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Bogus Bill In Boston: Religious Right Targets Mass. Public Schools

It's not often that Massachusetts falls under Americans United's microscope. But this week, the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) has brought the New England state to our attention.

The group, a state affiliate of James Dobson's Focus on the Family, has succeeded in finding bipartisan   sponsors for legislation that will "ensure the existing free speech rights of religious students" while they are in school. Read more

AU Chapter Leaders Gather in DC

It’s been a busy few weeks in the field department as we prepared for AU’s annual meeting that took place November 8-10, in Washington, DC.  I would like to thank our wonderful chapter leaders and activists who traveled to DC for the events.

The annual meeting began with a wonderful grassroots training session on: “Creating and Sustaining Chapters that Work: 10 Steps to Successful Leadership Development.”  The workshops were led by trainer Hans Johnson, of Progressive Victory.  Hans used a travel scenario to outline the key functions of a chapter, basic “rules of the road” for organizing, and how to navigate challenging situations to get to your final destination. Read more

Plate Histrionics: South Carolina's Bauer Rails Against 'Christian' Car-Tag Decision

When it comes to church-state separation, South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer just doesn't have a clue.

That's never been more apparent than it was yesterday. After a federal judge ruled against a legislature-mandated "Christian" license plate, Bauer carried on in a way that made me think he not only failed to read the court's opinion, but that he also doesn't   understand the principle of basic fairness. Read more

Unhealthy Trend: House Action On Abortion Showcases Power Of Bishops' Lobby

When political pundits talk about the power of religious groups to affect public policy in Washington, most tend to focus on the Religious Right.

Indeed, during the presidency of George W. Bush, Religious Right groups flexed a lot of political muscle and won numerous victories on Capitol Hill.

But the Religious Right has an Achilles' heel: Its leaders and activists are so closely identified with the Republican Party that when Democrats are in charge, these groups have a much more difficult time advancing their agenda. Read more

Mending Wall: A Reflection On Good Barriers And Bad Ones

In his poem "Mending Wall," poet Robert Frost wrote, "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out."

Today, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, that's a point worth pondering. There are good walls and bad ones. Read more

Equal Access: How The Religious Right Helped Launch Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs In Public High Schools

Last night during dinner, my daughter Claire mentioned that some of her friends who attend another high school are preparing for a gang of protesters to descend on their school. Members of Westboro Baptist Church are coming to town!

You've probably heard of this crew. Westboro Baptist and its pastor, Fred Phelps, are best known for picketing at the funerals of fallen military personnel. Their theology is somewhat incoherent, but the Westboro-ites seem to believe that the war in Iraq is God's punishment on the nation for tolerating gay people. Read more

O Come, All Ye Fanatics: California Teacher Wants To Require Christmas Carols In School

When I was six, the Christmas pageant organizer at our neighborhood church offered me a Little Golden Book for every carol I sang. I loved to read and considered that quite a deal. Unfortunately, my repertoire at the time wasn't very large, but I still managed to score three books!

I still like Christmas carols myself, but I know that not everyone does. This is an incredibly diverse nation, and a lot of people don't observe Christmas.

That why a new ballot proposal being pushed in California is so crazy. Read more

Falwell Power Play: Jerry's Kids Grease Partisan Political Machine In Lynchburg

Jerry Falwell Jr. seems well on his way toward setting up his own little fundamentalist theocracy in Lynchburg, Va.

Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University, has been working for months to forge students at his school into a voting bloc that will control local elections. According to the Lynchburg News & Advance, as many as 1,700 LU students registered to vote in the city this fall. Read more

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