against parental rights? But in fact the idea never really got much traction outside of Religious Right newsletters and soon faded away. Read more

It's Academic (Fraud): Anti-Evolution Forces Seek To Usurp Darwin Day

This Thursday is "Darwin Day," an occasion when scientists all over the world will celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin.

Though Darwin's theory of evolution certainly has a critically important place in the science community, it is also responsible for a decades-old crusade by Religious Right activists—who continue to push their fundamentalist agenda in the public school science classroom, try to discredit Darwin's theory and erode the separation of church and state. Read more

'Faith-Based' Frenzy: AU Responds To Obama's Disappointing Announcement

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="White House photo"][/caption]

Have you ever had "one of those days" at work? I'm talking about the kind of day where something takes off, you get to working on it, and the next thing you know nine hours have flown by and you're surprised at how much you've accomplished.

Yesterday was like that here at AU. We knew that President Barack Obama would be issuing an executive order addressing the "faith-based" initiative. We didn't know what it would say, although speculation was rife. Read more

Chaplain Controversy: Virginia Legislators Endorse Christian Police Prayer

The Virginia House of Delegates passed legislation yesterday that would allow state police chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus Christ at public events, despite federal appeals court decisions that have banned such prayers.

The legislation stems from some delegates' outrage over what they saw as "forced" resignations by six police chaplains in September. The chaplains stepped down after Virginia State Police Col. Steven Flaherty issued a directive requiring police chaplains to avoid denominational prayers at public events, such as trooper graduations. Read more

Real Justice: Change Comes To Nation's Top Law-Enforcement Agency

Change is in the air at the U.S. Department of Justice – and it looks like it'll be for the good.

The Senate has confirmed Eric Holder at the nation's new attorney general. Holder has vowed to reverse course from many Bush administration policies. Most of the attention has focused on issues such as closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay and torture, but it looks as though the legal landscape for church-state separation is also due for an overhaul. Read more

Charter For Controversy: Religion, State And The Constitution At School

In the final days of his administration, former President George W. Bush issued a report on why our country needs more charter schools. The document even suggested ways that schools might circumvent the constitutional ban of school-sponsored religion.

That's a recipe for controversy, of course. And Tarek Ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), a charter school in Minnesota, is the latest example of how such a dispute can erupt. Read more