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Black Backtracks: Senate Chaplain Drops Out Of Religious Right Conference

It's not unusual for government officials to appear at dinners, conferences and galas, but when Americans United staffers came across Senate Chaplain Barry Black's name on the list of speakers at an extreme right-wing event, we were shocked.

Black was scheduled to appear at Coral Ridge Ministries' "Reclaiming America for Christ" conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., next month. Yesterday afternoon, AU Executive Director Rev. Barry Lynn sent a letter to Black's office, asking him to reconsider. Read more

Carolina Inquisition: Presidential Hopeful Romney Faces Grilling About Religion

Are we in the middle of a race for the White House or The Inquisition?

According to the Associated Press, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been campaigning for the Republican nomination in South Carolina. This week, Romney, a Mormon, attended the House Republican caucus there. The AP says that caucus sessions always begin with a Bible verse and a prayer in Christ's name, led by Republican state Rep. Bob Leach. Read more

A Lasting Legacy: The Rev. Robert Drinan's Voice For Justice Will Be Sorely Missed

The Rev. Robert F. Drinan entered Congress in 1971 as the first elected Roman Catholic priest and a staunch opponent of America's increasing military involvement in Vietnam.

Drinan, who died Jan. 28, served five more terms, during which he built a reputation as a leading proponent of human rights, civil liberties and the First Amendment principle of church-state separation. Read more

Big Battle At The Ranch: Michigan Agency Wins Round In Fracas Over 'Faith-Based' Funding

An evangelical group that seeks to convince troubled juveniles to turn their lives around by embracing its version of Christianity has lost another round in a long court battle over a decision by Michigan officials to stop funding it. Read more

Don't Subsidize Religion!: Why Congress Should Reject The Bush School Voucher Scheme

School vouchers have again made it onto the national stage. In Tuesday's State of the Union address, President George W. Bush reintroduced a plan to create a federal voucher program that subsidizes tuition at religious and other private schools. He mentioned the plan in passing while urging Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) this year. Read more

Gospel Of Greed: Evangelist Benny Hinn Comes To Washington

Recently, Senate offices on Capitol Hill received what at first glance appears to be a routine invitation from a religious leader offering prayers on their behalf.

"On January 30th and 31st, Robert Gray will be in Washington, D.C., to introduce Pastor Benny Hinn to several senators for [a] five-minute prayer session," reads the message, which goes on to request a meeting with the senator. Read more

'Friends Of God': HBO Film Shines A Heavenly Light On America's Evangelical Subculture

When your friends come back from vacation, they always want to show you pictures and videos of the things they've seen along the way. To be honest, most of these exhibitions are mind-numbingly dull. When Alexandra Pelosi does the same thing, the result is anything but.... Read more

Bad Bills On The Hill: Church-State Wall Under Fire In New Congress

If you thought that changes in Congress would mean a near cessation of attempts to weaken the principle of church-state separation, you should think again.

Since the new Congress convened earlier this month, bills have been introduced that would mandate public school prayer, allow houses of worship to endorse political candidates and stifle the federal courts' ability to resolve disputes over church and state. Read more

Hackles Up Down Under: Aussies In Uproar Over Tax Funding Of School Chaplains

Australian students will soon be able to seek religious guidance without leaving the schoolhouse. The Department of Education, Science and Training recently appropriated $90 million (US $71 million) for public, private and parochial schools to hire in-house chaplains. Read more

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