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Biased Bunch: Religious Right Wants 'Faith-Based' Hiring and Firing Along With Federal Funds

For many members of the Religious Right, Barack Obama's proposal to expand "faith-based" initiatives was "dead on arrival," the Associated Press reported yesterday.

Though Obama announced a plan to increase spending on faith-based social services, starting with a $500 million-a-year program, top religious conservatives seem more than disappointed. Read more

Pulpit Politicking: Why It's Not A Free-Speech Issue

Americans United has recently received calls from a couple of Minnesota pastors who are convinced they have a constitutional right to engage in partisan politics from the pulpit, including telling which candidates to vote for or against.

These pastors sounded sincere, and they were very polite when they called – but they are still wrong. Read more

Compassionate Con Game: Bush And Towey Are Still Selling 'Faith-Based' Snake Oil

Last week, the White House sponsored a major national conference on "faith-based" funding, featuring a speech by President George W. Bush. Then on Saturday, the president devoted his weekly radio chat to the same topic.

Touting his "new approach called 'compassionate conservatism'" and praising the "armies of compassion" supposedly empowered by his initiative, he said, "Because of you, I'm confident that the progress we have made over the past eight years will continue. Because of you, countless souls have been touched and lives have been healed." Read more

Divine Debate: Center for American Progress Hosts A Lively And Thoughtful Panel On Faith And Politics

On Tuesday, the Center for American Progress released its new book: Debating the Divine. A collection of short essays, the book explores the role of religion in shaping our national policies and our public identity. Coinciding with the announcement of the release, the center sponsored a panel in order to give essayists the opportunity to defend their work. Read more

Juvenile Injustice: DOJ 'Faith-Based' Grants Were Steered To Bush Allies, Says ABC

Thanks to a strong push by the Bush administration, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded part of a $1.2 million grant to an evangelical Christian organization, Victory Outreach, whose mission is to carry "the hope and message of Jesus Christ to the four corners of the earth," ABC News has reported.

The other part of the $1.2 million was awarded to a consulting firm run by Lisa Trevino Cummins, who previously headed Hispanic outreach efforts for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Read more

Marriage, American Style: Is It Past Time For Church And State To Get A Divorce?

In America, we separate church and state. Is it time – maybe past time – to apply that principle to marriage?

In an interesting article carried by the Associated Baptist Press (ABP) this week, Washington correspondent Rob Marus draws attention to the entanglement between religion and government inherent in the conflict over who should be allowed to marry. Read more

You've Got (Hate) Mail!: South Carolina Lawsuit Sparks Barrage Of Correspondence From AU's Religious Right Friends

Along with ensuring religious liberty, the First Amendment protects the freedom of speech. Thanks to the Internet, people can exercise their freedom of speech faster than ever, and Americans United heard from a bevy of them yesterday after we filed a lawsuit in South Carolina against the state's new "I Believe" license plate. Read more