Whenever people ask me for a concrete example of how the Religious Right has affected public policy, I point to the spread of "abstinence-only" sex education. Thanks to pressure from Protestant fundamentalist and traditionalist Roman Catholic groups, federal tax money funds only these programs.
This is the case even though polls show most Americans support comprehensive sex education for young people – programs that stress the value of abstinence but also talk frankly and accurately about ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Read more
More evidence has come to light that the Internal Revenue Service is cracking down on religious ministries that violate federal law by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.
The St. Petersburg Times reports today that Bill Keller, who runs a TV and Internet ministry in that city, has been contacted by the IRS and asked to supply information about his political activities. Read more
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