In the history of church-state separation, certain dates are special: On Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was officially ratified. On Jan. 1, 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptists containing the famous "wall of separation between church and state" metaphor. The U.S. Supreme Court spoke strongly in favor of separation in Everson v. Board of Education, issued on Feb. 10, 1947. Read more
For some reason, when it comes to private school vouchers, state legislators can't seem to give it a rest.
Georgia's Senate Education and Youth Committee held a hearing yesterday to consider SB 90, which would make tuition vouchers available to virtually any student in the state.
The bill, introduced by State Senator Eric Johnson, would provide parents of each Georgia child about $5,000 in taxpayer money to be used to defray the cost of enrollment at religious and other private schools. Read more
"No thanks, New Orleans."
The Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) coined this phrase on its Web site this week, and it could quickly become the new catch phrase for scientists, educators and civil liberties groups across the country.
President Barack Obama's reluctance to overturn a Bush-era executive order permitting religious bias in federally funded "faith-based" programs is not going unnoticed.
The Los Angeles Times was quick to blast the president's inaction in a Feb. 9 editorial cleverly headlined "Thou may not discriminate." The newspaper labeled Obama's decision not to revoke the order an "unpleasant" surprise and called for quick corrective action. Read more
Religion is a controversial thing, isn't it? Especially when it occurs in a political or governmental context.
Exhibit A today is the flap over a minister's opening prayer at the Oklahoma House. Read more
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
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
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
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