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Distorted Documentary: Religious Right Whine-Fest Left Me 'Speechless'

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

Court-Ordered Faith?: It's Time To Sever The Tie Between Religion And Rehab

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

Slow Learners: ACLU Sues Louisiana School Board – Again

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

Enlightening Exchange: AU's Lynn Joins UVA Debate On Religion And Government

Should religion have a place in American politics and government?

That's the question a scholar, two activists and a pastor came together to discuss last night at a debate in Richmond, Va. The event was hosted by the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

One of those well-known activists was Americans United Executive Director, the Rev. Barry Lynn. He was joined by biblical scholar Jacques Berlinerblau of Georgetown University, arguing for a complete separation of religion and government. Read more

Doubting Thomas: Cranky Columnist Cal Slanders America's Public School System

A few years ago, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas began rebuking the Religious Right. In a remarkable turn-around, the former Moral Majority official argued that conservative Christians would do better to persuade people that their theology is correct, not use the power of government to force it.

That was a welcome point of view. But it was apparently a rare bout with common sense for Thomas. He's still cranking out some rather extreme columns. One from this week, for example, is a real doozy. Read more

Land Mine: Southern Baptist Lobbyist's Yiddish Slur Against Jewish Senator Detonates Controversy

Speaking at the Criswell Theological Seminary in Dallas in late January, Southern Baptist Convention lobbyist Richard Land called U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) that "schmuck from New York."

Land was worked into a lather recalling the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice John Roberts, in which Schumer pressed the judicial nominee on important questions about individual rights.

In Yiddish, "schmuck" literally means – how can I put this on a family-friendly site? – "male genitalia." Read more

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